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Are there sketches of the ShoeMaker-Levy 9 impact?

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#1 RobVG

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 08:15 PM


I tried searching and didn't find any?

#2 Jeremy Perez

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 09:00 PM

Hi Rob, here are a few:
http://adsabs.harvar...JRASC..92..238C
http://radio.weblogs...itsJupiter.html
http://skytour.homes...s/jup947271.JPG
http://www.rangeweb....r/jupcomet.html

#3 RobVG

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 09:09 PM

Thanks Jeremy

I thought maybe some CN'rs might have sketched it but I forgot how long ago it was...

Clear Skies

#4 CarlosEH

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Posted 29 July 2009 - 02:37 AM

Rob,

The period of July 16 to July 22, 1994 was one of the most exciting times in my life. Mankind was able to witness an event (on the planet Jupiter) that we have only had remnant scars (e.g. craters on the Moon and other planets) to study from. I refer to the impacts of the remnants of Shoemaker-Levy 9 over the southern hemisphere of Jupiter over the period of time mentioned above.

My friends and I were very excited to hear about the predicted impact of a comet torn apart by a close passage to Jupiter (theorized to have passed 13,300 miles (21, 400 km) above the cloud tops of Jupiter on July 7, 1992). The now famous team of Eugene M. Shoemaker (04/28/1928-07/18/1997; http://en.wikipedia....Merle_Shoemaker ), Carolyn S. Shoemaker (the most prolific comet discoverer in history with 32 comets to her credit and over 800 asteroids), and David H. Levy (Discoverer of 22 comets, a prolific author (35 books and writer for Sky and Telescope and PARADE magazine), a champion for the science education of children, and a good friend: http://www.jarnac.org/ ). The team, using the Palomar 18-inch (0.46-cm) Schmidt telescope ( http://www.jarnac.or...ar Picture1.jpg ) discovered a "squashed comet" (as described by Carolyn Shoemaker reviewing the Schmidt photographic plate) on March 24, 1993 and announced on March 25, 1993 (IAU Circular 5725; C/1993e). It was announced on May 22, 1993 (IAU Circular 5800) that the fragmented (estimated 21 fragments) comet would crash into the planet Jupiter beginning on July 16, 1994. The S-L 9 comet fragments were designated with letters A through W (excluding I and O which may be confused with the numbers 0 and 1) with fragment A the closest to Jupiter and W the furthest (Unfortunately the fragments were numbered opposite the letters (Fragment A numbered 21, etc.). The comet would reach it’s furthest distance from Jupiter (apojove) on July 16, 1993 (30 million miles (48 million km) then head back towards it’s destiny (demise) with the king of the planets.

An image of Shoemaker-Levy 9 obtained by the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) between January 24-27, 1994 showing the 21 fragments and their tails.

Carlos

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#5 CarlosEH

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Posted 29 July 2009 - 02:39 AM

