March 4, 1995: In July 1994, 21 chunks of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9, which had broken apart a year earlier, slammed into Jupiter. The Hubble telescope recorded this spectacular event.
These images, beginning at lower right, chronicle the results of one such collision. Hubble began snapping pictures of the impact area just five minutes after the collision. Nothing can be seen. Less than two hours later, a plume of dark debris is visible [bull's-eye pattern, image second from bottom]. Two impact sites are visible in the next picture, taken a few days later. The final snapshot shows three impact sites, the newest near the bull's-eye-shaped region.
Credit: R. Evans, J. Trauger, H. Hammel and the HST Comet Science Team and NASA.