Special Reports

The Dust Grains from 9P/Tempel 1 Before and After the Encounter with Deep Impact

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Science  14 Oct 2005:
Vol. 310, Issue 5746, pp. 278-280
DOI: 10.1126/science.1119143

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Gemini-N observed the properties of dust ejected from the nucleus of comet 9P/Tempel 1 before and after its encounter with Deep Impact. Marked changes were seen in the 7.8- to 13-micrometer spectral energy distribution and derived grain properties of the inner coma. A strong, broad silicate feature dominated by emission from amorphous pyroxene, amorphous olivine, and magnesium-rich crystalline olivine had developed by 1 hour after impact. The ejected dust mass is ≅104 to 106 kilograms on the basis of our models. Twenty-six hours later the silicate feature had faded, leaving a smooth featureless spectrum, similar to that observed before the impact, suggesting that the impact did not produce a new active region releasing small particles on the nucleus.

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