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McDonald Image of Fragment R Impact


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We show a mosaic of four images of the impact of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 fragment R into Jupiter. The upper images were taken with the ROKCAM infrared camera on the McDonald Observatory 2.7m telescope in a filter which isolates absorption by molecular hydrogen at 2.12 microns. The lower images were taken at the same times as the upper images, but are CCD frames taken with the 0.8m telescope in a filter which isolates absorption by methane gas at 0.893 microns. The left two images were taken on 1994 July 21 05:41 UT, and the two right images were taken at 05:43UT. The upper right infrared image shows the brightening due to the impact of fragment R. This flash saturated the detector, and the actual increase in brightness is more than can be shown in this image. Our data show that the flash increased by a factor of 2 in consecutive images taken 18 seconds apart. This brightening is NOT seen in the CCD image in the lower right. This is because the fireball was not hot enough to produce significant flux at the shorter wavelength of the CCD image.

ROKCAM images were taken by Dr. Yongha Kim (Univ. Maryland), Dr Beth Clark and Dr. William Cochran (Univ. Texas). CCD images were taken by Dr. Wayne Pryor (Univ. Colorado), Dr. Chan Na (Southwest Research Institute) and Dr. Anita Cochran (Univ. Texas).

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