March 31, 2011
This artist's concept shows comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 heading into Jupiter in July 1994, while its dust cloud creates a rippling wake in Jupiter's ring.
The comet, as imaged by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, appears as a string of reddish fragments falling into Jupiter from the south. A later Hubble image shows the dark blotches where pieces of the comet had already collided with the planet.
The faint ring, based on images obtained by NASA's Galileo mission, is normally very faint, but has been enhanced for this illustration. The streaks show the tracks of the comet's dust cloud. Impacts from these dust particles tilted the ring off its axis.
Credit: Copyright M. Showalter