View Full Version : Discussion: Spacecraft Wakes Up for Comet ...

2005-Jun-28, 04:01 PM
SUMMARY: The Submillimeter Wave Astronomy Satellite (SWAS) has been asleep for the past 11 months, but now it's being woken up for a very important task: to watch the collision between Deep Impact and Comet Tempel 1. SWAS completed 5.5 years of service to the astronomical community, and it was put into hibernation for just something like this. The spacecraft is especially good at measuring the abundance of water molecules in ice and dust, so it should be able to help analyze the ejected material when the spacecraft slams into the comet on July 4.

View full article (http://www.universetoday.com/am/publish/swas_wakes_up.html)

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Don Alexander
2005-Jun-28, 04:52 PM
I sure hope the Deep Impact mission will work out. There's a lot of money within this one short event. All large optical telescopes in the western world will be watching.

What is not stated is why the satellite was "put to sleep" in the first place!! It seems to be working fine. 5 1/2 years is quite a long mission time, and I take it that it died for simple budget reasons...

And now they're going to turn it off again after the event...

2005-Jun-28, 06:19 PM
It is pretty cool that so many things will be looking in that one direction for this event. It will be interesting to see how many of them prove to be redundant.

2005-Jun-29, 07:22 PM
I went to the Minor Planet Center Comets (http://cfa-www.harvard.edu/iau/Ephemerides/Comets/index.html) page to get coordinates of the comet. Somewhat to my surprise, there are two comets listed that looked like they could be the right one. One is listed as "10P/Temple" and the other is "9P/Temple". Nowhere is there a "Temple 1", which is so often quoted as the name of the comet. "9P/Temple" is the right visual magnitude, and on closer inspection appears to be at least more or less in the right part of the sky.

Where did this other name come from? If it isn't the name from the Minor Planet Center, it seems likely to be wrong. At the very least, it's misleading or confusing.

On the other hand, as i live in Michigan, it's probably moot. Most nights i get to see the "Michigan Nebula". This is the standard joke at my club when talking about the weather. "Nebula" means "cloud".

Everyone talks about the weather, but no one does anything about it. - Mark Twain

2005-Jun-29, 07:56 PM
Originally posted by suitti@Jun 29 2005, 07:22 PM
One is listed as "10P/Temple" and the other is "9P/Temple". Nowhere is there a "Temple 1
I'm not sure why 9P/Tempel is called Tempel 1, but it is. This is the ninth comet discovered by Tempel.

2005-Jul-26, 03:36 AM
Sounds like a He** of a fierwork. :)