Observation of Shoemaker-Levy Impacts by the Galileo Photopolarimeter Radiometer

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  30 Jun 1995:
Vol. 268, Issue 5219, pp. 1875-1879
DOI: 10.1126/science.268.5219.1875


The Galileo Photopolarimeter Radiometer experiment made direct photometric observations at 678 and 945 nanometers of several comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 fragments impacting with Jupiter. Initial flashes occurred at (fragment G) 18 July 1994 07:33:32, (H) 18 July 19:31:58, (L) 19 July 22:16:48, and (Q1) 20 July 20:13:52 [equivalent universal time coordinated (UTC) observed at Earth], with relative peak 945-nanometer brightnesses of 0.87, 0.67, 1.00, and 0.42, respectively. The light curves show a 2-second rise to maximum, a 10-second plateau, and an accelerating falloff. The Q1 event, observed at both wavelengths, yielded a color temperature of more than 10,000 kelvin at its peak.