Deep Impact, Stardust-NExT and the behavior of Comet 9P/Tempel 1 from 1997 to 2010

K. J. Meech, J. Pittichová, B. Yang, A. Zenn, M. J S Belton, M. F. A'Hearn, S. Bagnulo, J. Bai, L. Barrera, J. M. Bauer, J. Bedient, B. C. Bhatt, H. Boehnhardt, N. Brosch, M. Buie, P. Candia, W. P. Chen, S. Chesley, P. Chiang, Y. J. ChoiA. Cochran, S. Duddy, T. L. Farnham, Y. Fernández, P. Gutiérrez, O. R. Hainaut, D. Hampton, K. Herrmann, H. Hsieh, M. A. Kadooka, H. Kaluna, J. Keane, M. J. Kim, J. Kleyna, K. Krisciunas, T. R. Lauer, L. Lara, J. Licandro, S. C. Lowry, L. A. McFadden, N. Moskovitz, B. E A Mueller, D. Polishook, N. S. Raja, T. Riesen, D. K. Sahu, N. H. Samarasinha, G. Sarid, T. Sekiguchi, S. Sonnett, N. Suntzeff, B. Taylor, G. P. Tozzi, R. Vasundhara, J. B. Vincent, L. Wasserman, B. Webster-Schultz, H. Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


We present observational data for Comet 9P/Tempel 1 taken from 1997 through 2010 in an international collaboration in support of the Deep Impact and Stardust-NExT missions. The data were obtained to characterize the nucleus prior to the Deep Impact 2005 encounter, and to enable us to understand the rotation state in order to make a time of arrival adjustment in February 2010 that would allow us to image at least 25% of the nucleus seen by the Deep Impact spacecraft to better than 80m/pixel, and to image the crater made during the encounter, if possible. In total, ~500 whole or partial nights were allocated to this project at 14 observatories worldwide, utilizing 25 telescopes. Seventy percent of these nights yielded useful data. The data were used to determine the linear phase coefficient for the comet in the R-band to be 0.045±0.001magdeg -1 from 1° to 16°. Cometary activity was observed to begin inbound near r~4.0 AU and the activity ended near r~4.6 AU as seen from the heliocentric secular light curves, water-sublimation models and from dust dynamical modeling. The light curve exhibits a significant pre- and post-perihelion brightness and activity asymmetry. There was a secular decrease in activity between the 2000 and 2005 perihelion passages of ~20%. The post-perihelion light curve cannot be easily explained by a simple decrease in solar insolation or observing geometry. CN emission was detected in the comet at 2.43 AU pre-perihelion, and by r=2.24 AU emission from C 2 and C 3 were evident. In December 2004 the production rate of CN increased from 1.8×10 23mols -1 to Q CN=2.75×10 23mols -1 in early January 2005 and 9.3×10 24mols -1 on June 6, 2005 at r=1.53 AU.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)323-344
Number of pages22
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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