Skip to main content

Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9's Epic Crash with Jupiter in Pictures

Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 Fragments

JPL/NASA/STScI

In July 1994, the Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 slammed into Jupiter after breaking apart into many pieces. Astronomers around the world watched the epic comet crash in real-time with telescopes and spacecraft. You can see some of those photos in this Space.com gallery. In This View: These repeated observations taken in July 1994 show how Jupiter sucked up the fragments of Comet Shoemaker–Levy 9 after their repeated impacts.

David Levy and Shoemaker-9

Elizabeth Howell

Amateur astronomer David Levy in front of the two "discovery" pictures of Shoemaker-Levy 9. Levy delivered a lecture to a branch of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada in Ottawa, May 31, 2013.

Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 'String of Pearls'

H. Weaver (JHU), T. Smith (STScI), NASA

Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 was named for its co-discoverers, and because of its appearance was often referred to as the "string of pearls" comet.

Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 Scars Jupiter

NASA/ESA

Fragments of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 in July 1994 created dark clouds on Jupiter, visible even in small telescopes.

Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 Approaching Jupiter in 1994

NASA, ESA, H. Weaver and E. Smith (STScI) and J. Trauger and R. Evans (NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory)

This composite photo shows Jupiter and comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 imaged by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope in 1994.

Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 Fragment W Impact With Jupiter

NASA/JPL

Galileo spacecraft caught these four images of Jupiter and the luminous night-side impact of fragment W of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 on July 22, 1994.

Comet Impact Into Jupiter (Artist's Concept)

© M. Showalter

This artist's concept shows comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 streaking towards Jupiter in July 1994. The comet's dust cloud created a rippling wake in Jupiter's ring. Image released March 31, 2011.

Shoemaker-Levy-9 Impacts on Jupiter

NASA

This graphic shows fragments of comet Shoemaker-Levy-9 smashing into Jupiter’s southern hemisphere, an event which lasted for almost six days in 1994.

Hubble Space Telescope Image of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9

H. Weaver

This Hubble Space Telescope image shows the "string of pearls" comet, Shoemaker-Levy 9, in March, 1994, four months before its collision with Jupiter.

Have a news tip, correction or comment? Let us know at community@space.com.