AAS 204th Meeting, June 2004
Session 35 Professional-Amateur Collaboration for Enhanced Research
Topical Session, Tuesday, June 1, 2004, 8:30-10:00am, 10:45am-12:30pm, 710/712

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[35.06] The Small Telescope Science Program for the NASA Deep Impact Mission

S.A. McLaughlin, L.A. McFadden (Univ. of Maryland), G. Emerson (Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp.)

The Small Telescope Science Program (STSP) is a collaborative effort among technically-proficient amateur astronomers, professional and student astronomers with discretionary telescope time, and private observatories to gather valuable ground-based optical data on Comet 9P/Tempel 1, the target of Deep Impact, a NASA Discovery Mission. The main objective of this program is to provide CCD observations of Tempel 1 to supplement the professional data acquired by project collaborators at large telescopes. The science team monitors the resulting images and photometric measurements to understand how the activity of the comet changes during its orbit. When will water production turn on? How does the dust production rate change? When does jet activity begin and how long does it last? For example, hand-drawn observations from pre-perihelion in 1994 by N. Biver show jet activity that is similar to drawings made by J. Merlin during the 1983 apparition. Will pre-perihelion images of Tempel 1 taken from April through June 2005 reveal jets? We expect STSP observations to begin by October 2004, when the comet will be 18th magnitude. By the end of April 2005, Tempel 1 will brighten to 10th magnitude, and during the encounter on July 4, 2005, it will be near 9th magnitude. We are interested in having observers join our program, which is described at our web site, http://deepimpact.astro.umd.edu/stsp.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://deepimpact.astro.umd.edu/stsp. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

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

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