Comet Tempel 1 Impact

Historical Date2005-07-04T07:00:00-07:00
PIA NumberPIA02137
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Comet nucleus illuminated by a bright flash of white light.

This spectacular image of comet Tempel 1 was taken 67 seconds after it obliterated Deep Impact's impactor spacecraft.

The image was taken by the high-resolution camera on the mission's flyby craft. Scattered light from the collision saturated the camera's detector, creating the bright splash seen here. Linear spokes of light radiate away from the impact site, while reflected sunlight illuminates most of the comet surface.

The image reveals topographic features, including ridges, scalloped edges and possibly impact craters formed long ago.