Jovian Impacts

The Jovian Impact Research Group. (From left to right) Jarrad Pond, Csaba Palotai, Travis Gabriel, Joe Harrington, Noémi Rebeli.  Not pictured: Don Korycansky (University of California, Santa Cruz), Lloyd Wickboldt, Madison Stemm, Greta Chappell

Csaba Palotai and Joe Harrington, along with the graduate and undergraduate students of the Jovian Impact Research Group, investigate the various stages of asteroidal and cometary impacts in Jupiter’s atmosphere.

To do so, our group is building the first self-consistent, 3D computer model of all phases of the events, from initial impact to dissipation of the material. The results will provide insight into planetary atmospheric physics, including the first direct measurement of eddy viscosity. The results will also be relevant to the study and mitigation of potential future terrestrial impacts. From these events, information about the frequency of impacts, Jupiter’s atmosphere, and impact processes has been uncovered.  To analyze these events, we use computer simulations of the object in question penetrating the Jovian atmosphere.











Coverage of our group’s work on NBC’s Science Behind the News.



This work was supported by National Science Foundation Grants AST-0813194 and AST-0964078, and NASA Planetary Atmospheres Program Grant NNX11AD87G.  Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of NASA or the National Science Foundation.