From John Davies
This is a draft of an article which I expect to appear in the Royal Observatories Newsletter a few weeks from now. I send it to you in case you wanted to add it to your file of general information for the public and media. Its a bit technical, but not hopelessly so.
Three groups were awarded time to observe the comet crash and all will take advantage of the power of CGS4, UKIRT's near infrared array spectrograph. Dr S Miller and his collaborators (6 half nights) hope to observe emission from H3+ in the Jovian ionosphere. They will also search for other species which have been either dredged up from deep within Jupiter's atmosphere or produced during the chemical reactions produced by the release of energy during the impact. Dr Glenn Orton's group (6 half nights) will attempt to characterise the horizontal and vertical distribution of particles in the atmosphere and map to the distribution of neutral gases released from the comet and injected by the collision into the stratosphere from lower levels of Jupiter's atmosphere. Drs Keith Noll and Roger Knacke (2 half nights) will search for oxygen bearing molecules such as CO and H20 as the crash will probably introduce considerable amounts of oxygen into regions of Jupiter's atmosphere where this element is normally rare.
CGS4 will be configured with its long focal length camera and will have its 75l/mm and echelle gratings fitted. This will allow observations to be alternated quickly between either moderate or high resolution spectroscopy. Other instruments, including the new Infrared Camera IRCAM3, will also be available for use depending on observing circumstances and any unforeseen developments on the planet following the impacts.
In view of the uncertainties regarding the collision, the precise schedule for these observations will be as fluid as possible in order to maximise the potential scientific return. UKIRT will also be co-ordinating its programme, as far as is possible, with those of other telescopes, most notably the NASA IRTF on Mauna Kea.
John Davies JACH
THE FOLLOWING PROJECTS WERE ALLOCATED UKIRT TIME FOR OBSERVING THE COMET CRASH. OBSERVING WILL START MID AFTERNOON AND CONTINUE UNTIL JUPITER HAS SET AND CALIBRATIONS DONE. OTHER PROJECTS ARE SCHEDULED FOR THE LATTER PART OF EACH NIGHT. THE CRASH PERIOD IS DEFINED AS JULY 14-27.
PLEASE CONTACT THE PI'S FOR DETAILS, CO-ORDINATION OF PROJECTS ETC
PI: S MILLER UNIVERITY COLLEGE, LONDON PROJ: SEARCH FOR H3+ AND H2 EMISSION. CO-I: TRAFTON,OKA,JAGOD,BALLESTER, GEBALLE,TENNYSON PI: G ORTON JET PROPULSION LAB, PASADENA PROJ: NEAR IR SPECTROSCOPY CO-I: BROOKE,BJORAKER,FRIEDSON PI: K NOLL STSCI PROJ: VARIATIONS OF CO AND H20 CO-I: KNACKE