Deep Impact Coverage: Comet Tempel 1 in X-Rays

There is not a lot of material in the coma of Comet Tempel 1, according to scientists after studying recent observations made by the Chandra X-ray Observatory. The space telescope saw a steady stream of X-rays from the interaction of the comet nucleus with the solar wind. However, the X-ray view could change during Tempel 1’s occasional outbursts, several of which have occurred in the past week. Images from Chandra might then show a forward arc of X-rays from coma material interacting with the solar wind.

Chandra and other space-based telescopes, including Hubble, are poised to capture images of Deep Impact’s impactor spacecraft slamming into Tempel 1. Each telescope offers its own suite of instruments tailored for specific regions of the electromagnetic spectrum, allowing a more complete picture of the impact event and its aftermath than could be provided by visible light images alone.

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Richard Leis

Richard Leis is a fiction writer and poet, with his first published poem forthcoming later in 2017 from Impossible Archetype. His essays about fairy tales and technology have been published on Tiny Donkey. Richard is also the Downlink Lead for the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) team at the University of Arizona. He monitors images of the Martian surface taken by the HiRISE camera located on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in orbit around Mars and helps ensure they process successfully and are validated for quick release to the science community and public. Once upon a time, Richard wrote and edited the science and technology news and commentary website Frontier Channel, hosted the RADIO Frontier Channel podcast, and organized transhumanist clubs. Follow Richard on his website (, on Goodreads (richardleis), his (@richardleis), Twitter (@richardleisjr), and Facebook (richardleisjr).