#RADIOIMAGEOFTHEWEEK

A Comet Hits Jupiter

A Comet Hits Jupiter

This pair of radio images taken by the Very Large Array (VLA) shows the planet Jupiter before (left - June 24, 1994) and after (right July 19, 1994) fragments of the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 struck the planet in 1994. The disk of the planet is in the center of the images. The bright red spots are regions high above Jupiter's "surface" where electrons interacting with the planet's intense magnetic field are producing strong radio emission. These "radiation belts" are similar to the Van Allen Radiation Belts discovered above the Earth in 1958.