Scientists have been studying the X-ray light around Comet Tempel 1 after its collision with the Deep Impact probe - to gauge the size of crater created.
The collision was caught on camera by the Deep Impact flyby craft
The US space agency's (Nasa) Swift satellite recorded the high-energy light, which got brighter and brighter over the weekend of 9-10 July.
The X-rays were produced by dust kicked up during the impact and thus indicate how big a hole was left in the comet.
Researchers say tens of thousands of tonnes of debris was released.
"Prior to its rendezvous with the Deep Impact probe, the comet was a rather dim X-ray source," said Paul O'Brien, of the Swift team at the University of Leicester, UK.
"How things change when you ram a comet with a copper probe travelling over 20,000 miles (32,000km) per hour.
"The X-ray light we detect now is generated by debris created by the collision combined with material naturally coming off the comet."
Although the actual impact occurred on 4 July, it takes several days for the dust and debris to reach the comet's upper atmosphere, or coma, where it can be illuminated by the high-energy particles, or solar wind, streaming away from the sun.
"For the first time, we can see how material liberated from a comet's surface migrates to the upper reaches of its atmosphere," said John Nousek, of Penn State University, US.
DEEP IMPACT: 4 JULY
The explosive moment of impact on Comet Tempel 1
"This will provide fascinating information about a comet's atmosphere and how it interacts with the solar wind. This is all virgin territory."
Although analysis is still ongoing, scientists think enough dust was thrown up to leave a 10m (32ft) deep coating on a football pitch.
The Swift satellite is usually used for detecting distant natural explosions, called gamma-ray bursts, and creating a map of X-ray sources in the Universe.
Artist's impression: The Deep Impact mission will reveal many secrets about comets
However, following the Deep Impact mission to Tempel 1, it is providing the only simultaneous multi-wavelength observation, with a suite of instruments capable of detecting visible light, ultra-violet light, X-rays and gamma rays.
Swift scientists say that "different wavelengths reveal different secrets about the comet".
Professor Keith Mason, of University College London, UK, said: "Swift is a nearly ideal observatory for making these comet studies, as it combines both a rapidly responsive scheduling system with both X-ray and optical UV instruments in the same satellite."