Astronomy Picture of the Day
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July 13, 1995
A String Of Pearls
Picture Credit: NASA, Hubble Space Telescope (courtesy of H. Weaver)
Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9,
named after its co-discoverers, was often referred
to as the "string of pearls" comet. It is famous for its unusual appearance
as well as its collision with the planet Jupiter!
The comet's original single nucleus
was torn to pieces by Jupiter's strong gravity during a close encounter
with the solar system's largest planet in 1992. The pieces are seen in
this composite of Hubble Space Telescope images to
be "pearls" strung out along
the comet's orbital path. In July of 1994 these
pieces collided with Jupiter in a unique and spectacular series of
Tomorrow's picture: Comet Impacts on Jupiter
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