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Comet explodes on Jupiter-and the Web

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Between the 16th and 22nd of July 1994, the periodic comet designated P/Shoemaker-Levy 9 crashed into Jupiter. Scientists hoped to learn about the makeup and behavior of both comets and Jupiter's atmosphere from the size, appearance, and composition of the impact plumes. The scientific community did not go into the event unprepared. Teams at several supercomputing centers ran simulations that predicted the outcome of the impacts. Mailing lists sprang up to facilitate the free flow of information. But what about the rest of us? Astronomy might be the only science in which amateurs routinely make major contributions. Amateur astronomers all over the globe recorded their observations for programs such as the Jupiter Comet Watch and the British Astronomical Association's Jupiter Section. And possibly millions of science enthusiasts accessed the images, data, and simulations posted on the many World Wide Web sites established. Despite slow access times, server problems, and the limitations of the current infrastructure, the WWW and the Mosaic interface provided a glimpse of how to swiftly distribute graphics and other information world-wide in the future.<>

Published in:

Computer Graphics and Applications, IEEE  (Volume:14 ,  Issue: 6 )

Date of Publication:

Nov. 1994

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