The thickness and formation age of the surface layer on comet 9P/tempel 1

T. Kadono, S. Sugita, S. Sako, T. Ootsubo, M. Honda, H. Kawakita, T. Miyata, R. Furusho, J. Watanabe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Cometary nuclei are believed to contain important information on the condition of the solar nebula, but there is little observational data available on their interior structure. Our ground-based observations of NASA's Deep Impact event show that comet 9P/Tempel 1 has a surface layer consisting of small (submicron-sized) carbonaceous grains whose thickness is several tens of centimeters. This suggests that comet 9P/Tempel 1 contains, at several tens of centimeters of depth, material that has not metamorphosed since this comet left the trans-Neptunian region. This further implies that many short-period comets may maintain the components they had upon leaving the trans-Neptunian region at ∼1 m of depth from the surface, even after numerous perihelion passages.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L89-L92
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 II
Publication statusPublished - 2007 May 20


  • Comets: general
  • Comets: individual (9P/tempel 1)
  • Infrared: solar system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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