Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9

This comet was broken into pieces by interaction with Jupiter's gravity and impacted Jupiter in at least 9 major fragments over a period of six days beginning on July 16, 1994. The comet had been tracked for 14 months and almost every earth-based telescope plus the Hubble were trained on Jupiter for the impacts. In the plumes thrown up by the impacts, spectra revealed ammonia (which had been seen before) along with sulfur and hydrogen sulfide (which had not been seen before). The data are consistent with high altitude explosions which did not penetrate much below the visible cloud tops.

Images of Jupiter after the impact of the R-fragment. At left is an infrared imaged taken by the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility (G. Orton). At right is a NASA artist's rendering of the impact sequence.

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