PIA07266: Deep Impact on Its Way
Target Name: Tempel 1
Is a satellite of: Sol (our sun)
Mission: Deep Impact
Spacecraft: Deep Impact
Instrument: Hale Telescope 200-inch
Product Size: 224 x 319 pixels (width x height)
Produced By: California Institute of Technology
Full-Res TIFF: PIA07266.tif (214.8 kB)
Full-Res JPEG: PIA07266.jpg (36.38 kB)

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This Jan. 13 photograph was taken by Mt Palomar's 200-inch telescope as the Deep Impact spacecraft was at a distance of about 260,000 kilometers (163,000 miles) from Earth and moving at a speed of about 16,000 kilometers per hour (10,000 miles per hour). The high speed of the spacecraft causes it to appear as a long streak across the sky in the constellation Virgo during the 10-minute exposure time of the image.

The spacecraft will travel to comet Tempel 1 and release an impactor, creating a crater on the surface of the comet. Scientists believe the exposed materials may give clues to the formation of our solar system.

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