Astronomers around the world, both amateur and professional, prepared for the onslaught of cometary fragments to strike the atmosphere of Jupiter in the Summer of 1994. Professional astronomers set up a world-wide network for observatories around the world to report their discoveries. (Comet-Impact Network Experiment (CINE)). My friends (Jeffrey D. Beish (renowned Mars observer/astronomer), Donald C. Parker (famous for his outstanding images of the planets over the years), and Tippy D’Auria (founder of the Winter Star Party, sponsored by the Southern Cross Astronomical Society (SCAS)) and I prepared to record the event(s) both visually and digitally (CCD imaging was not at the current state we enjoy). It must be understood that at the time we were all told by professionals that amateurs would most likely not observe anything over the planet Jupiter (a small white oval if anything at all according to most experts), but instead would require large aperture professional instruments (imaging at infrared wavelengths (~2.2 microns) instead of visible light). We were preparing anyway accounting for the unexpected. The day of July 16, 1994 started out hot and muggy, or a typical South Florida Summer day. Fragment A (21) was predicted to impact the nightside (farside) of Jupiter at 19:55 U.T. (~4 PM EDT) and therefore Jeff and I set up his excellent 16-inch (0.41-m) F/6.9 Newtonian reflector with a blue sky overhead and Jupiter not visible (at least to the naked eye due to the scattering of light, but in reality the bright stars and planets are visible in the daytime sky if one knows where to look). Around the impact time (~4 PM EDT) Jeff set up his reflector and pointed it at Jupiter. The planet looked like a boiling egg (atmospheric turbulence) and little detail was visible. Jeff and I took turns observing Jupiter through the eyepiece without any abnormal feature noted. Jeff believed that he detected a faint smudge at ~5:30 PM (EDT) over the following half of the southern hemisphere of the planet, but was uncertain at the time. As time progressed the seeing began to settle and by ~7 PM (EDT) Jeff was certain that the large black smudge over the southern hemisphere of Jupiter was the remnant of fragment A (21). Jeff screamed out “Jumping Jupiter! I see it. I see it.” Jeff’s daughter (and later his wife June) was with him at the time and confirmed his discovery. I came out of the house (I was cooling off from the heat) and nearly fell off the scaffolding (platform) that Jeff employed to observe through the long-focus reflector after looking at the Fragment A (21) impact site. We had never seen anything like this feature over the face of Jupiter! (lots of years observing between the two of us. Jeff quickly contacted Brian Marsden (then Director of the Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams (CBAT)) who informed Jeff that he was the first person to officially report the impact site (the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) had imaged the plume (20:13 U.T.) but did not send it’s image to the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) until later that evening (rumor has it that this was due to the Space Shuttle sending the STScI data on a goldfish experiment in space and if so we were grateful to goldfish forever!)). A team of astronomers at the Calar Alto Observatory in Spain (138-inch (3.5-meter) reflector) had detected the plume as well (20:18 U.T.). Don Parker had imaged the Fragment A (21) impact site as well from his Coral Gables home. It was very exciting to think that we had been among the first to see this rare event of nature!

An image of Jeff Beish (right) and Tippy D’Auria (left) standing next to Jeff’s 16-inch F/6.9 Newtonian reflector.

Carlos

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#6 CarlosEH

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Posted 29 July 2009 - 02:41 AM

The observation on top was produced by Jeff Beish on July 16, 1994 (23:35 U.T.; L2 132.6*, L3 202.7*) using his 16-inch (41-cm) F/6.9 Newtonian reflector (225x and 382x; Wratten filters 25, 30, 47, 57, 64, and 80A). This represents the discovery observation (visually of the impact scar) by Jeff. The image on the bottom was produced by myself on July 16, 1994 at 23:40 U.T. (L1 060.5*, L2 135.2*, L3 205.7*) using Jeff’s 16-inch (41-cm) F/6.9 Newtonian (382x) showing the Fragment A (21) impact scar over the South South Temperate Belt (SSTB). The impact debris is visibly extending towards the south-preceding limb.

Carlos

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#7 CarlosEH

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Posted 29 July 2009 - 02:42 AM


Over the next seven days (July 16-22, 1994) we continued to observe as many impacts (scars) as possible using Jeff’s 16-inch Newtonian. One night the seeing was perfect (10/10) and we were able to observe Jupiter at 1,000x and even noted detail over Ganymede! I feel very fortunate to have witnessed this event with friends. I made many observations and transit timings of the impact scars over Jupiter’s southern hemisphere over the next two months (until September 18, 1994). It was very interesting watch the evolution of the impact scars as they merged with each other until finally forming a dusky band over the impact zone. It was a fantastic experience for anyone to witness such an event.

The observations below were all made by myself between the period of July 19, 1994 and August 31, 1994. The image on top was made on July 19, 1994 (01:25 U.T.; L2 139.4* and L3 210.0*) using a 16-inch (41-cm) F/6.9 Newtonian reflector (360x). The impact scars visible at this time were (preceding to following) E (17), A (21), C (19), and K (12). The middle observation was made on July 31, 1994 (00:20 U.T.; L2 101.6*, L3 175.4*) using a 16-inch (41-cm) F/6.9 Newtonian reflector (382x). The impact scars visible are (preceding to following) H (14), E (17), A (21), and C (19). Note how Fragment E (17) has become elongated (east-west) compared to the earlier observation and A (21) has nearly disappeared. Fragment C (19) has faded as well. The bottom observation was made on August 31, 1994 (00:45 U.T.: L2 089.1*, L3 171.4*) using an 8-inch (20-cm) F/7.5 Newtonian reflector (213x and 285x). The diffuse fragment preceding the central meridian (CM) is E (17) and K (12) is visible towards the following limb.

