NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft has taken the first photo of the Tempel 1 comet it will soon slam into. The image was taken on April 25, about 39.7 million miles from the comet.
On July 4, a probe released from the Deep Impact mothership will hit the comet, carving a crater and kicking up enough dust that researchers say the event should be visible to backyard stargazers with binoculars or small telescopes. Seasoned skywatchers might even spot the comet with the naked eye as it brightens temporarily.
Deep Impact will give scientists more insight in the inner workings of a comet, which might include material that hasn't changed since the formation of the solar system. More info and photo at Space.com