Fireball on Jupiter!

Via Space Weather.  Amateur astronomer Anthony Wesley was the first to observe the Great Black Spot [of Jupiter].  Now he’s gone one better and recorded an actual impact on the gas giant.  The resulting fireball was independently confirmed by Christopher Go in the Philipines – his video can be viewed here.

Here’s the full processed image of the impact, visible in bottom right. Image credit: Anthony Wesley, Broken Hill Australia.

And here’s the raw video observation. The impact occurs in the top left in this view.

Thanks, again, “our friend and lord, Jupiter.”

Update The BBC notes that a team of scientists have concluded that the Great Black Spot [of Jupiter] was probably caused by an asteroid, rather than a comet.

Agustin Sanchez-Lavega of the University of the Basque Country in Bilbao, Spain called Jupiter a “natural laboratory” to see what might happen to our planet in the event of a similar collision.

“It would be a catastrophe,” he said.

“The Jupiter impact produced a pattern of debris some 5,000km long and 2,800 km wide – half the size of the Earth. And even if the response of the Earth atmosphere is different from that of Jupiter, entire continents could be destroyed.”

Here’s an image showing the Black Spot dissapating over two months

And the same scientist commented on the latest impact

The scientist also commented on the latest flash spotted on Jupiter by Anthony Wesley and another amateur, Christopher Go from the Philippines.

It is believed to be the very first image of a meteoroid hitting a planet.

This also shows that amateur astronomers now have the necessary high quality technology to capture such events that only last a few seconds.

“We cannot devote the Hubble space telescope or other telescopes to observe Jupiter regularly, it is impossible,” he said.

“And the amateurs make a very good survey of what is happening there, contributing to our database.”