This is an image of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9, broken into many pieces.
Click on image for full size
NASA/NSSDC and the Space Telescope Science Institute
Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9
Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 was the ninth comet discovered by Gene Shoemaker, his wife Carolyn, and partner David Levy, in 1993.
The comet had first broken apart in space in 1992, after a close passage near the planet Jupiter, and then plunged directly into Jupiter on its very next pass by the giant planet in 1994.
The crash of the comet into the planet, a once in a millennium event, has helped scientists learn a great deal more about comets, Jupiter, orbits, and the origins of the solar system itself. For example, observations now suggest that moons of Jupiter have been struck by strings of comets in the past.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
on science education, classroom activities in The Earth Scientist
specimens, and educational games
You might also be interested in:
The force of gravity caused by an object gets weaker as you move farther away from that object. In this picture, the Earth is pulling on the Moon, and the Moon is pulling on the Earth. The Moon pulls more...more
Scientists have learned a great deal from the crash of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9. Scientists traced the orbit of the comet backwards in time to guess its origin. This calculation, along with the discovery...more
On the night of July 19, 2009, Anthony Wesley noticed a dark splotch on Jupiter that hadn't been there before. Wesley, an amateur astronomer in Australia, had discovered the remnants of a huge impact on...more
Reasons that planetary bodies are warm include 1.) leftover heat from it's formation 2.) radioactive material found in the body 3.) outside forces on the body as a whole, such as those which cause tides...more
The Galileo spacecraft was launched in October 1989, aboard the shuttle Atlantis. Galileo has been orbiting Jupiter for more than five years and it is still going strong! "We're proud that this workhorse...more
The Galileo spacecraft was launched on October 19, 1989. Galileo had two parts: an orbiter and a descent probe that parachuted into Jupiter's atmosphere. Galileo's primary mission was to explore the Jovian...more
Hale-Bopp continues to offer surprises as astronomers study the comet. Using the Hubble Space Telescope and the International Ultraviolet Explorer, astronomers have found that their are distinctly different...more