AAS 207th Meeting, 8-12 January 2006
Session 4 Solar System
Poster, Monday, 9:20am-7:00pm, January 9, 2006, Exhibit Hall

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[4.21] A Refined Time of Impact from the Deep Impact Impactor Approach Images

D. D. Wellnitz (U of Maryland), S. Collins (JPL), M. F. A'Hearn (U of Maryland), Deep Impact Team

The Deep Impact Impactor spacecraft took tens of images in the last minutes before impacting comet 9P/Tempel 1 at a relative speed of slightly more than 10 kilometers per second, the last only about 3 seconds before impact. Careful comparison of the scale factors of these images, registered and scaled to sub-pixel levels, can provide a refined estimate of the time of impact. Our current best estimate of the impact time using this method is 05:44:35.8 UTC ± 0.3 seconds according to the Impactor clock corrected with the best SCLK/SCET conversion available to date. This estimate of the impact time is compatible with other estimates of the impact time. With a bit more analysis, we expect to be able to provide an even more refined estimate of the time of impact at the AAS meeting.

This work was supported by the NASA Discovery Mission Deep Impact.

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

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #4
© 2005. The American Astronomical Soceity.