Pre-Impact Mid-IR and Optical Observations of Comet 9P/Tempel 1
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Comet 9P/Tempel 1, the target of the Deep Impact mission, has been intensively observed for a long time period before the encounter. Pre-impact ground based monitoring of the comet was an important prerequisite for the success of the first space experiment in which a comet is treated by an artificial impact. It provided the background data needed to disentangle the features caused by the impact from variations caused by the natural activity of the comet. In this paper we present results from the ESO-monitoring of the comet, conducted in the thermal infrared and optical spectral ranges during several months before the Deep Impact encounter with the comet.
KeywordsComet 9P/Tempel 1 cometary dust deep impact optical imaging thermal infrared
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T.B. gratefully acknowledges a fellowship from the Scientific Visitor Programme of the European Southern Observatory. This research was partially supported by contract Φ-1009 with the Ministry of Education and Science, Bulgaria. Critical remarks by two reviewers helped to improve the quality of this paper.