Judy Schmidt is an amateur astronomer and tireless image processor of the Hubble archive. This post details her recent work on the impact of Shoemaker-Levy 9 with Jupiter for the BBC/Discovery Science Channel’s documentary Hubble: Thirty Years of Discovery.
Last September I found myself facing an unusual request. I’d just gotten off the phone with David Briggs, a producer and director with BBC Science. He wanted to feature one of Hubble’s earliest big successes—the Shoemaker-Levy 9 event. Unfortunately, there were few images to use, and some were fairly rough. What was needed was something more sequential to show during the narration. Who could do this specialized work in a relatively short amount of time, though? Dr. Heidi Hammel, one of the principal investigators, suggested to David I might be able to help, and I was happy to.
What did I just agree to do?
It was a daunting task in more than one way. Typically, I may do three images in a productive week, but for this project I needed to assemble around ninety of them within only a few months. Even though they were small images, they were complicated to put together because Jupiter rotates rapidly, Hubble can only ...