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Aftermath of a comet's impact with Jupiter.


Astronomers witnessed a rare event in 1994 when they watched the shattered comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 smash into Jupiter piece by piece. (An image of the comet fragments, shown in the inset above, was taken as they approached the planet.) This was the first time that scientists knew in advance where to view the collision of two bodies in space. The comet pieces left a line of dark smudges (visible in the photo) after hitting Jupiter's upper atmosphere.

Some of the impact sites.