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X-ray Eyes on Tempel 1
false-color image of Tempel 1, seen on June 30, 2005

This false-color image shows comet Tempel 1 as seen by Chandra X-ray Observatory on June 30, 2005, Universal Time. The comet was bright and condensed. The X-rays observed from comets are caused by an interaction between highly charged oxygen in the solar wind and neutral gases from the comet.

The observatory detected X-rays with an energy of 0.3 to 1.0 kilo electron Volts. The bulk of the X-rays were between 0.5 and 0.7 kilo electron Volts.

Chandra will observe the comet for 18 hours during and after the time when NASA's Deep Impact impactor probe collides with Tempel 1 at 10:52 p.m. Pacific time, July 3 (1:52 a.m. Eastern time, July 4). The material ejected from the crater could cause the interaction region, and thus the X-ray emission, to move toward the Sun.

Image credit: NASA/CXC/C. Lisse and S. Wolk

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