Comet P/Shoemaker-Levy 9

Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 Collision with Jupiter

Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
- Dylan Thomas

Shoemaker/Levy 9 Collision with Jupiter CD-ROMs available

From July 16 through July 22, 1994, fragments of Comet P/Shoemaker-Levy 9 collided with Jupiter, with dramatic effect. This was the first collision of two solar system bodies ever to be observed. Shoemaker-Levy 9 consists of 20 discernable fragments with diameters estimated at up to 2 kilometers, which impacted the planet at 60 km/s. The impacts resulted in plumes many thousands of kilometers high, hot "bubbles" of gas in the atmosphere, and large dark "scars" on the atmosphere which have lifetimes at least on the order of weeks. Smaller bits and dust continue to impact the planet. Shoemaker-Levy 9 is gone, but as the Earth- and space-based images show, it did not go quietly.

Images of the Collisions
The Comet
The Impact


There were extensive observations of the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 / Jupiter impact, involving almost all Earth-based observatories and many orbiting and interplanetary spacecraft, including the Hubble Space Telescope, Galileo, Ulysses, and Voyager 2.

Hubble Space Telescope
Ulysses and Voyager 2

International Conference on Shoemaker-Levy 9

Comet and Asteroid Home Page
NSSDCA Planetary Home Page

Dr. David R. Williams,
NSSDCA, Mail Code 690.1
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, MD 20771

NASA Official: Dave Williams,
Last Updated: 04 February 2005, DRW