A close-up view of the new dark spot on Jupiter taken with Hubble's Wide-Field Camera 3 on Thursday. Credit NASA, ESA, H. Hammel (Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo.), and the Jupiter Impact Team

A team of astronomers used the newly refurbished Hubble Space Telescope to snap a picture of Jupiter’s new black eye on Thursday.

The spot, roughly 5,000 miles long, according to the Hubble team, led by Heidi Hammel of the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo., was formed when a small comet or other object crashed into the giant planet on Sunday. It was discovered Sunday night by an amateur astronomer in Australia, Anthony Wesley, who sounded an alert that has had all telescope eyes turning to Jupiter.

The Hubble photo marks a triumphant return to the scientific arena for the fabled telescope, which shut down last September when a computer router failed. It underwent its last orbital overhaul in May.

The Hubble astronomers, who were still in the process of bringing the telescope back on line when Jupiter was smacked, interrupted their methodical procedures to get a snapshot with the new Wide Field Camera 3, which was installed during the May mission and is still not completely calibrated.

Hubble scientists said they were planning to unveil the rejuvenated telescope with a barrage of new pictures and data in September. But for now the word is out. Hubble is back.

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