View Full Version : Comet Shoemaker Levy 9
2004-Feb-21, 06:38 AM
Hi again folks
I remember back in 1994, i did an assignment on the Comet Shoemaker Levy 9 impact on Jupiter (this was in the old days when I was a high school student).
I was wondering have there been any follow up studies on the effects on Jupiter's cloud systems?
2004-Feb-21, 06:01 PM
The Galileo probe did some studies on Jupiters clouds a few years ago. A short summary can be found here:
Jupiter's Clouds (http://spaceprojects.arc.nasa.gov/Space_Projects/galileo_probe/htmls/Clouds_results.html)
2004-Feb-21, 07:04 PM
Just a quick comment--the clouds of Jupitor are similar to clouds on Earth--that is they are dynamic and constantly changing. Although the inital impact sites were spectacular, the material of the comet and the material dredged up by the impact would have assimilated back into the clouds within a short time.
2004-Feb-21, 08:48 PM
the clouds of Jupitor are similar to clouds on Earth--that is they are dynamic and constantly changing
I think not. The clouds are indeed changing but some features last for ages (Red Spot?). So whatever drives the Jovian atmosphere, it will not be the same as on Earth. I think Damien's question is important, because some of the immediate effects seen after the impacts were spectacularly unexpected. Maybe the follow-up could show us how Jupiter's weather system works and what exactly happened when the pieces of the comet struck.
2004-Feb-21, 09:54 PM
I think not. The clouds are indeed changing but some features last for ages (Red Spot?). So whatever drives the Jovian atmosphere, it will not be the same as on Earth.
The Great Red Spot is a hurricane gone crazy. Because the atmosphere on Jupitor is so deep, it does not dissipate as quickly as hurricanes on Earth. The process that forms it, however, is the same process as forms hurricanes on Earth.
The clouds on Jupitor form and dissipate the same way as clouds on Earth do. There are always clouds, but convection zones in the atmosphere of Jupitor are areas where material cools and sinks and other areas where material is heated and rises. That is exactly the same process as on Earth, albeit at a much larger scale.
2004-Feb-21, 10:33 PM
Maybe I've got it all wrong but isn't Earth's weather driven by solar heat, while Jupiter's weather is also driven by internal heating?
2004-Feb-21, 10:59 PM
Hurricanes on earth are driven by ocean currentsm yes there is a lot of solar heating but also there is a lot of convection currents in the world's oceans that seem similar to Jupiter's clouds. I would not mind more information about comparisons/differences between Jupiter and Earth's atmospheres.
2004-Feb-21, 11:55 PM
Yeah, well, if we didn't have the moon our planet would be a crazed psycho druggie with giant hurricanes and super tornados. Of course I could be wrong. I know we can get freak storms from the Solar Flares of the sun messing with our Earths magnetic field. Anyway, didn't the impacts of CSL9 make a mark bigger than Earth?
2004-Feb-22, 12:18 AM
They did indeed make an impact bigger than the size of the Earth, however, if they were to have hit a terrestrial planet then the outcome would have been different - different material at impact site -= different impact dynamics.
2004-Feb-22, 12:23 AM
Well put damienpaul, I agree completely.
2004-Feb-22, 12:31 AM
Hurricanes on earth are driven by ocean currentsm yes there is a lot of solar heating but also there is a lot of convection currents in the world's oceans that seem similar to Jupiter's clouds
Damien you're right that the ocean's heat generate hurricanes on Earth, but those oceans are in turn heated by the Sun. On Jupiter the Sun can't reach deep into the the atmosphere, so another mechanism heats Jupiter's atmosphere from below. This mechanism is different and the cause is unknown. Maybe the heating mechanism is creating all the different patterns?
Anyway the question was about the comet impact, and I can only find references on how spectacular the impacts were.
2004-Feb-22, 12:41 AM
Perhaps part of the reason is Jupiter's remarkable rotation, I believe it is just under 10 hours, for something that huge...
2004-Feb-22, 12:30 PM
Does rotation influence weather systems/winds? Should be a yes, I think. Coreolis forces must be stronger when the rotation is faster. The problem is that we know only that the winds in Jupiter's atmosphere get stronger with depth and also the temperature is higher in lower parts. What exactly happens in those lower parts is interesting but "obscured by clouds".
2004-Feb-22, 12:43 PM
I wonder if any calculations have been done to simulate at best, predict at not so best what the dynamics off the inner cloud systems are. Also I remember seing equations for the coriolis effect on jupiter but for the life of me i cannot remember from where.
2004-Feb-23, 08:10 PM
Damien, there is info in this link;
http://isi.ssl.berkeley.edu/research.htm (from Dave Mitsky's answer on the star Achernar),
go to spectroscopy and follow the link to Fast et al. 2001.
This is a PDF file with an article on the result of the impact, and it contains all the references you need.
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