Outburst of Jupiter's synchrotron radiation after the impact of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9

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Science  30 Jun 1995:
Vol. 268, Issue 5219, pp. 1879-1883
DOI: 10.1126/science.11536723


Jupiter's nonthermal microwave emission, as measured by a global network of 11 radio telescopes, increased dramatically during the Shoemaker-Levy 9 impacts. The increase was wavelength-dependent, varying from approximately 10 percent at 70 to 90 centimeters to approximately 45 percent at 6 and 36 centimeters. The radio spectrum hardened (flattened toward shorter wavelengths) considerably during the week of impacts and continued to harden afterward. After the week of cometary impacts, the flux density began to subside at all wavelengths and was still declining 3 months later. Very Large Array and Australia Telescope images of the brightness distribution showed the enhancement to be localized in longitude and concentrated near the magnetic equator. The evidence therefore suggests that the increase in flux density was caused by a change in the resident particle population, for example, through an energization or spatial redistribution of the emitting particles.