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Did anyone see Shoemaker-Levy 9 hit Jupiter?

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#26 azure1961p

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 11:29 PM

David,

Thanks for finding and posting - I had no idea the darkness from the impacts lasted as long as it had! Back then my backyard was horrible for ecliptic views and sessions were a lot fewer and farther between and only very high in that path (like Gemini) offered partial if brief views from that locale .

Thanks for the posting - very well recorded!

Pete

#27 ADW

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 12:05 PM

The Meade 826 was the workhorse of the day, and a fabulous telescope. I still have mine, and it's still in pretty new condition. I believe it's the best of all my telescopes.


Yes, my Meade 826 is still in use and is a better quality scope than my 16-inch Meade.

To answer the original question: Yes, I saw one of the impact fireballs rise up from the impact site which was just behind the limb.

Like the rest of you, I had been marveling at the impact scars for several days, eventually seeing prominent black oval G, brown H, brown K, black L, black E, and Q1.

I also knew that fortuitously-placed Australian observers had seen the fireball from huge fragment G.

North Americans were poorly placed, but those of us in the west had a chance at seeing the fireball from mid-sized fragment R on the evening of July 20, 1994. At longitude 123W I was better-placed than most. But because of my latitude of 54N Jupiter was poorly-placed, only at an altitude of 15 degrees in the southwest at sunset.

I saw Jupiter easily with the unaided eye at 2127 PDT, two minutes before sunset. Sky transparency was excellent immediately behind a cold front, but the seeing was very poor for the same reason.

I used the 8-inch on its Dob mount at 116x with a light blue filter. The seeing was atrocious at Jupiter's low altitude, sometimes with "flames" running around the edge of the disk. I thought that the fireball would have to be long-lived to positively identify it. The brown spot from the impact of fragment K was obvious, and I got one glimpse of Europa's shadow.

From my logbook: "Forecast impact times for fragment R were 2241 PDT (July S&T), 2259 (Aug S&T), 2226 (Skyline three days ago), 2236 (Skyline two days ago), and finally 2217 (Skyline today). Started observing carefully at 2207; got clouded out at 2216 when an altocumulus cloud grew in place to four times the area, decided against moving as it was a high and distant cloud; and remained clouded out until 2229; thought that I might have seen a flare of light at the correct spot, the southeastern limb, at 2231, but the seeing was so bad and the flare so brief (about 2 seconds) that I would have to learn that the impact was actually at 2231 to think that I might have seen it; and watched from then until 2255, battling hordes of mosquitoes."

Months later I read in Sky&Telescope that the impact of Fragment R had been seen from Hawaii (under far better observing conditions) at the same time that I saw it (within the accuracy of my timing because I did not look at my watch immediately).

It was a strange observation, because it wasn't until months later that I actually knew that I had really seen the impact fireball!

Surely many of you also the 2009 impact scar discovered by Australian Anthony Wesley on July 19, 2009. I was in China for the total eclipse at that time, but the impact scar was still visible after I returned, on August 9th, as an elongated (E-W) darker smudge in the SPR, again with my venerable 8-inch.

Best,

Alan Whitman
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#28 Chuck Hards

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 03:25 PM

I videotaped the impact scars on several nights with an old, huge VHS video camera attached to a 10" Dob, guiding by hand. The impacts are very obvious in the video. I've grabbed some frames but the raster lines make the single frames much less sharp than the video. One of these days I'll convert it to a digital file.

#29 azure1961p

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 11:20 PM

Alan how'd the fireball look? Did it seem starlike in brightness or the intensity of jupiter itself. That's one for the books. I enjoyed the impact scars but to have seen the fireball - wow. How long did the one you see last?

Pete

#30 ADW

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 02:37 AM

Alan how'd the fireball look? Did it seem starlike in brightness or the intensity of jupiter itself. That's one for the books. I enjoyed the impact scars but to have seen the fireball - wow. How long did the one you see last?

Pete


Hi Pete,

The fireball from Fragment R only lasted about two seconds in visible light. The professionals saw a longer event in infrared light (as I recall -- it would take me a long time to find the relevant issue of S&T to look at the record.)

