37th DPS Meeting, 4-9 September 2005
Session 42 Deep Impact III
Oral, Wednesday, September 7, 2005, 4:30-6:00pm, Law LG19

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[42.01] Photometric Evolution of the Deep Impact Flash

C. M. Ernst, P. H. Schultz (Brown University), Deep Impact Team

On July 4, 2005, the Deep Impact mission performed a planetary-scale impact experiment into comet 9P/Tempel 1. The 10.2 km/s impact was energetic enough to produce radiant energy observable in the visible wavelengths. We will report on the characteristics and photometric evolution of the first moments after impact as observed by the flyby spacecraft. The observations will be compared to extrapolations of impact flash measurements made during hypervelocity impact experiments performed at the NASA Ames Vertical Gun Range. These experiments indicate that 0.01-0.1% of the impact kinetic energy goes into the visible light output. Analysis of the light output for Deep Impact will help to constrain the physical state and nature of the impacted cometary surface.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #3
© 2004. The American Astronomical Soceity.