Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Space Science

Amateur Astronomers Spot Jovian Blast 86

Posted by timothy
from the that-is-awesome dept.
RocketAcademy writes "Spaceweather.com reports an explosion on Jupiter, which was detected by two amateur astronomers. According to Spaceweather.com, the event occurred at 11:35 Universal Time on September 10. Dan Peterson of Racine, Wisconsin, observing through a 12-inch Meade telescope, observed a white flash lasting for 1.5-2 seconds. George Hall of Dallas, Texas was capturing a video of Jupiter at the time, which also captured the event. It's believed that the explosion was due to a comet or small asteroid collision. Similar events were observed in the past, in June and August 2010."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Amateur Astronomers Spot Jovian Blast

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @12:35PM (#41302347)

    Where's the kaboom? There was supposed to be an Jupiter-shattering kaboom!

  • Obligatory (Score:4, Funny)

    by Revotron (1115029) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @12:38PM (#41302383)
    "All these worlds are yours except Europa. Attempt no landings there."
  • random thoughts... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Tastecicles (1153671) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @12:46PM (#41302519)

    SL-9 was a farside impact. This, apparently, was a nearside (not much detail in the video). We should be worried, it could easily, since it obviously came from within Jupiter's orbit, have intersected with Earth. Anybody who has access to the object's orbital parameters which show that this would have been with 100% certainty, impossible, please feel free to call me a paranoid freak at this point; but we are overdue an ELE (Extinction Level Event) by about 15 million years (I keep reading around the science journals about ELEs happening about every 50 million years, the last one was what? 65 million years ago (the K-T Event)?

    • by Lithdren (605362) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @01:01PM (#41302753)
      Why bother worrying about it? While I agree that we should be looking for these things to prevent the entire planet from getting sterlized in a single blinding flash of light, why worry about it? Either its going to hit in your lifetime, or its not. Until one is found you can do something about, there's no point in worrying about it, since the one we dont see coming we cant stop. Dead is dead, learn to enjoy life while you have it and stopy worrying about ELE events that are 'overdue'.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Easily? No, not easily. Jupiter tends to act as a big cleaner for the inner Solar System. It tends to eject comets and asteroids. In fact, it is so good at this that it has pushed out Neptune's orbit.

      Don't fall into the gambler's fallacy. The probability of the great impact has not increased since we observed Jupiter getting hit. Jupiter gets hit all the time, but the Earth does not.

      • by Jerslan (1088525) *
        IIRC this behavior is why they added a term to Drake's Equation to include a Jovian planet in the system to keep the inner planets safe from most impact events (thus allowing complex life to develop).
      • by a13coach (1012803)
        Hooray for Jupiter! Way to go for taking one for the solar system team. What a team player that Jupiter (the big guy in the middle) is.
    • by Hatta (162192) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @01:05PM (#41302833) Journal

      we are overdue

      Statistics do not work that way!

      • by Anonymous Coward
        He wasn't talking about statistics. He was talking about periodicity which is something that happens, you know, periodically. If there is some astronomical event (who knows, maybe it is Nemesis, maybe it is some sort of conjunction event) that tends to hurl more than the normal number of Oort cloud objects towards the inner solar system every 50 million years then yes, we are overdue. However that may be because we just didn't get hit this time and it will be another 35 million years before "the event" (wha
    • by Chris Burke (6130)

      Why would someone who actually knew anything about orbital mechanics require 100% certainty to feel safe? Even Apophis, an object known to actually have a pretty good chance of hitting earth as such things go was estimated at 1 in 250,000 a few years ago. The odds of some random object disturbed by Jupiter hitting earth is going to be vastly lower.

      Space is big. You wouldn't believe...

      • Space is big. You wouldn't believe

        I loved the stat that came from Voyager 1.

        It's been going 38,000 mph for 35 years. And it's just now leaving our local solar system.

        • by Chris Burke (6130) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @01:59PM (#41303721) Homepage

          It's been going 38,000 mph for 35 years. And it's just now leaving our local solar system.

          Another stat I love: How many man-hours of effort have been put into determining safe courses for our probes to pass through the main asteroid belt, in total over all outer-solar-system probes?

          Zero.

          • Heh, they probably calculated rough odds and said the hell with it, just let it go through.