As I said, the seeing was very poor. The fireball from mid-sized Fragment R was probably comparable to the brightness of Europa when it is right on Jupiter's limb. But I <think> that it was a warmer colour than Europa.

When I went to Australia seven years later I got the impression from talking to amateurs there that the fireball from big Fragment G that they saw rise up above the limb (from the impact site behind the limb) was much brighter and more impressive than the one that I saw.

Best,

Alan

#31 John Brooks

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 08:44 PM

I watched the fragments impact "live" via Dance of the Planets software on my old 486DX PC.
When it got dark I was out with my 10" SCT looking at the scars.
Fascinating.

John
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#32 Bakes

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 10:01 PM

I too had a Celestron C102 that easily displayed the impact scars on Jupiter for a few weeks. The actual impacts occurred on the far side of Jupiter. So we did not get to witness the actual collisions.

#33 stevecoe

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 11:11 PM

Howdy all;

Yet another viewer of the comet crash with a Meade 826 from a friend's backyard. Lots of see, it was amazing and still to this day provided the most obvious marking on any planet at any time.

Drawing below at 200X with G spot centered. There is a chapter in my book "Touching the Universe" about the entire viewing experience. It is about my favorite 20 nights with a telescope and this was certainly one of those.

Clear skies;
Steve Coe

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#34 azure1961p

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Posted 31 January 2014 - 08:13 AM

Steve, Ive got to check out your books. Sounds impressive!


Pete
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#35 paul m schofield

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Posted 31 January 2014 - 12:08 PM

I was living in South Florida at the time and our club, the South Florida Amateur Astronomers Association, held multiple public events at Fox Observatory in Markham Park on the western edge of Fort Lauderdale, located near the start of the Everglades. We couldn't see the actual impact because of the turn of the planet but we saw the incoming comet on previous nights like a string of pearls as it closed in on Jupiter. The night after the impact we had 50 to a 100 telescopes set up from small refractors to a 20" Dob. Over 1200 people from the city came out that night. The road into the park was clogged with cars and people were parking on the edge of the highway. I had my 6" Newtonian on a Starfinder mount tracking the planet. The night was clear, the seeing was excellent, and my scope was giving refractor-like images. The bigger Dobs and SCT's were showing even more. Every one of us had 20 to 30 people lined up to view this awesome event. It was an incredible happening and I'll never forget the oohs and aahs of the visiting public, most of whom had never looked through a telescope before. It was a great time and I was privileged to be there.

#36 SteveInNZ

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Posted 31 January 2014 - 02:53 PM

That was an "I was there" event for me too.
I didn't see any impact flashes but I can still see the view as the scar of the first impact rotated around the limb like it was yesterday. That was a "Holy <bleep> !!" moment.
Very homemade 10" Newt and push driven eq mount.

#37 siriusandthepup

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Posted 01 February 2014 - 05:44 PM

I was one of the lucky ones.

I viewed Jupiter in clear and fairly steady skies every night that week. Using a Jaegers 4" f/15 achro lens in a definitely homemade plywood Dob mount, powers of 165 and 200x were utilized. 165x was the preferred mag. Jupiter was well placed in the western skies at that time - not too low.

The show was stunning. Every night the preceding nights' spots morphed their shapes as the explosion damage spread. New spots appeared as the comet remnants successively impacted Jupiter's cloud tops that week. The spots were large in general - much bigger than transit shadows.

What image do I remember most? That is an easy answer: One night a fresh impactor (a large one) left a spot ringed 180 degrees by an expanding shock wave. That wave was on the order of 3+ earth diameters across - impressive!!

#38 Tommy5

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Posted 01 February 2014 - 11:42 PM

I also saw the impact dark areas with my 80mm F-15 Sears refractor at 133x, the night was warm , muggy and full of aggressive mosquitos , the areas were the darkest spots on the planet very easy to see.

#39 DocFinance

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 08:18 PM

I didn't see the Hammer fall, any of them, but I had my orange C5 on an ultra-heavy Manfrotto photo tripod with a slow-mo control block, and I went out to see the scars for several days. It was quite the topic of conversation around the office, and I was the only one anyone knew with a telescope. There were great outside parties at the local kids' museum and other public parks.
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#40 Chuck Hards

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Posted 09 February 2014 - 01:40 AM

My daughter was still a toddler then, and my (ex) wife was working nights. I put the kid to bed and watched SL-9 impact scars on Jupiter for a few weeks in the backyard, with the crib monitor running at my side!

