Help Shape the Future of Space Exploration

Join The Planetary Society Now Join Now!

Join our eNewsletter for updates & action alerts

   Please leave this field empty
Blogs

Headshot of Emily Lakdawalla

Deep Impact approaching Hartley 2

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla

22-09-2010 16:23 CDT

Topics:

The Deep Impact spacecraft team has released a third image from their approach to comet Hartley 2, and for me, three images is an invitation to make an animation! (To be honest, two is enough for me to want to make an animation, but I didn't have time last week.) So, here you go: comet Hartley 2 getting brighter against a background of stars as Deep Impact slowly closes in for its planned November 4 flyby encounter with the comet:

Deep Impact Hartley 2 approach animation

NASA / JPL / UMD / animation by Emily Lakdawalla

Deep Impact Hartley 2 approach animation
As Deep Impact approached for its encounter with Hartley 2 during September and October 2010, the science team released occasional optical navigation images of the comet against a background starfield. The images have been processed after release to make their brightness and contrast more uniform from frame to frame.
As the Deep Impact team releases more images, I will continuously update this animation. So you can bookmark this blog entry if you want to come back and see it updated, though I'm sure I'll also repost it fresh from time to time. It will be really fun to watch the fuzz of Hartley 2's coma grow in size and begin to obscure all those background stars.

I tried to match the brightness and contrast of the three frames released so far as best as I could. I could match stars in the two star fields from the images dated September 13 and September 20, but not from the first image dated September 5 to the September 13 image. I'm not sure if the spacecraft rotated and I just can't match things up or if it's because of the way that the team set the brightness and contrast on the versions of the images that they released to the public. Elizabeth Warner, who's doing the public communication for Deep Impact's Hartley 2 encounter, commented on the September 20 image release that "this week we had a different person do the post-processing of the combined stacked image. The 'min' set point and 'range' affect the on-screen appearance so it is done uniquely for each image. Later on, as we have more images, we will likely go back and re-do the post-processing on some of these early images using a more universal set of 'min' and 'range' values." If they do that, I'll redo my processing of the earlier images in this animation.

 
See other posts from September 2010

 

Or read more blog entries about:

Facebook Twitter Email RSS AddThis

Blog Search

LightSail - Flight by Light

Support LightSail!

In 2016, The Planetary Society’s LightSail program will take the technology a step further.

I want to help!

Featured Images

Farewell, Rosetta

Pilot Knob Valley, Curiosity sol 810
MAHLI image of Mojave, sol 809
Pink Cliffs, Curiosity sol 780
More Images

Featured Video

View Larger »

Space in Images

Pretty pictures and
awe-inspiring science.

See More

Join the New Millennium Committee

Let’s invent the future together!

Become a Member

Connect With Us

Facebook! Twitter! Google+ and more…
Continue the conversation with our online community!