37th DPS Meeting, 4-9 September 2005
Session 43 Deep Impact A
Poster, Wednesday, September 7, 2005, 6:00-7:15pm, Music Foyer

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[43.07] Radio OH Observations of Comet 9P/Tempel 1 before and after Deep Impact

E. S. Howell (NAIC/Arecibo Observatory), A.J. Lovell (Agnes Scott College), B. Butler (NRAO), F. P. Schloerb (U. Mass)

We have monitored the outgassing and OH gas production from 9P/Tempel~1. Pre-impact spectral observations of the 18-cm OH lines have been made with the Arecibo 300m radio telescope, on twelve dates between 8 April and 8 June, 2005. Post-impact observations were made July 4-11 at the 100m Green Bank Telescope (GBT) in WV. These observations provide constraints on the variation in production and velocity of gas in the coma. This in turn places constraints on the sublimation of water, the parent molecule of OH. Spectra are interpreted via best fits of Monte Carlo simulations to the data; thus, the post-impact observations are particularly valuable for estimating the degree to which outgassing asymmetries are detectable with low spatial resolutions (> 4 arcmin). Some pre-impact observations as well as all post-impact observations are mapped over several positions on the sky, enabling some additional constraints on the extent of emission and possibly on collisional quenching. Preliminary analysis of the pre-impact Arecibo observations suggests that the line strength closely follows the predicted values; however, production rates are low compared to those seen in previous apparitions. Initial analysis suggests strong coma asymmetries, which may have an influence on the bulk production rate estimates. The best-fit water outflow velocity increased from 0.4 km/s on 9 April to 0.8 km/s by 16 May.

Post-impact observations of the 18-cm OH lines were carried out daily from the GBT 4-11 July. Line strengths were variable with time, sometimes below the 2 mJy detection threshold. The composite spectrum for the 8 days of observation has a peak of 3.5 mJy, an integrated area of 18 mJy km/s, consistent with an outflow velocity around 0.8 km/s. An attempt to correlate line strength variations with the nucleus rotation period will be made and model results before and after impact will be compared.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: ehowell@naic.edu

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