Astronomy Picture of the Day

Deep Impact on Comet Tempel 1 from Hubble

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Deep Impact on Comet Tempel 1 from Hubble

It was a human-made event visible across the Solar System.

At the direction of
terrestrial scientists, a refrigerator-sized probe from the
Deep Impact
mission struck
Comet Tempel 1 on July 4 at over 35,000 kilometers per hour.

The unexpectedly bright explosion was not
but rather originated from a large plume that reflected back sunlight.

Pictured above is how the event looked to the Earth-orbiting
Hubble Space Telescope.

A large cloud of bright material is seen emanating from the
comet's nucleus and then dispersing.

The area encompassing the
comet became over two times brighter in the hours after the impact.

Astronomers will continue to study the images and data returned by
Deep Impact
to better determine the nature of
Comet Tempel 1 and discern clues about the formation dynamics of the
early Solar System.

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