Carlos

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#8 Tommy5

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Posted 29 July 2009 - 11:31 AM

Wow great sketches and narrative, those sure were exciting times, i saw the impacts with my 80mm F/15 Sears refractor in 94' but didn't do any sketches back then, thanks for sharing, it reminds us all why we are in this hobby.

#9 mike bacanin

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Posted 29 July 2009 - 01:09 PM

Rob, thanks for starting this great post.
Carlos, a really superb report of that most exciting event.
my wife and i viewed the major impact zones through an 18 inch reflector at the local newchapel observatory here in Stoke on trent UK, and it was nice in my C8 too.
in fact there was a long queue of interested members of the public waiting to view through the 18 inch.

Mike

#10 CarlosEH

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Posted 31 July 2009 - 05:44 PM

Mike and Tommy,

Thank you for the compliments on my Shoemaker-Levy 9 observations and narrative. It was a very exciting time for all astronomers and the world as we witnessed a celestial event that had not been seen before. I am glad that you both were able to view that special event.

Carlos

#11 cildarith

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Posted 31 July 2009 - 06:05 PM

Carlos, thank you for your reminiscence of the Shoemaker-Levy 9 impact. :bow:

#12 Special Ed

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Posted 01 August 2009 - 08:04 AM

Carlos,

Thank you very much for sharing your mini-memoir and sketches. At the time, I only saw media accounts of the SL-9 event. Reading your narrative of the initial observations is the kind of first-person history that I like the best. :cool:

#13 CarlosEH

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 09:12 AM

Eric and Michael,

Thank you for your compliments on my S-L 9 narrative and images. It was a very exciting time for people around the world. The current impact scar (Wesley Comet Impact Scar (WCIS)) brings back memories of that special event in 1994. The best of luck in your own observations of the impact site.

Carlos

#14 phxbird

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 05:15 PM

Very interesting thread. The recent imapct brought back memories for me as well. In the months before the crash in 94 I had met and talked to Rita Beebe and David Levy about what they thought an amateur could see. I was told that I was one of the first amateurs in america to send in a description of the first black spot on Jupiter. That was done with a Celestron 4.5" reflector! It was a very exciting time!

#15 frank5817

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 08:55 PM

Carlos,

I knew you were sketching back 15 years ago and beyond. I did a little doodling in my observing log then but primarily jotted down narratives of my impressions during observations. I checked and although I observed the impact scars then and marked them on an unrolled ribbon map of Jupiter. I missed a great opportunity to make some sketches.
I read with joy what you wrote above and I have recalled the excitment of those days until the scars faded away. In my notes from that time I added an addendum in September 94 that reads: ".. McMasters Backyard Astronomy column (S&T Oct 94) has 3 sketches of Shoemaker/Levy, one in color by J. Bergeron p.25, 2 by C Hernandez p. 26...". If you have this issue of S&T you can go there and see more of Carlos's sketches.
Wonderful stuff Carlos. :waytogo: :cool:

and Rob, some libraries keep back issues of S&T for a long time.

Frank :)

#16 phxbird

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 10:39 PM

Somewhere in a box I have a very poor sketch of the 94 comet crash! Unfortunately it will take me some time to find it. We moved to a house we have purchased and it is much smaller than the rental we were in. So we have a garage full of telescopes and boxes packed to the ceiling!

#17 CarlosEH

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Posted 10 August 2009 - 06:34 AM

Frank and Paul,

The Shoemaker-Levy 9 impact period (July 16-22, 1994) was a very exciting one for the entire world. Mankind had never witnessed such an event in the heavens (only the remnants (e.g. craters) of impacts). Professional planetary astronomers were informing the public that amateur instruments would not likely detect the impacts. They thought that we may detect a small white feature over the impact site. We were all proven wrong when the impact scars were visible in finder telescopes! I am glad that you both were able to share in the excitement of the event.

Carlos






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