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Comet Tempel 1

Tempel 1 is a short periodic Comet originating from the Kuiper belt.

Diameter: 4 - 14 km
Orbit period: 5.5 years

On July 4th 2005 at a 372 kilogramm heavy projectile made of copper impacted in the comet. This was Mission Deep Impact. The goal was to get dates about the structure and composition of the comet.

Before the impact:

Tempel 1 as seen from the projectile short before the impact.
Photo: Nasa

Photo: ESO

The results of the test were:
The comet indeed contains water in the form of ice. It is densely packed and very solid. The cloud resulting from the impact was very bright and had a diameter of more than 10 000 kilometers. It was still very cold and so not glowing from itself but only reflecting the sunlight.

Before and after the impact.
Photos: ESO

One day later: The innermost hull (Coma) around the core is still active.
Photo (infrared): ESO, the scale is in kilometers

Back: Objects in the Solar System
The impact as seen from the probe Deep Impact.
Photo: Nasa

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