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Calar Alto Pre-Impact Image of Comet Shoemaker-Levy


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Band CCD image showing the fragments of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 approaching Jupiter. This 15 minute exposure was taken by Kurt Birkle and Ulrich Thiele on 5 May 1994 at the 3.5 meter telescope on Calar Alto. It shows approximately half of the nuclei joined by a beautiful veil of emission. From left to right, the frame spans all the fragments from F to W. The background stars appear streaked since the telescope tracked the cometary nuclei. Also present are several galaxies and a few planetesimals (streaked in a different direction).

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