Deep impact

On July 4, 2005 at approximately 1:52am a space craft, code named “Deep Impact” launched its impactor on a collision course with Comet Tempel 1. This event took place near Spica in the constellation Virgo. If you’re not into astronomy, Virgo would be somewhere in the southwestern sky, roughly in the same area as the moon around this time.

Comet Tempel

The impactor was totally vapourized by the comet. But before it was destroyed, it managed to take a bunch of photographs, at least 3sec before its destruction.

Comet Tempel impact

After the separation of the impactor, Deep Impact started its flyby mission and recorded the impactor’s course towards Comet Tempel 1. The comet is about 7km wide and the impactor is about the size of a coffee table. So you can image the kind of damage this coffee table size impactor caused on the comet. The impact between the two objects caused the comet to slow down a fraction of its speed. Imagine you’re driving down the street and you hit a bug, that’s how much slower the comet would be going.