Dark bruised spot on Jupiter's clouds that is about twice as long as the United States is wide.
Source: NASA, ESA, and H. Hammel (Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo.), and the Jupiter Impact Team
Published: June 18, 2019
Historical Date: July 24, 2009

This Hubble picture, taken on July 23, 2009 is the sharpest visible-light picture taken of an impact feature spotted on Jupiter in 2009. The expanding spot is twice the length of the United States.

First discovered by Australian amateur astronomer Anthony Wesley, the feature is the impact site and "backsplash" of material from a small object that plunged into Jupiter's atmosphere and disintegrated.

The first time scientists observed planetary impact was in 1994 when a series of fragments from comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 smashed into Jupiter. The details seen in the Hubble view shows lumpiness in the debris plume caused by turbulence in Jupiter's atmosphere.

Impact Spot on Jupiter. Credit: <a href="http://www.nasa.gov/">NASA</a><span>, </span><a href="http://www.spacetelescope.org/">ESA</a><span>, H. Hammel (Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo.), and the Jupiter Impact Team | &rsaquo; <a href="http://hubblesite.org/news_release/news/2009-23" target="_blank">Full image and caption</a></span> Impact spot on Jupiter with scale showing it is about 6,000 miles long.

Impact to Scale

Scientist's used Hubble's new camera in 2009 to make close observations of this asteroid or comet impact on Jupiter.

The impactor is estimated to be the size of several football fields. The force of the explosion on Jupiter was thousands of times more powerful than the suspected comet or asteroid that exploded in June 1908 over the Tunguska River Valley in Siberia.

This is a natural color image of Jupiter as seen in visible light.


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