Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 Update
Several of the telescopes at the Kitt Peak National Observatory near Tucson,
Arizona, are attempting to observe the impact of the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9
with Jupiter during the period July 16 through July 22. July is the
beginning of the Tucson summer ``monsoon'' season so it does not lend itself
to the best observing conditions, unfortunately. But as some data arrive at
these telescopes we will make them available to the community for viewing.
- 2.1-Meter: Clark Chapman (PSI) and collaborators are observing with
a CCD camera looking for optical detection of bollides and flashes off
- Burrell Schmidt: Beatrice Mueller (KPNO) and Cynthia Phillips (Harvard)
are doing CCD imaging of the cometary fragments and Jupiter.
- FTS: Ed Cohen (JPL) and Ken Hinkle (KPNO) are taking FTS IR-spectra
of the impact sites on Jupiter. Live video images of the planet will be
made available, to viewers using the CUSeeMe software (reflector
188.8.131.52), from the 4-Meter whenever conditions are clear.
- 1.3-Meter: Dick Joyce, Mike Belton, and Liz Alvarez observed on July 21
doing spectroscopy at 4.6 microns, looking for emission features of CO in
the impact fireball produced from fragment V.
At this time only a little data have been taken by these observers since the
impact of fragment A on July 16, due to poor weather conditions at KPNO.
- 2048-CCD frame taken by Bill Oegerle (STScI) and Eric Smith (NASA/GSFC) at the 0.9-Meter
telescope on Kitt Peak, July 7 (prior to impact), in the broad-band R-filter
with 5 min exposure time. FOV is 23.2 arcmin. Orientation is N to the left and
E at bottom. Jupiter is off the frame at the lower left; large amounts
of scattered light from Jupiter appear in the image.
- Video images of Jupiter were made on
the KPNO 4-Meter telescope, July 19 at 8pm MST, by KPNO astronomer Ken
Hinkle and JPL astronomer Ed Cohen. The image is seen in blue-green light;
the image is inverted with south at the top. The black rings on the upper portion of Jupiter are the
sites of comet impacts that have taken place earlier this week. The impact
sites cover areas about the size of the planet earth.
- One of the movie frames from the video images is presented here as a still image.
- Five pictures of Jupiter are shown in time sequence, taken on July 22 by
Beatrice Mueller (KPNO) and Cynthia Phillips (Harvard) at the 0.9-Meter
telescope. The frames are ordered (left to right) RBVIU with approximately 38 minutes of elapsed
time - the first being taken at 4:18.22 (UT). Three comet impact sites are evident
on the right side of each frame.
- A color composite of the BVI frames from
Mueller and Phillips was generated since they were so close in time.
List of impact times
The 20 larger fragments of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 are impacting Jupiter
from July 16 to July 22. The following impact times for the Tucson area
are predicted by Chodas and Yeomans (JPL/Caltech).
Fragment July MST
A = 21 16 13:00
B = 20 16 19:54
C = 19 17 00:02
D = 18 17 04:47
E = 17 17 08:06
F = 16 17 17:29
G = 15 18 00:29
H = 14 18 12:26
K = 12 19 03:19
L = 11 19 15:09
N = 9 20 03:20
P2= 8b 20 08:12
Q2= 7b 20 12:32
Q1= 7a 20 12:59
R = 6 20 22:26
S = 5 21 08:10
T = 4 21 11:04
U = 3 21 14:49
V = 2 21 21:17
W = 1 22 00:58
More detailed information about the comet along with pictures from
observatories around the world can be seen by connecting to the
University of Oregon.
Pictures from the Hubble Space Telescope are available through the
Space Telescope Science Institute , although
this link is often busy - try at a less busy time of the day if you can
not get through.
National Optical Astronomy Observatories
950 North Cherry Avenue
P.O. Box 26732
Tucson, Arizona 85719