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Karen Jean Meech -- Deep Impact Mission

Meech Research

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Meech is a member of the science team for the Deep Impact Mission. She is in charge of coordinating all the ground-based observing support for the mission. This includes proposal writing, observing, data reduction and analysis, in order to characterize the nucleus of the target, 9P/Tempel 1. The main opportunities for target characterization are:

  • Albedo / size - Needed for imaging nucleus at encounter, determination of mass/density. We require simultaneous optical and IR observations, preferably when the comet is inactive. Observations were obtained during Aug 2000 for this and have given a preliminary nucleus size. The next opportunity will be with SIRTF in 11/04, and then in May 05 from the ground.

  • Coma Development - Needed to develop good dust models of the nucleus. The best strategy will be to observe it every couple months from 10/02 through 5/03, then 9/03 through 7/04.

  • Nucleus Rotation - This is very important for the targetting of the impactor and imaging sequence planning. An extensive international campaign using the following telescopes was conducted during the fall of 2000. Additional campains to solve the rotation are being planned for Fall (Nov) 2001, Dec 2001 and Jan 2004.

    JCMT UH2.2m Keck Lowell NTT TNG VLT

  • Gas Abundances / Spectroscopy - The goal of the spectroscopic observations is to determine the changes in natural activity due to the impact. 9P/Tempel 1 has had variations in outgassing from apparition to apparition, so it would be nice to monitor this as well as variations during one rotational period. Radio/mm - molecules of primary interest: H2O, CO, CO2, HCN . It will not be possible to get CO, even from Mauna Kea, however HCN should be monitored between 3/2005 through impact.o Optical spectroscopy should begin in Jan 2004.

Last modified: February 19, 2001
Karen Meech
Institute for Astronomy
2680 Woodlawn Drive
Honolulu, HI 96822
meech@ifa.hawaii.edu