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McDonald Observatory



McDonald Observatory

The cometary fragment impacts likely will release a large amount of energy into the Jovian atmosphere. During the time of impact, University of Texas scientists at the McDonald Observatory in Fort Davis, Texas, will investigate the fireball of heated gas rising from the entry site; the cooling and condensation in the upper atmosphere of the warm atmospheric and cometary material brought up from the deep atmosphere by the fireball; the dynamics of the atmospheric reaction to the impact event; the influence of the impact on the Jovian magnetosphere and auroral emissions; and possible newly formed chemical species in the stratosphere. In addition, at their McDonald Observatory facility, Boston University scientists will conduct an intense, three-week imaging campaign before, during and after the encounter of the state of Jupiter's sodium magneto-nebula, the large sodium gas cloud that surrounds the planet. Comet dust particles that are expected to align with Jupiter's magnetic field lines will be photographed.

Public Affairs contact: Robert Tindol, University of Texas, (512) 471-3151.


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