Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Fan-like structure in Comet Tempel 1

05.07.2005


VLT First Images of Comet Tempel 1 After Impact


FORS2 images of Comet Tempel 1, before (top) and after (bottom) impact.



On the night of July 4, 2005, all ESO telescopes continued their extensive observing campaign of Comet Tempel 1. But this time, they were able to see the effect of the impact on the comet. The astronomers were clearly not disappointed.

The impact occurred at 07:52 CEST but because the comet has already set in Chile at that time, observers at the La Silla Paranal Observatory could only start observing several hours later. The first observations were done in the infrared by TMMI2 at the 3.6m telescope at La Silla, at 21:20 CEST (still daylight in Chile).


These first observations showed the comet to be 2 to 3 times brighter in the infrared than the day before the impact. The coma is also much more extended than it was until before the impact.

At sunset in Chile, all 7 telescopes of the La Silla Paranal Observatory went into operations. The FORS2 multi-mode instrument on Antu, one of the 8.2m Unit Telescope of the VLT array, took stunning images, showing that the morphology of the comet had dramatically changed: a new bright fan-like structure was now visible.

The fan lies in the southern part of the image and is rather bright and well defined. This feature is an addition to those that were already visible during the previous days, that seems to still be underlying the new one. Behind this fan, the old coma from yesterday is still present. The new structure is about 15,000 km large, indicating that the matter has been ejected with a speed of about 700 to 1,000 km/h.

Further observations during the week will study the evolution of this fan, revealing if the probe has activated a new region of the surface and how long that region remains active.

The fan is visible through the reflection of sunlight on dust grains. The fact that the big plume is not uniform in colour probably indicates that different dust size are traveling at different speeds.

Other telescopes have provided observations of the comet as well. NACO took some images of the central part of the coma, while UVES performed high-dispersion spectroscopy of the comet, in order to compare with the previous nights. First estimates indicate the emission lines to be more pronounced by 10 to 20 %.

At La Silla, the SOFI instrument at the NTT telescope, imaged the comet in the near-infared. An image in the J-band also shows the dust shell from the impact in the south-western quadrant of the coma. The very inner coma (indicated by the white box) shows on-going enhanced activity compared to the pre-impact level.

The astronomers at the La Silla Paranal Observatory will continue to observe Comet Tempel 1 for another four days in order to monitor precisely its long-term behaviour.

Henri Boffin | alfa
Further information:
http://deepimpact.eso.org/obseso8.html

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Subnano lead particles show peculiar decay behavior
25.04.2018 | Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Universität Greifswald

nachricht Getting electrons to move in a semiconductor
25.04.2018 | American Institute of Physics

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: BAM@Hannover Messe: innovative 3D printing method for space flight

At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.

Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...

Im Focus: Molecules Brilliantly Illuminated

Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.

Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Getting electrons to move in a semiconductor

25.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Reconstructing what makes us tick

25.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Cheap 3-D printer can produce self-folding materials

25.04.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>