File:Shoemaker-Levy 9 on 1994-05-17.png

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A NASA Hubble Space Telescope (HST) image of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9, taken on May 17, 1994, with the Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2) in wide field mode.

When the comet was observed, its train of 21 icy fragments stretched across 1.1 million km (710 thousand miles) of space, or 3 times the distance between Earth and the Moon. This required 6 WFPC exposures spaced along the comet train to include all the nuclei. The image was taken in red light.

The comet was approximately 660 million km (410 million miles) from Earth when the picture was taken, on a mid-July collision course with the gas giant planet Jupiter.

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Author NASA, ESA, and H. Weaver and E. Smith (STScI)
(Reusing this file)
Public domain This file is in the public domain because it was created by NASA and ESA. NASA Hubble material (and ESA Hubble material prior to 2009) is copyright-free and may be freely used as in the public domain without fee, on the condition that only NASA, STScI, and/or ESA is credited as the source of the material. This license does not apply if ESA material created after 2008 or source material from other organizations is in use.
The material was created for NASA by Space Telescope Science Institute under Contract NAS5-26555, or for ESA by the Hubble European Space Agency Information Centre. Copyright statement at or 2008 copyright statement at
For material created by the European Space Agency on the site since 2009, use the {{ESA-Hubble}} tag.
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