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WATCH: Jupiter Just Got Hit by a Comet or Asteroid? | Captured By Amateur Astronomer

March 31, 2016 | Thursday

Impact Burst On Jupiter Captured By Amateur Astronomer / Screenshot from Youtube
 Take that, Jupiter! The largest planet in the solar system just got whacked by an asteroid or a comet, and some intrepid stargazers have captured the planet's latest collision on camera.

Amateur astronomer John McKeon was observing the king of planets by telescope from Swords, Ireland, on March 17 when he captured this stunning time-lapse video of something hitting Jupiter. McKeon was recording the transit of Jupiter's moons Io and Ganymede with an 11-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope and his ASI120mm camera when something struck Jupiter, and he struck cosmic pay dirt.

"The original purpose of the imaging session was to get this time-lapse, with a happy coincidence of the impact in the second, last capture of the night," McKeon wrote in a YouTube video description
While it's still too early to know exact details on the Jupiter crash, NASA asteroid expert Paul Chodas, who heads the agency's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said there's greater chance that an asteroid, not comet, is the culprit.

"It's more likely to be an asteroid simply because there are more of them," Chodas told Space.com by phone.

It's not yet clear what hit Jupiter, but the impact was also captured by at least one other amateur astronomer — Gerrit Kernbauer of Mรถdling, Austria — according to Bad Astronomy's Phil Plait, who posted Kernbauer's YouTube video of the impact. According to Plait, the impact occurred at 00:18 GMT, or just after midnight, on March 17.

Kernbauer used a Skywatcher Newton 200/1000 Telescope to capture the Jupiter impact video.
On 17.03.2016 i was observing and filming Jupiter with my Skywatcher Newton 200/1000 Telescope. The seeing was not the best, so i hesitated to process the Videos. Nevertheless 10 days later i looked through the Videos and i found this strange light spot that appeared for less than one second on the edge of the planetary disc. Thinking back to Shoemaker-Levy 9, my only explanation for this is an asteroid or comet that enters Jupiter's high atmosphere and burned up/explode very fast.




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About Erick Abel

Erick Abel
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