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News Release 219 of 947

July 24, 2009 03:00 PM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-2009-23

Hubble Captures Rare Jupiter Collision

July 24, 2009: NASA scientists have interrupted the checkout and calibration of the Hubble Space Telescope to aim the recently refurbished observatory at a new expanding spot on the giant planet Jupiter. The spot, caused by the impact of a comet or an asteroid, is changing day to day in the planet's cloud tops. The Hubble picture, taken on July 23, is the sharpest visible-light picture taken of the impact feature. The observations were made with Hubble's new camera, the Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3). WFC3 is not yet fully calibrated, and while it is possible to obtain celestial images, the camera's full power cannot yet be realized for most observations. The WFC3 can still return meaningful science images that will complement the Jupiter pictures being taken with ground-based telescopes.

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Credit: NASA, ESA, and H. Hammel (Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo.), and the Jupiter Impact Team