Shoemaker-Levy 9

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A comet that crashed into Jupiter in July 1994. The fragments crashed at 60 kps over the period 16–22 July 1994. The impacts occurred on the far side of Jupiter, but the impact sites came into view of Earth about 25 minutes later. Analysis of the impacts shows that most of the pieces were solid bodies about 1 km in diameter, but that at least three of them were clusters of smaller objects.

When first sighted on 24 March 1993 by US astronomers Carolyn and Eugene Shoemaker and David Levy, it was found to consist of at least 21 fragments in an unstable orbit around Jupiter. It is believed to have been captured by Jupiter in about 1930, and fragmented by tidal forces on passing within 21 000 km of the planet in July 1992.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics.

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