Impacts on Jupiter Galore

Imke de Pater
UC Berkeley, Astronomy Department


In July 1994 comet D/Shoemaker-Levy 9 (SL9) crashed into Jupiter.  At the time, this was characterized as a rare event, thought to happen perhaps once every few hundred years or so.  Hence it was totally unexpected that literally 15 years after SL9, on 19 July 2009, a
second large impact took place on Jupiter, as deduced from the sudden appearance of a brown spot near the south pole in images taken by amateur astronomer A. Wesley.  In 2010, in June and again in August, amateur astronomers observed large meteors on Jupiter, light flashes lasting for 2 seconds. In all three cases follow-up observations were obtained with HST and large groundbased telescopes.  While obvious atmospheric perturbations (i.e., high altitude particulate material, ammonia, temperature perturbations) were seen after the 2009 impact, none were seen for the 2010 events.  I will discuss all impact circumstances, and discuss the similarities and differences between SL9, the 2009 and 2010 impacts.