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Headshot of Emily Lakdawalla

Stardust update: Tempel 1 Ahoy!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla

26-01-2011 20:37 CST

Topics: mission status, comet Tempel 1, Stardust

It is with great relief that I now report that JPL announced this evening the sighting of Tempel 1 by Stardust, a mere month before the planned flyby. It's not that I didn't think Stardust would be able to find the comet; but the longer it took for the faint fuzz to show up in the images, the harder it would be for the spacecraft (which is very low on fuel) to set itself up for the flyby. Hooray and congratulations to the Stardust team! Tempel 1 ahoy!

Stardust's first sight of Tempel 1

NASA/JPL/UMD

Stardust's first sight of Tempel 1
Stardust first sighted its second comet on January 18 and 19, less than a month before its planned flyby of Tempel 1 on February 15, 2010. This is a composite image (likely a stack) of several taken over a period of two days, showing the faint fuzz of the comet against a background of stars and noise in the camera system.
 
See other posts from January 2011

 

Or read more blog entries about: mission status, comet Tempel 1, Stardust

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