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New Hubble Images of Comet Shoemaker-Levy Available


Donald Savage
Headquarters, Washington, D.C.
July 7, 1994
(Phone: 202/358-1547)


Three recent images of Comet P/Shoemaker-Levy 9 and Jupiter taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope are available to news media representatives.

The first image is a "true color" picture of the planet Jupiter in detail surpassed only by images from spacecraft which traveled to the planet. The photo numbers are:

color:  94-HC-171       B&W:  94-H-185

The second image is the latest of Comet P/Shoemaker-Levy 9, taken on May 17, 1994, showing the train of 21 fragments stretched across 710 thousand miles of space. TThe photo numbers are:

color:  94-HC-172       B&W:  94-H-186

The third image is a photo illustration assembled from separate images of Jupiter and Comet P/Shoemaker-Levy 9, showing the planet and comet in close proximity as it should appear shortly before the comet fragments begin impacting the giant planet July 16. One by one, the comet fragments will impact Jupiter during the week of July 16-22. The photo numbers are:

color:  94-HC-170       B&W:  94-H-184

The first fragment, one of the smallest of the comet's fragments, will impact Jupiter just before 4 p.m. EDT, July 16, on the side of Jupiter facing away from Earth. Shortly afterwards, the point of impact will rotate into view as seen from Earth.

Because of its small size, most scientists do not expect to witness significant visible effects from the impact of the first fragment, nor to detect significant aftereffects in the planet's atmosphere. However, there is a greater possibility of detectable effects resulting from the impacts of larger fragments later during the week. Some of the effects scientists will be looking for in the Jovian atmosphere are small changes in cloud structure as well as small changes in the temperature structure, which can be measured using infrared telescopes.

Media representatives can obtain the images by calling the NASA Headquarters Broadcast and Imaging Branch at 202/358- 1900. Also, an updated listing of the comet fragment impact times and viewing locations is available by contacting the Newsroom at 202/358-1600.

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