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Hubble Space Telescope Image of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9


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This Hubble Space Telescope image. courtesy of H. Weaver, shows the 'string of pearls' comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 in March, 1994, 4 months before its collision with the planet Jupiter. This comet was split by Jovian tides in July 1992, and is the first such occurrence observed by mankind. Naturally, more examples of tidally split comets would be of great help in understanding how comets break up and what their properties are. Fortunately, examples of similarly split comets are found in the cratering record of the large Jovian satellites Ganymede and Callisto.

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