XMM observation of comet Tempel 1: Deep Impact!
Credit: ESA

At Deep Impact

On July 4 2005 the Deep Impact probe made the first direct hit on a comet, Comet Tempel 1. Comets are believed to be a deep freeze of the unadulterated stuff from the beginning of the solar system. By slamming into Tempel 1, Deep Impact helps astronomers understand the interior composition of Tempel 1, along with a better understanding of the forces which hold comets together, and an understanding of how comets evolve with time. This event was watched with great interest by the entire astronomical community (along with the general public), including the X-ray astronomer community. The image above shows X-rays from Tempel 1 taken by the XMM-Newton X-ray observatory almost immediately after the impact. The comparison of these XMM-Newton data and the Chandra observations will let astronomers study how the ejecta from the impact changes as the comet moves around the Sun.

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Page Author: Dr. Michael F. Corcoran
Last modified Friday, 20-Apr-2012 15:26:05 EDT