Keck Deep Impact Movie

 

The animated gif below is a combination of 200 images taken with the Slit-viewing camera on NIRSPEC on Keck II. The images were taken before, during and after the impact. The dark band seen in some images is the entrance slit to the spectrograph. Most of the light from the comet goes down the slit so that we can take spectra of the comet. A spectrum is the light from an object divided up by its wavelength. Using spectra, we can identify the elements and molecules present in the comet.

Each image is a zoomed in view of the slit-viewing camera. The image is 17.8 arcseconds on a side. At the comet's distance from Earth, each pixel is about 115 km (72 miles). The slit is aligned north-south with north pointing to the right. All images are in the infrared K-band (2.2 microns), 4 seconds in length, and background subtracted.