Simulations of the Breakup of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 Employing a Swarm Model: Initial Conditions
Released on March 24, 1995
The breakup of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 due to its gravitational interaction with Jupiter in July, 1994 is simulated using a swarm model. In this simulation, the comet is modeled as an initially spherical distribution of 16,384 particles. The particles interact with the tidal field of Jupiter and with each other through inter-particle gravitation and collisions. All simulations were performed on the Maspar MP-2 at NASA/GSFC.
In this animation of the initial simulation conditions, the comet orbit around Jupiter is shown, then the view zooms in to the comet at a distance of 2.1 Jovian radii from Jupiter, where the initial spherical distribution is shown within a box 4 km on a side.