Astronomy Picture of the Day

The Nucleus of Comet Tempel 1

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#79738 by @ 16.09.2005 00:00 - nach oben -
The Nucleus of Comet Tempel 1


Approaching the nucleus of
comet Tempel 1 at ten kilometers per
second, the
Deep Impact
probe's targeting camera recorded a truly dramatic series of images.

Successive pictures improve in resolution and have been
at a scale of 5 meters per pixel -- including
images taken within a few meters of the surface
moments before the July 4th impact.

Analyzing the resulting
cloud of debris, researchers are
the makeup
of a comet, a
primordial chunk of solar system material.

Described as a recipe
for primordial soup, the list of Tempel 1's ingredients - tiny
grains of silicates, iron compounds, complex hydrocarbons,
and clay and carbonates thought to require liquid water to form -
might be more appropriate for a cosmic souffle, as
the nucleus
apparently porous and fluffy.

Seen here, Tempel 1's nucleus is about five kilometers long,
with the impact site between the two large craters
near the bottom.

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