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APO Image Attempt of Fragment B Impact


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July 17, 1994

We observed Jupiter from 20:35 to 22:02 MDT on July 16 using the near-infrared imaging camera on the Apache Point Observatory 3.5 meter telescope in Sunspot, NM. We looked in two narrow band filters centered at 2.22 and 2.36 microns, farther in the infrared than the human eye can see, for high clouds or glowing gas caused by the impact of the second fragment, B, of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9. We currently see no evidence of any consequence of the B impact. The accompanying pictures show a before-and-after set of Jupiter images taken at 2.36 microns. The image on the left was taken at the time fragment B was predicted to hit Jupiter. The image on the right was taken 30 minutes later. No evidence of the B impacts is seen in these images. This raises very interesting questions concerning the mass distribution of the individual fragments of the comet and the make-up of comets in general.

Nancy Chanover
Mark Marley
New Mexico State University
Las Cruces, NM

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