Comet 9P/Tempel 1 Near Its Closest Point to Earth
Comet Tempel 1, the Deep Impact target, observed from the 2.1-m telescope at the Kitt Peak National Observatory. This image was obtained on April 11, 2005, when the comet was near its closest approach to the Earth. A pinkish dust jet is visible to the southwest, with the broader neutral gas coma (CN, shown in blue) surrounding it.
North is up, East is to the left, and the field of view is about 80,000 km (50,000 miles) wide. The Sun was almost directly behind the observer at this time. The red, green and blue bars in the background are stars that moved between the individual images.
This pseudo-color picture was created by combining three black and white images obtained with different filters. The images were obtained with the HB Narrowband Comet Filters, using CN (3870 A - shown in blue), C2 (5140 A - shown in green) and RC (7128 A - shown in red). The CN and C2 filters capture different gas species (along with the underlying dust) while the RC filter captures just the dust.
The images were obtained by Dr. Tony Farnham and Matthew Knight (University of Maryland).
CREDIT: UMD/T. Farnham and M. Knight