Help Shape the Future of Space Exploration

Join The Planetary Society Now  arrow.png

Join our eNewsletter for updates & action alerts

    Please leave this field empty

Headshot of Emily Lakdawalla

Deep Impact's encounter with Hartley 2 is beginning; flyby in 17 hours

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla

03-11-2010 15:39 CDT

Topics: Deep Impact

According to the mission timeline, the Deep Impact high-resolution observations of Hartley 2 are beginning in just a few minutes, at 20:50 according to the clock on the spacecraft.* All data are being stored onboard for relay to Earth over a period that'll span days after the flyby. Despite the fact that the flyby is only 17 hours away, Deep Impact can still not see the ball of ice and dirt that is at the center of all this cometary activity. In fact, it won't resolve details on the surface of the comet's nucleus until about an hour before its closest approach! In the meantime, though, the comet is making a fantastic show for the spacecraft to watch. Here's a quick animation made of four images from the Deep Impact website, the most recent of which is from Monday.

Approaching Hartley 2

NASA / JPL-Caltech / UMD / animation by Emily Lakdawalla

Approaching Hartley 2
Four images captured at about 09:20 every day for four days from October 29 to November 1 document the increasing brightness of Hartley 2 against the background star field as seen from Deep Impact, which was approaching for its November 4 flyby. The images have been rotated to align them.

I'm planning on being at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory incredibly early in my morning tomorrow, showing up around 6:00 a.m. my time (13:00 UTC). I'll be Tweeting events as they happen, and blogging as quickly as I can after the fact.

* (Apologies to those of you on Twitter for my one-hour premature Tweet on this event. I copied a number from the Deep Impact website that was off by one hour.)

See other posts from November 2010


Or read more blog entries about: Deep Impact


Leave a Comment:

You must be logged in to submit a comment. Log in now.
Facebook Twitter Email RSS AddThis

Blog Search


Advocate for Space!

Fifteen years ago, Society members and passionate space advocates like you helped save the Pluto mission. Now we can do the same for missions to Europa and Mars.

Join over 27,600 people who have completed their petition and consider a donation to support advocacy efforts.

Sign Our Petition

Featured Images

The Magnificent Neptunian System
Pluto's blue skies
51 Eridani b
51 Eridani b (artist's conception)
More Images

Featured Video

A Perfect, Clear Day: LightSail's Launch

Watch Now

Fly to an Asteroid!

Send your name and message on Hayabusa-2.

Send your name

Selfies to Space!

Take flight with a selfie on LightSail™ in 2016!

Send a Selfie Now

Connect With Us

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