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.”

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  • Jack Cade

    I know there isn’t much to debate, but I do think the astronomy articles are some of my favourates. Keep it up.

  • HeinzGuderian

    Indeed. The recent programmes on Sky,featuring Stephen Hawking were fascinating……………in my humble opinion!!

  • Pete Baker

    Cheers guys,

    I’m hoping there’ll be follow-up images of the new Great Black Spot.

  • oracle

    You get my vote every time Pete, you do a fab job and not just a flattering fab, a tip top madgic job fab

  • Pete Baker

    Ta, oracle. Btw, I’ve updated the original post.

    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.”

    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.”

  • johno

    Massive meteor sighting in Tyrone about 5 minutes ago

  • joeCanuck

    We’re rather fortunate to have Jupiter and, to a lesser extent I believe, Saturn, to sweep up a lot of asteroids and comets that might otherwise get to the Earth and wipe us out.

  • Pete Baker

    Joe

    It’s not as straight-forward as that

    Take, for example, Comet Lexell, named after the Swedish astronomer Anders Lexell. In 1770 it whizzed only a million miles from the Earth, missing us by a cosmic whisker, Dr. Marsden said. That comet had come streaking in from the outer solar system three years earlier and passed close to Jupiter, which diverted it into a new orbit and straight toward Earth.

    The comet made two passes around the Sun and in 1779 again passed very close to Jupiter, which then threw it back out of the solar system. “It was as if Jupiter aimed at us and missed,” said Dr. Marsden, who complained that the comet would never have come anywhere near the Earth if Jupiter hadn’t thrown it at us in the first place.

  • joeCanuck

    You (that is me) learn something new everyday, Pete. I thought that Jupiter was very much a friend.
    BTW, I have visited Barringer Crater. It was a stupendous experience. It’s not terribly far from the Grand Canyon which was the main reason for my visit. I was so impressed with the grand canyon that I returned 10 years later. Both times I got a free upgrade to a Mustang Convertible by the car rental company; yee haw. Petrified Forest is reasonably close too. Highly recommended trip.

  • Greenflag

    Joe ,

    sorry I’m late to this one 🙂

    ‘I thought that Jupiter was very much a friend.’

    In the overall from the beginning of our solar system and on balance Jupiter has been a friend if not to all life on earth then it at least facilitated the emergence of ‘humanity ‘ by diverting probably most comets headed our way .

    Pete’s description of Dr Marsden’s image of Jupiter acting like a batman at the wicket deliberately trying to whack comets in our direction sees overdone and also terrifying by Jove ;( .

    What I found interesting in recent weeks was the discovery that ‘solar systems ‘ similar to ours may be much rarer than first thought . The traditional model of rocky inner planets with gaseous giants taking up the outer zones may be replaced with the more frequent based on findings so far of very large gaseous type Jupiters being very close to their Suns thus providing little or no chance for earthlike planets to form and thus reduce the possibility of ‘life’ being able to form .

    The search for ‘life’ elsewhere continues .

    http://www.sciencefriday.com/program/archives/200904032

  • Pete Baker

    Greenie

    “The traditional model of rocky inner planets with gaseous giants taking up the outer zones may be replaced with the more frequent based on findings so far of very large gaseous type Jupiters being very close to their Suns thus providing little or no chance for earthlike planets to form and thus reduce the possibility of ‘life’ being able to form .”

    Far too soon to tell.

    We’re only now getting near the point where those smaller rocky planets may be detected.

  • Greenflag

    Pete,

    ‘We’re only now getting near the point where those smaller rocky planets may be detected.’

    True but there may be far fewer of them i.e inner rocky planets than was heretofore believed . Solar systems such as ours may only happen a few times in our galaxy and then when one adds in all the ‘lucky’ circumstances which enabled human intelligence to evolve and thus make the ‘universe’ conscious we may indeed be ‘alone’.

    I’ll be the first to cheer if ‘life ‘ is discovered in our solar system or further afield even if it’s microbial . And if it’s a life form bearing no relationship to any earthly format then that would be proof of life becoming ‘inevitable ‘ sooner or later somewhere else in the universe.

  • Pete Baker

    “may be”, Greenie, “may be”.