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Kitt Image of Comet Shoemaker-Levy


NOTE: Click on the image to view it at its highest resolution.

The image of the comet should be viewed with the shorter nuclear train of July 21 on the left and the nuclear trains slanting from about 7 o'clock to 1 o'clock. That is the proper orientation for the following caption text.

Periodic comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 imaged with the Spacewatch Telescope. This composite image shows the comet as it appeared on 1993 July 21 (on the left) and 1993 December 9 (on the right). Both images were obtained under similar conditions by J.V. Scotti using the 0.91-meter (36 inch) Spacewatch Telescope on Kitt Peak in Arizona. The field of view in both images is 1.8 by 3.6 arcminutes. North is at left and East at top. The exposures were 300 seconds in both cases. Expanstion of the train of nuclei can be clearly seen. The individual nuclei are of similar relative brightnesses in July and December. The tails are visible in both images, however, the dust trails extending off the ends of the nuclear train are not visible in the December image, but are clearly seen in the July image. The dust trails have presumably faded substantially since July and may be visible as the comet moves through opposition. The fading may be due to the dust spreading out as the nuclear train has spread out. The object left of the train of nuclei on December 9 is an over-exposed field star.

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