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8 images of impact craters in space

By: Katherine Butler on Nov. 6, 2012, 7:05 p.m.
Jupiter's scar in infrared

Photo: NASA/IRTF/JPL-Caltech/University of Oxford

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Jupiter's scar in infrared

Scientists believe that Jupiter's gravitational pull prevented a planet from forming between it and Mars. Instead, small bodies collided with each other, creating what is now our solar system’s asteroid belt. Pictured here is Jupiter in 2009 after an object the size of the Titanic hurtled into the giant planet. As NASA writes, “The image on the left was taken on July 20, 2009, and the image on the right was taken on Aug. 16, 2009. The impact and its aftereffects can be seen as the bright spot on the lower left of the July 20 image and as the bright smudge on the lower left of the Aug. 16 image.” The intensely powerful winds of Jupiter had “sheared apart” the impact by the time the Aug. 16 image was taken.