Jupiter's Inferno

A comet's violent collision with the giant planet is proving spectacular

The initial, sketchy reports began filtering in by E-mail late Saturday afternoon. First a Spanish observatory announced that it had spotted a plume of gas billowing up from the edge of Jupiter. Then a group of observers in Chile confirmed the sighting, and so did another team based at the South Pole. But although the first of the 21 fragments of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 hit the giant planet shortly after 4 p.m. Eastern time, astronomers at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, had to wait for images to be beamed down from the orbiting Hubble telescope. Finally, at about...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!