A Smashing Success

NASA is rightly proud to document the success of
its
Deep Impact mission
to comet Tempel 1. Locally,
the Keck Observatory, on the island of Hawai’i, has released

preliminary data
. However, since the data are in the
hundreds and thousands of megabytes in size I’ve decided not
to download it. The initial report indicates the infrared
spectrometer picked up the impact debris immediately and
found the following
:

“The IR continuum began to brighten immediately after
impact, and brightening continued for the next hour. Spectral
lines of H2O appeared almost immediately, and continued to
brighten thereafter. The first instrument setting (28 minutes
on source) revealed spectral lines of H2O (7 hot-band
lines)), C2H6 (5 Q-branches: RQ2, RQ1, RQ0, PQ1, and PQ2),
and CH3OH (many lines). The second setting (24 minutes on
source) yielded additional hot-band lines of H2O,along with
lines of HCN (six lines), C2H2 (tentatively two lines),CH3OH
(many lines) and OH prompt emission.”

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