Friday, July 24, 2009

Hubble Telescope Records Jupiter Damage

The Hubble Space Telescope, fresh from a major overhaul in May, recorded a very colorful deep red image of the July 19 asteroid impact on our solar system's largest planet, Jupiter.

The Hubble image was taken in high resolution on Thursday (July 23rd) with its Wide Field Camera 3, which was brought up and installed during the May space shuttle Atlantis flight.

Jupiter, now some 360 million miles from earth when the image was taken, was discovered by a lone Australian amateur astronomer Anthony Wesley on July 20th, who took the first images.

According to NASA early this morning, the size of the impacting object was no smaller than 300 yards across when it slammed into the atmosphere of Jupiter's southern hemisphere.

"This is just one example of what Hubble's new, state-of-the-art camera can do, thanks to the STS-125 astronauts and the entire Hubble team," stated Ed Weiler, associate administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington on Thursday. Weiler is known around NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory as the father of Hubble, and he also added, "the best is yet to come."

The impact last week raises fears by most of just how likely an errant asteroid or comet could find its way toward earth.

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