Hubble took picture of Jupiter's scar

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Hubble took picture of Jupiter's scar

Post  Admin on Fri Sep 25, 2009 4:08 am

In an unusual step, NASA scientists interrupted testing of the refurbished Hubble Space Telescope to aim the orbiter's camera at Jupiter and capture an image of the planet's mysterious new scar. The resulting picture, taken Thursday, is the sharpest visible-light photo of the dark spot and Hubble's first science observation since astronauts repaired and upgraded it in May, NASA said. Earth-based telescopes have been trained on Jupiter since an amateur astronomer in Australia noticed the new mark, probably created when a small comet or asteroid plunged into Jupiter's atmosphere and disintegrated, early Monday. This week's event marks only the second time scientists have recorded debris colliding with Jupiter, the fifth planet from the sun and the largest in our solar system. The appearance of the impact spot is changing day to day in the planet's cloud tops, making it a priority for scientists to document it quickly. Although the Hubble is not expected to resume full operations until late summer and its new camera is still being calibrated, NASA scientists decided the Jupiter event was too significant not to put the orbiting observatory back into action for a day.

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