AstroGrav iconAstroGrav Help /Sample Simulations /Solar System 2 /Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9Version 3.4

Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9

Introduction

This simulation shows the well-known collision of Comet D/1993 F2 (Shoemaker-Levy 9) with the planet Jupiter. The initial date of the simulation is 18th March 1993, which is the date when the comet was discovered.

The simulation also contains the Sun, together with all known planets and major moons - ie, all Solar System objects with radii over 1,000 km.

What you can do with it

If you run the simulation forward, you can watch the fragments collide with Jupiter one-by-one between 16th July 1994 and 22nd July 1994. Because the comet moves much faster when it is closer to Jupiter, you will need to significantly reduce the time step (eg to 1 hour) in order to effectively watch the fragments collide with Jupiter.

If you run the simulation backward, you can watch the very close encounter with Jupiter on 7th July 1992, which caused the original single comet to break up into the 21 fragments shown. Again, you will need to significantly reduce the time step (eg to 1 hour) in order to effectively watch the close encounter with Jupiter.

Ideas for further investigation

You can find out more from the following website:

http://www2.jpl.nasa.gov/sl9/


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