#41 Bomber Bob

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Posted 09 February 2014 - 09:00 AM

I observed & videotaped it through my D&G 5" refractor. My daughter was 5 at the time, and she thought the impacts looked like bruises.

#42 Rick Woods

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Posted 09 February 2014 - 07:54 PM

Your daughter is very perceptive.

#43 Bomber Bob

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Posted 09 February 2014 - 10:14 PM

"Your daughter is very perceptive."

Thank you. I could never get her hooked on this hobby, though...

#44 cwilson

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Posted 21 March 2014 - 11:31 PM

Yes there were some quite visible smudges. I observed it through my Meade 826 reflector. One of the high points of my time in this hobby for sure.


Fascinating! I also observed it with my 826! I distinctly remember the black splotches rotating into view.

I am so lucky that it hit in July of that year as in August I went away to be a freshman at college and would have been without my scope!


Interesting! I also observed it with a Meade 826C! Everyone must have had one!

#45 azure1961p

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Posted 22 March 2014 - 08:56 AM

A lot of people happily have or have had the 826C and I darned near bought myself one too . It sounds like a successful classic design on top of its game. Kinda sad they stopped making em.

Pete

#46 Paul Morow

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Posted 23 March 2014 - 12:29 PM

I received a new AstroPhysics 155 f/9 EDT refractor in April of 1994, just three months before the Comet SL9 impacts on Jupiter. I had the refractor setup to observe Jupiter every opportunity I got weather permitting that summer. Lots of good memories sharing views with friends, family and other likeminded amateur astronomers at public events. I was a pretty popular guy that summer with a new APO.

I remember the build up to the event was fun trying to predict if there was going to be anything visible from Earth. I was one who did not believe there was going to be anything to see from amateur sized telescopes, but I was sure wrong. If someone would throw a brick into Lake Michigan could a person on the opposite shore see the splash with a telescope, I thought not. The pure physics of the event in energy released was indeed incredible, and yes it did leave a mark, actually several of them.

I made several sketches’ of the SL9 event that summer, I think most did or tried, but they are pretty poor overall compared to the images burned into my brain. The following sketch I performed on July 17, 1994 with a 6 mm Clave Plossl (230x). My notes state: First impact spot sighted. Impact area appears dark gray with a lighter gray outside area observed.

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#47 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 23 March 2014 - 01:50 PM

Unfortunately, the weather after the cometary impacts was pretty dismal in my neck of the woods but I was able to observe and photograph some of the impact scars.

This shot of two of the impact sites (close to the leading and trailing limbs at the top of the image) resulting from Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9's collision with Jupiter was taken in July of 1994 from the ASH Naylor Observatory with a 17" f/15 classical Cassegrain and a Pentax K1000 SLR camera using eyepiece projection and was processed to monochrome with Photoshop.

Dave Mitsky

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#48 Rick Woods

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Posted 23 March 2014 - 02:39 PM

Whoo! That brings it back!

#49 Paul Morow

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Posted 23 March 2014 - 05:41 PM

This G spot photo was taken using eyepiece projection through a 6 mm Clave Plossl with a Canon AE-1 camera and Kodak Ektachrome Elite 400 film with my AP155EDT. The amount of detail visible in the eyepiece that night was stunning, but to capture those tiny details on film was not feasible back in the day.

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#50 StarStuff1

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 05:17 PM

My club at home in East Tennessee had a public outreach session planned. But I had to go to USAR Annual Training at the University of Southern Mississippi. Like others have said it did not seem feasible for this event to be witnessed in smaller scopes. Still, I took my C80/f and a lightweight mount.

It was the night of the unit party and nearly everyone had gathered around the pool. Then a couple of guys who were inside watching TV came out and described what was happening on Jupiter. I went inside and watched for a few minutes before sneaking out to set up the refractor in a nearby area shaded from the lights. I was amazed to see the big "bruises". I got a couple of buds to take a look and soon there was a line behind my scope.

Of course after returning home I (and several club members) watched the planet for many days with larger scopes until the marks faded away.

One word description: "WOW"






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