PIA02108: It Happens in a Flash
 Target Name:  Comet
 Is a satellite of:  Sol (our sun)
 Product Size:  720 x 573 pixels (w x h)
 Produced By:  Ames Research Center 
 Full-Res TIFF:  PIA02108.tif (1.239 MB)
 Full-Res JPEG:  PIA02108.jpg (46.81 kB)

Click on the image above to download a moderately sized image in JPEG format (possibly reduced in size from original)

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This image shows a flash produced in a laboratory by a high-velocity bead slamming into dust. Though the flash itself can't be resolved, its brilliant effects can be seen in this three-second time exposure. Scientists say that the collision between Deep Impact's impactor and comet Tempel 1 may produce a similar flash.

This flash occurred when a quarter-inch sphere smashed into powdered dust at a speed of 6.4 kilometers per second (4 miles per second). Even though the actual flash lasted less than 50 millionths of a second, the camera recorded the hot debris in the impact crater (center) and the streaking ejecta. This experiment was performed at NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.

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