Skip Navigation: Avoid going through Home page links and jump straight to content

Jupiter will be Bombarded by Debris until September


Between July 22 and at least the last week of September Jupiter will be bombarded by the debris that populated the comet's west-southwestern trail. Between July 27 and Sept. 22 the impact sites will be located on the planet's near side as viewed from the earth. The collisions will occur at a decreasing pace both in terms of the event rate and the characteristic size of the individual particulates. We estimate that this debris consists of centimeter- to subkilometer-sized fragments, so that explosive phenomena triggered by the impact events will be much less powerful than those associated with impacts of the major fragments. Yet, searches for both possible individual events and any collective effects are encouraged. Our model predicts that the jovicentric latitude of the impacts will vary from -44 deg in late July to +42 deg in late September. The earth-Jupiter-impact site angle will reach its minimum of 69 deg on Sept. 3, at which time the impact geometry will be the most favorable for earth-based observers. All impacts will be near Jupiter's morning (eastern) limb. After Sept. 22 the impact sites move back to the far side, but by that time the impact rate will have diminished considerably and Jupiter will be approaching conjunction with the sun.

Z. Sekanina, P. W. Chodas and D. K. Yeomans
Jet Propulsion Laboratory

sl9_icon.gifComet Shoemaker-Levy Home Page