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R-band light curve of Comet 9P/Tempel 1 during the Deep Impact event

Mitchell, TR; Welsh, WF; Etzel, PB; Barber, RJ; Miller, S; Stallard, TS; Tennyson, J; (2010) R-band light curve of Comet 9P/Tempel 1 during the Deep Impact event. ICARUS , 205 (2) 619 - 626. 10.1016/j.icarus.2009.07.046.

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We present high-speed CCD photometry of Comet 9P/Tempel 1 during the Deep Impact event on 2005 July 4 UT. Approximately 2 h and 50 min of R-band data were acquired at Mount Laguna Observatory with a temporal resolution of 5.5 s. The flux increased by 9% in the first minute after impact. This was followed by a more gradual two-part linear rise, with a change in slope at 9.2 min post-impact, at which time the rate of brightening increased from similar to 3% min(-1) to similar to 5% min(-1). An analysis of the light curve obtained with the guide camera on the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope and yields very similar results. These findings are mildly in disagreement with the 3-part linear rise found by Fernandez et al. (2007) in that we do not find any evidence for a change at 4 min post-impact. We interpret the linear rise phase as due to solar illumination of the edge of an expanding optically thick dust ejecta plume. After approximately 20 min, the light curves begin to flatten out, perhaps coincident with the start of the transition to becoming optically thin. In the large apertures (>10 '') the light curve continues to gradually rise until the end of the observations. In smaller apertures, the light curves reach a peak at approximately 50 min, then decrease back towards the pre-impact flux level. The drop in flux in the smaller apertures may be caused by the ejecta expanding beyond the edge of the photometric aperture, and if so, we can use this timescale to infer an expansion velocity of similar to 0.5 km s(-1), consistent with previous published estimates. (C) 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Type: Article
Title: R-band light curve of Comet 9P/Tempel 1 during the Deep Impact event
DOI: 10.1016/j.icarus.2009.07.046
Keywords: Comets, Dust, Photometry, PARENT VOLATILES, EJECTA, RATES
UCL classification: UCL > Office of the President and Provost
UCL > School of BEAMS
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/101024
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