Saturday, May 4, 2013

Comet: Source of Mysterious Water on Jupiter

A composite Cassini space probe image of Jupiter. The dark spot is the shadow of the moon Europa. The Great Red Spot, a persistent anticyclonic storm, is at lower right. White atmospheric bands, termed zones, represent areas of upwelling; reddish bands, called belts, represent areas of downwelling. They display high-altitude ammonia ice clouds and lower clouds of unknown composition, respectively.
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European Scientists Discover Source of Jupiter's Mysterious Water

By Eve Pearce, European Correspondent
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower
2013 May 4

The European Space Agency (ESA) has announced that the source of the mysterious water in Jupiter's upper atmosphere was the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9, which collided with the planet in July 1994.

The presence of the water had left scientists baffled for many years. However, they now understand that it was delivered when, during the catastrophic collision, a series of 21 fragments of the comet was dispersed into the planet's southern hemisphere. They left many dark scars on Jupiter's atmosphere for several weeks after the impact.

The significant impact of Shoemaker-Levy 9 was noted as the first direct observation of an extra terrestrial collision with a planet in our solar system. The force of the impact was so great that many astronomers were able to monitor and follow it with their ground-based telescopes. However, it was not until a year after the impact that the ESA's Infrared Space Observatory (ISO) was launched. The spacecraft then discovered the concentration of water in the atmosphere .

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Source: Eve Pearce, European Correspondent Reporting for SpaceWatchtower, a project of Friends of the Zeiss.


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