More on EPOXI flyby

Contributed by
Dec 31, 2007

A couple of quick notes:

The EPOXI (nee Deep Impact) spacecraft will do a flyby of the Earth tonight. You probably won't be able to see it without a big 'scope, but it's out there. I erroneously said in my earlier post that it was stealing some of Earth's energy, but in fact the opposite is true: the Earth is stealing energy from the spacecraft! This will move the Earth in its orbit a teeny tiny little bit, which means in a zillion years we'll be an inch different in our orbit than we would have been otherwise. The spacecraft has very little mass compared to the Earth, so while it loses a lot of energy relatively, the Earth gains very little.

Second, the EPOXI team has posted images of the Moon taken with its instruments.

These were taken when the spacecraft was still 1.2 million kilometers from the Moon. They're slightly out of focus (I'm not clear why; the website doesn't say as far as I can tell). The team compensated by using a technique called deconvolution, which sharpens up an image but can introduce artifacts (like overly bright or overly sharp features; I used this technique ad nauseum on my early Hubble images). Don't tell Hoagland! Let's see if he claims to see giant statues of Ozymandias in the images.

I don't know if they will take any images of Earth; I hope so, but I have not yet heard anything. I'll post them if I find them!

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