Program: GS-2010A-DD-6

Title:Assessing the Influence of the 2010 June 3 Impact on Jupiter's Atmosphere
PI:Glenn Orton
Co-I(s): Leigh Fletcher, Michelle Edwards, Imke de Pater, Padma Yanamandra-Fisher, Brenden Fisher, Olivier Mousis, Heidi Hammel


Two amateur observers independently observed an impact flash in Jupiter's atmosphere on June 3, 2010. This is the first verified impact flash observed since those of several Shoemaker Levy 9 fragments were observed by the Galileo spacecraft in 1994. We propose thermal imaging and spectroscopy of the impact location using T-ReCS to search for perturbations to the atmospheric temperature structure, gaseous composition and aerosol signatures. Particularly important is a comparison between T-ReCS observations taken of the July 19, 2009, impact that identified spectral signatures of amorphous olivines and a mixture of crystalline and amorphous silicas in the dusty impact debris. If no recognizable influence on the atmosphere is detected with thermal imaging, the spectroscopic portion of this program would be cancelled. The absence of a detection in Jupiter is also an important result: (a) it would imply that the impact shock was confined to a vertical lengthscale smaller than the ~20-km scale height of the atmosphere, (b) it provides an upper limit to the impact energy to compare with the visible flash, and (c) it shows that this small impact did not penetrate to the NH3 cloud.

Publications using this program's data