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