Deep Impact

On July 4th at 06:00 UT, part of the spacecraft Deep Impact will collide with comet 9P/Tempel 1. The date isn't really a coincidence; NASA plan to have a large fireworks show for the US 4th July celebrations. Actually, before you start thinking that we will be hit by debris, don't worry; the comet is a long way from Earth. As it only reaches magnitude 9.7 before impact, I guess that you would still need a telescope to see it even if it brightens by a few magnitudes.

Unfortunately, those of us in the UK will be on the wrong side of the planet to get a good view with our telescopes. The comet will appear close to the star Spica, in the constellation Virgo, so it won't rise until around 16:00 UT. As sunset isn't until around 20:40, it means that we will get our first glimpse at least 14 hours after impact. Luckily, we have the Internet so that we can see live video and other people's pictures.

Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Friday 18th Mar 2005 (00:43 UTC) | Permalink
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