Jupiter crater question
Name: Joy M McClain
How many craters did the comet impact create on Jupiter?
Jupiter has such a dense atmosphere that anything entering it at high speed
will burn up before reaching any solid surface where it could create a
crater. In fact, it is not known if Jupiter even HAS a solid surface at
all! The pieces of the comet that did hit Jupiter's atmosphere left some
pretty amazing perturbations in that atmosphere as we saw from pictures
taken with telescopes (including the Hubble Space Telescope) shortly after
the collisions. Note: the comet had already broken up into many pieces
before colliding with Jupiter.
Actually, the surface of Jupiter that we can see is really Jupiter's atmo-
sphere - all sorts of clouds and things. The comet never reached Jupiter's
solid surface (if it has one), so the effect was sort of the same as a big
rock landing in a lake of water. The effect of the comet was mostly tempo-
rary ripples and splashes and other fun rearrangements of Jupiter's clouds,
but no craters.
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Update: June 2012