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nightfisher

gas giant question

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So the outer planets are gas giants, when comet Shoemaker-levy struct Jupiter back in 1994, each part of the comet created a huge impact, resulting in an explosion on impact, but if the planet is a gas giant i would of thought the parts of comet would pass right through, why is this?

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Posted (edited)

Friction heated up the comet fragments until they exploded. Just as a large meteors do in our atmosphere.  As you go deeper into Jupiter's atmosphere it gets dense quite quickly.

Google "Atmosphere of Jupiter wiki" 

Regards Andrew 

Edited by andrew s
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Jupiter's atmosphere or outer layers as we might call them, are very dense. So just like meteors burn up high in Earth's atmosphere, any object impacting Jupiter at interplanetary velocity is going to convert entirely into thermal energy. 

Bigger objects will likely just generate more energy. Remember the Chelyabinsk meteorite a few years ago. It exploded with great energy high in the atmosphere with only fragments (some quite large) making it to the ground.

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When meteors hit the Earth's atmosphere, they mostly burn up in the atmosphere, and quite often explode there with very little hitting the surface. 

For SL, the same happened - the comet fragments fell into the jovian atmosphere at great speed, where they dumped their kinetic energy as heat at quite a depth. 

This heating caused a disruption to the normal layering of the atmosphere, as deep down material was heated and moved upwards to be seen as the visible 'blemishes' 

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My mum asked me the same thing yesterday... that Brian Cox has a lot to answer for. But yeah, what they said! 

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 I remember seeing the impact marks on the news, it would have been fascinating to have been imaging it back then. 

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18 minutes ago, Pete Presland said:

 I remember seeing the impact marks on the news, it would have been fascinating to have been imaging it back then. 

I seem to remember seeing them with Ye Olde Fullerscope shortly after the first impact scars rotated into view.

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Posted (edited)

From memory one of the talking points from the impact was that the damage was far far larger that had been predicted, which makes me wonder if Jupiter could survive an object the size of a rocky planet.

Alan

Edited by Alien 13

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14 hours ago, Pete Presland said:

 I remember seeing the impact marks on the news, it would have been fascinating to have been imaging it back then. 

I remember reading it was out of our line of sight. Amazing the effort they took retasking every available satellite to image such an unbelievable incident. 

The results were eye opening to say the least.

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15 hours ago, Alien 13 said:

From memory one of the talking points from the impact was that the damage was far far larger that had been predicted, which makes me wonder if Jupiter could survive an object the size of a rocky planet.

Alan

It probably already has during its formation. While the damage to various cloud layers was extensive the planet never blinked in its orbit or as far as I know its basic shape.

However, it would depend on the details of the collision but my money would be on it surviving maybe with a new satellite or two from the splash. 

Regards Andrew 

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