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McDonald Fragment R Collision Animation


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The R Impact from McDonald Observatory

This movie shows Jupiter at the time the R fragment impacted. The event was observed with three of the McDonald Observatory telescopes. The 2.7-m telescope was equiped with an IR camera which was imaging through a filter at 2.12 microns which isolates molecular hydrogen. The 2.1-m telescope was obtaining moderate resolution spectroscopy. The 0.8-m telescope was imaging with a CCD camera through a filter which isolated methane at 0.89 microns. The observations were all obtained with some cloud cover and at high airmass (thus variable seeing). The impact took place on the lower left edge of the planet.

The movie starts with the CCD images. In these images, there is no flash seen from the impact. Two scars are clearly visible from earlier impacts. A third scar is faintly seen on the limb which is about to be impacted.

The second part of the movie is the IR images. In these images there are actually two flashes seen from the R impact. The first is very small. This precursor flash has been seen by others. The second is quite substantial. The apparent saturation of the impact site is actually from the scaling of the images so that some of the planet detail can be seen. The image jitter is incomplete image registration. The little dots which move about on the images are bad pixels which have not been removed.