Professional and amateur astronomers will team up this weekend to give the world a look at the upcoming crash between comet Tempel 1 and a washing machine-size projectile launched by NASA.
The 4-mile-wide comet will slam into the Deep Impact projectile at 10:52 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time on July 3. Though scientists don’t know exactly what will happen, they hope the collision will kick up enough dust to give them a first-ever look at the material inside a comet.
The impact will be photographed up close by cameras mounted on the spacecraft that released the projectile and on the projectile itself. In addition, the event will be monitored from afar by more than 60 observatories in 20 countries and hundreds, perhaps thousands, of amateur astronomers.
The European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft and three NASA space telescopes — Chandra, Hubble and Spitzer — will also be focused on the comet.
The public can monitor the progress of the mission and view photos of the impact as they come in by visiting the following websites:
- Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Deep Impact
- Deep Impact Mission’s Small Telescope Science Program
- Kitt Peak National Observatory
- Mauna Kea Observatories
- European Southern University’s Deep Impact Observations
- Deep Impact Amateur Observer’s Program