15 February 2011

Waiting for Tempel 1

Posted by Ryan Anderson

It sounds like it might be a little while longer before we get nice high-res images from last night’s flyby of comet Tempel 1. As usual, Emily at the Planetary Society blog has the scoop:

The good news is that they have all their images, and according to Stardust’s navigation team, they all have the comet centered in the field of view. The bad news is that for reasons as yet unknown, their command to prioritize the five images bracketing closest approach for transmission to Earth first did not work; instead the 72 images appear to be coming down in order, with number 34 or so being the one shot at closest approach. Since it takes nearly 15 minutes to transmit each image, it’ll be hours before the close-approach ones come down. They may have to delay tomorrow’s press briefing in order to give the science team time for interpretation.

I’ll try to post the close-approach images ASAP once they are released… in the meantime here is one of the early images from the flyby to whet your appetite: