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News Release 164 of 192

September 29, 1994 12:00 AM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-1994-48

Hubble Observations Shed New Light on Jupiter Collision

September 29, 1994: In the weeks following comet P/Shoemaker-Levy 9's spectacular July collision with Jupiter, a team of Hubble telescope astronomers has pored over imaging and spectroscopic data gleaned during the interplanetary bombardment. Their initial findings, combined with results from other space-borne and ground-based telescopes, shed new light on Jupiter's atmospheric winds, its immense magnetic field, the mysterious dark debris from the impacts, and the composition of the doomed comet itself.

These four Hubble telescope images of Jupiter, as seen in visible and far-ultraviolet wavelengths, show the remarkable dispersion of the clouds of smoke and dust thrown into the atmosphere after chunks of the comet slammed into Jupiter's southern region. These dark regions provide the only information ever obtained on the wind direction and speed in Jupiter's upper atmosphere.

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Credit: John Clarke (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor MI), Heidi Hammel (MIT), and Harold Weaver and Melissa McGrath (Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, MD).