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Media Invitation - Follow-up on the Deep Impact


This is a ’media only’ event.

ESO Headquarters
Garching bei München, Germany
4-5 July 2005

Be where the action is! Share with all European cometary specialists the excitement at the time of the impact and see how they prepare and obtain the follow-up images and spectra

On July 4, 2005, the NASA Deep Impact spacecraft will visit Comet 9P/Tempel 1. It will launch a 360 kg impactor that is expected to produce a crater on the surface of the comet and a plume of gas and dust.

This experiment will be the first opportunity to study the crust and the interior of a comet. As the material inside the comet’s nucleus is pristine, it will reveal new information on the early phases of the Solar System. It will also provide scientists with new insight on crater physics, and thereby give a better understanding on the crater record on comets and other bodies in the Solar System. The scientific outcome of the experiment depends crucially on pre-impact and follow-up observations.

ESO will actively participate in the post-impact observations. As soon as Comet 9P/Tempel 1 is visible after the impact from Chile, and for a whole week thereafter, all major ESO telescopes will be observing Comet 9P/Tempel 1, in a coordinated fashion and in very close collaboration with the space mission’ scientific team. Among all observatories, the ESO La Silla Paranal Observatory will thus provide the most complete coverage of this one of its kind event.

First images of ESO telescopes will be obtained shortly after midnight - European time - on the night of July 4 to 5 and will be directly made available on this web site. Scientists expect the effects of the impact on the comet to be visible only several hours after the impact itself. Therefore, the observations by ESO telescopes will be among the most important.

To allow journalists to share these unique moments, ESO will open its door to the media on July 4 and 5. The media centre at ESO’s HQ in Garching will have live links with ESO’s observatories in Chile – La Silla and Paranal – as well as with the ESA/ESTEC (NL) control centre.

Additional information on the Deep Impact at ESO activities is available at
ESO HQ will be open:
(time is in Garching Local Time, i.e. GMT+2)

July 4: 07:15 – 11:00
Anticipating the impact, the impact itself (at 07:52) and the first reactions of scientists
Hourly video connection with La Silla and Paranal (14 European astronomers are preparing to perform observations) – possibilities of Q&A.
ESA TV Live transmission : 07:15-08:15; 09:30-09:50
NASA TV Feed: 10:00

The first Infrared images from La Silla with live comments
Hourly connection with La Silla and Paranal
Update on observations obtained with Rosetta (ESA)
24:00: First B&W optical pictures of Comet Tempel 1 available

July 5: 05:00-08:00 : Colour images from La Silla and Paranal
Hourly connection with La Silla and Paranal

All day long: possibilities to perform interviews of ESO astronomers in English, German, French, Danish and Spanish.

We also expect to offer broadcast quality footage from Paranal that will be available to all European TV channels.

PCs and Internet connections are available all day long for use by the media. The conference rooms at ESO are also equipped with WiFi.

If you wish to attend, please send an email to mentioning your name, organization, press/professional card number and phone number.

Please let us also know if you are unable to attend but would like to receive further information.

Henri Boffin | alfa
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