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Space Science

Something May Have Just Hit Jupiter 299

Posted by kdawson
from the jumbo-size-clearasil dept.
The blog of Anthony Wesley, an Australian amateur astronomer, has what may be the first photos of a recent comet or asteroid impact on Jupiter, near the south pole. These photos are 11 hours old. The ones at the bottom of the page show three small dark spots in addition to the main dark mark. The Bad Astronomy blog picked up the story a few hours later — but cautions that what we're seeing may not be an impact event. This is all reminiscent of the closely watched impact of comet Shoemaker-Levy on Jupiter in 1994.
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Something May Have Just Hit Jupiter

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  • by spankyofoz (445751) on Sunday July 19, 2009 @10:45PM (#28752283)

    The gas giants are there to act as a magnet for comets/asteroids etc, so they don't end up near us.

  • by s0litaire (1205168) * on Sunday July 19, 2009 @10:46PM (#28752289)
    Saturn and Jupiter are the sweepers of the Solar system. They are big, so things hit them instead of us. Think of them as bodyguards... ^_^
  • Re:Or may not have (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gammaraybuster (913268) on Sunday July 19, 2009 @11:13PM (#28752469)
    If it is an impact, then what else is there to compare it to? According to the blogger, there was no sign whatever of the event just 2 days earlier. Can a storm arise that quickly out of nothing? In any case, it seems likely that they will soon be able to determine if it is an impact or not.
  • by WindBourne (631190) on Sunday July 19, 2009 @11:15PM (#28752487) Journal
    Actually, at this point, I would rather a few were by us. I think that we are going to need the minerals and elements, and have a few close by with different minerals could be useful. In particular, China is the main supplier of Rare Earth and a few steel making minerals, but they are purposely holding them off the market. All in all, I think that if we want to avoid war, we need to make sure that all nations have access to these. Probably the more interesting way would be to mine space.
  • by wellingj (1030460) on Monday July 20, 2009 @12:56AM (#28753049)
    What would be wrong with the prospecting model that was used during all the gold rush years?
    After that fizzles we can move to the homesteading rush.

    If you think about it, it's probably the fastest way to colonize space, because I don't see the super powers doing much more than having a global pissing match over what is already here....
  • Re:Hubble! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gaspyy (514539) on Monday July 20, 2009 @01:21AM (#28753135)

    Just to be pedantic, point-and-shoot cameras (aka focus-free, including the ones in cell phones) are not focused to infinity but rather to the hyperfocal distance [wikipedia.org]

  • by plopez (54068) on Monday July 20, 2009 @01:24AM (#28753143) Journal

    Astronomy is a good example for FOSS. A lot of near Earth low energy astronomy gets done by amateurs in the best sense of the word, those who have a passion for the topic but don't get paid to do it.

    The same for other areas such as birding and botany. Often volunteers discover or rediscover rare species and then the pros can come back in and do more in depth studies.

    Anywho. Nice job. What ever it turns out to be.

  • by rm999 (775449) on Monday July 20, 2009 @03:04AM (#28753569)

    Not to mention that Jupiter's orbit keeps it close to a lot of asteroids (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:InnerSolarSystem-en.png). Kind of beautiful: the Sun basically has a huge, sparse ring around it.

    And here's a deep thought: if the asteroid belt had been closer to the Sun, there is a good chance we wouldn't be alive to wish it weren't ;)

  • by DeusExCalamus (1146781) on Monday July 20, 2009 @03:30AM (#28753665)

    Well be careful, it could also something like what has happened on the 2010 movie starting to occur, keep on watching maybe this "spot" will propagate to the whole planet then afterward, Jupiter will become our second Sun. Welcome to true global warming ! ;-))

    Hail Lucifer!

  • by sznupi (719324) on Monday July 20, 2009 @04:09AM (#28753797) Homepage

    Moon impact is in its own league, considering that the impactor was very large and came in very slow/probably from one of Lagrangian points of proto-Earth ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giant_impact_hypothesis [wikipedia.org] )

  • by Ihlosi (895663) on Monday July 20, 2009 @06:58AM (#28754519)
    Nonsense, nothing can hit Jupiter. It is a gas giant. It probably slowed down while passing thru that massive gas layers and halted at the core because of the gravity.

    At a few kilometers per second, you won't feel the difference between hitting a solid and hitting a gas.

  • Re:Or may not have (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sique (173459) on Monday July 20, 2009 @07:07AM (#28754561) Homepage

    Or, as the german philosopher Schopenhauer famously put it:

    Dilletants! Dilletants! - so are called those, who are occupied by a Science or an Art out of love to it, per il loro diletto, with disdain by those who do it for profit, because they love only the money which can be earned by it. This disdain is based on the dastard conviction, that nobody would ever seriously take on a subject if not distress, famine, or another greed urges it. The public is of the same spirit and thus has the same opinion: from here comes his respect for "people of the trade", and his mistrust of amateurs. In reality for the amateur the subject is the goal, for the man of the trade as himself it is only means. Only he will carry on with earnest who is immediately interested in the subject and who is occupied with it out of love. From those, not from the paid servants, the greatest has ever started.

    (Sorry for my bad english. I am an amateur after all ;) )

  • by agw (6387) on Monday July 20, 2009 @09:12AM (#28755275)

    Nonsense, nothing can hit Jupiter. It is a gas giant. It probably slowed down while passing thru that massive gas layers and halted at the core because of the gravity.

    At a few kilometers per second, you won't feel the difference between hitting a solid and hitting a gas.

    That would depend on the pressure in the atmosphere.
    If something enters the atmosphere it will burst as soon as the pressure is too high.
    That will definately happen on Jupiter, but also happens on Venus or even Earth. Early probes to Venus were crushed even before the impact and Venus is a rocky planet.

    It's unlikely that anything will "hit" the core of Jupiter, as only the first layer and the clouds are really gas. Below it, the pressure is so great the gas becomes like a liquid.

    Jupiter's layers are actually quite interesting and become really awesome when realizing the size of them.

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