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News Release Archive:

News Release 881 of 967

October 18, 1993 12:00 AM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-1993-22

Hubble Investigates Comet on a Collision Course with Jupiter

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Image: Comet P/Shoemaker-Levy 9: The "String of Pearls" Comet

Comet P/Shoemaker-Levy 9: The "String of Pearls" CometSTScI-PRC1993-22

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ABOUT THIS IMAGE:

A NASA Hubble Space Telescope image of approximately 20 objects that comprise comet P/Shoemaker-Levy 9, giving it the resemblance of a "string of pearls." The comet is hurtling toward a July 1994 collision with the giant planet Jupiter.

Hubble's high resolution shows that the comet's nuclei are much smaller than originally estimated from observations with ground-based telescopes. The Hubble observations show that the nuclei are probably less than three miles (5 km) across, as opposed to earlier estimates of nine miles (14 km).

The amount of energy unleashed into the Jovian atmosphere in July 1994 depends on the nuclear sizes, so these HST images provide important information for those seeking to predict the effects of the collisions on Jupiter's atmosphere.

This image was taken with the Wide Field and Planetary Camera (WFPC), in PC mode, on July 1, 1993.

Object Name: Comet P/Shoemaker-Levy 9

Image Type: Astronomical/Annotated

Credit: Dr. H. A. Weaver and Mr. T. E. Smith, STScI NASA

NEWS RELEASE IMAGES

The above montage includes these images:

Hubble Telescope Image of the "String of Pearls Comet" Image Type: Astronomical/Illustration/Annotated Hubble Telescope Image of the "String of Pearls Comet" Close-Up of Bright Nucleus in Comet P/Shoemaker-Levy 9 Image Type: Astronomical/Annotated Close-Up of Bright Nucleus in Comet P/Shoemaker-Levy 9

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