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Current Research of Comets
06.24.05
 
PRESENT

Diane Wooden is an astrophysicist at NASA Ames Research Center and is supporting NASA's Deep Impact mission by providing ground base support. She will be observing the Deep Impact at the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility on Mauna Kea in Hawaii. Wooden will be focusing on the dust made from the impact. "Comets are the deep-freezers of what was happening in our solar nebula at the time that Jupiter and Saturn were forming. They were kicked out of the part of the planetary system where giant planets were forming, so that they became sort of in stasis. When they come now close to the Sun, they release their material from billions of years ago, and sort of tell us the story of what was happening then. I’m very interested in the dust because the dust is the building blocks of the planets," said Wooden in an interview on June 21, 2005.

Wooden's interview can be heard by clicking on the following link: Wooden Interview

artist renditionArtist's illustration of the later stages of the formation of planetary systems, showing some gas and dust still persist in a protoplanetary disk and comets orbit the young star. Image courtesy: Pat Rawlings/NASA
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Wooden and crew Dr. Diane Wooden (NASA Ames), Dr. David Harker (UC San Diego/CASS), and Dr. Charles Woodward (U. Minnesota) standing with the NASA Ames HIFOGS (HI-efficiency Faint Object Grating Spectrometer) mid-infrared instrument inside the dome of the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility. [The funnel is for filling the cryogenic reservoir with liquid nitrogen, and the short piece of rubber hose is around the liquid Helium reservoir; the cryogens cool the instrument to -269 degrees Celsius (4 degrees Kelvin).] Image courtesy: NASA
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Wooden and crew Dr. David Harker (UC San Diego/CASS), Dr. Charles Woodward (U. Minnesota), and Dr. Diane Wooden (NASA Ames) standing with the NASA Ames HIFOGS mid-infrared spectrometer inside the dome of the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility. [Dr. Harker is holding a flask of liquid nitrogen that is poured through the funnel to fill the cryogenic reservoir with liquid nitrogen, and the short piece of rubber hose is around the liquid Helium reservoir; the cryogens cool the instrument to -269 degrees Celsius (4 degrees Kelvin).] Image courtesy: NASA.
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NASA Infrared Telescope Facility Dr. Diane Wooden standing in the dome of the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility in front of the NASA Ames HIFOGS spectrometer. Telescope Operator Bill Golosh is securing cables behind in preparation for observing. Image courtesy: NASA.
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Wooden Dr. Diane Wooden in the control room of the NASA Infrared Telescope Facilty, shown working analysis of cometary spectra obtained with the NASA Ames HIFOGS mid-infrared intstrument. HIFOGS is one of the instruments to be used at the NASA IRTF to observe the Deep Impact event. Image courtesy: NASA.
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Wooden and Woodward Dr. Diane Wooden (NASA Ames) and Dr. Charles Woodward (U. Minnesota) standing with the NASA Ames HIFOGS (HI-efficiency Faint Object Grating Spectrometer) mid-infrared instrument inside the dome of the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility. Image courtesy: NASA
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comet team Dr. David Harker (UC San Diego/CASS), Dr. Charles Woodward (U. Minnesota), and Dr. Diane Wooden (NASA Ames) standing with the MIRSI mid-infrared instrument mounted on the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility's 3-meter telescope. MIRSI is one of the instruments that will be used to observe comet 9P/Tempel 1 before and after the Deep Impact Mission encounter with the comet on July 3, 2005. Image Courtesy: NASA.
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