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M.M. Knight, R.A. Swaters, M.F. A'Hearn (University of Maryland), N.H. Samarasinha (NOAO & PSI)
We present results of near-IR imaging of the Deep Impact encounter with comet 9P/Tempel 1. We observed the comet with the SQIID camera on the KPNO 2.1-m telescope from July 1-8, 2005, resulting in simultaneous high-time-resolution light curves in J, H, and K. The comet brightened in all three bands immediately after impact. The slope of the brightening changed approximately 6 minutes after impact and reached a peak brightness about 25 minutes after impact, remaining at a constant brightness until setting (about an hour after impact). For a ~3 arcsec aperture, the comet brightened by about 1.3 magnitudes in J and 1.2 magnitudes in H and K. On subsequent nights the comet returned to pre-impact brightness, which was nearly constant, and showed no further enhanced activity. The shape of the light curves and implied ejecta velocity are consistent with the ground based results published in Meech et al. (2005). Finally, we will analyze the behavior of the light curves in J, H, and K, and use color differences to constrain the size and composition of the ejecta, yielding insight into the processes which occurred during and after impact.
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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #4
© 2005. The American Astronomical Soceity.