            • by Chris Burke (6130)

              The math on the density of the asteroid field was done well before the Voyagers were conceived, and it was based on that math that they decided that no mitigation was necessary. So not literally zero, but rounding... :)

    • by Deadstick (535032) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @01:21PM (#41303075)

      but we are overdue an ELE (Extinction Level Event) by about 15 million years

      Welcome to the Monte Carlo Fallacy...

    • There's a good chance it passed through a keyhole [wikipedia.org] on an earlier pass near Jupiter, and hence struck the planet this time around. I would suspect a keyhole for Earth collision would be much smaller than one for a Jupiter collision. I'm not familiar with the math involved, but I would expect comets and asteroids to strike Jupiter relatively often; Earth, not so frequently.

    • by radtea (464814)

      Anybody who has access to the object's orbital parameters which show that this would have been with 100% certainty, impossible, please feel free to call me a paranoid freak at this point; but we are overdue an ELE (Extinction Level Event) by about 15 million years (I keep reading around the science journals about ELEs happening about every 50 million years, the last one was what? 65 million years ago (the K-T Event)?

      "Overdue" is not a meaningful term in this case. We get about one large impact every 50 million years, but think about it statistically: a Poisson distribution with a mean of 1 has P(0) ~ 0.6, so even at 65 million years the odds are barely 50/50, and in any case, the events are uncorrelated so it doesn't matter how long ago the last one occurred.

      When you wake up each morning the odds of you dying in an asteroid impact are the same: about one in a billion. Your odds of dying in a lightning strike or gett

      • by smaddox (928261)

        To be fair, the frightening thing about astroids isn't that the probability: P(me dying in comet impact) is high. What's frightening is that the conditional probability: P(extinction of humanity | me dying in comet impact) is high.

        • by Chris Burke (6130)

          Yeah, I like to think of it in terms of risk analysis, as P(event) * Cost(event).

          The odds of me stepping on a grass burr walking around my neighborhood is high, but the cost is just a little poke in my toe if I'm wearing sandals.

          The odds of an ELE impact is astronomically low, but the cost is astronomically high.

    • by khallow (566160)

      We should be worried, it could easily, since it obviously came from within Jupiter's orbit, have intersected with Earth.

      And?

      but we are overdue an ELE (Extinction Level Event) by about 15 million years

      So ELE events are extremely uncommon?

      So why should we be concerned merely because an object, which has roughly 90% of the mass of the Solar System outside of the Sun, happens to get hit a lot by asteroids and comets? That huge mass is one of the reasons it gets hit so much. The other is the greater number of objects around Jupiter's orbit.

  • Obligatory (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Wow, the way things are going, in a few years they'll be able to detect blasts from Uranus.

  • by osu-neko (2604) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @12:50PM (#41302579)
    One of the places where amateurs still make many observations and discoveries.
  • Sounds kind of cool.

    • by jonadab (583620)
      Universal time is for practical everyday purposes essentially the same thing as GMT.

      (There's a technical distinction, but you can probably ignore it unless you're running a low-tier ntp server. They're never off from each other by more than a couple of seconds, tops.)
  • Actual video please? (Score:4, Informative)

    by slagheap (734182) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @01:02PM (#41302763)

    The linked video is to a very cheesy still image montage about comet/asteroid impacts, and only shows this recent Jupiter impact as a still screenshot of the video playing on someone's computer.

    Anybody have a better link? At least to a real still of the event?

  • Thank you Jupiter! (Score:3, Informative)

    by infidel_heathen (2652993) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @01:02PM (#41302773)
    If Jupiter wasn't sweeping up all those comets and asteroids, we'd be getting hit by them.
    • by wbr1 (2538558)
      Amen. Jupiter, the hoover of the sol system.
      Just hope we never hear the words "Megamaid has gone from suck to blow!"
    • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @01:24PM (#41303111)

      If Jupiter wasn't sweeping up all those comets and asteroids, we'd be getting hit by them.

      This is actually part of the "rare Earth" hypothesis. For intelligent life to evolve on a planet, you may need a Jupiter sized "cosmic vacuum cleaner" to keep the ELEs from becoming too frequent.

      • by Chris Burke (6130)

        Though with Jupiter's potential to pull in TNOs or Oort Cloud objects, it's actually unclear whether Jupiter is a net benefit or detriment.

    • is the MAN!!

    • Jupiter is the MAN, always taking it for the team Earth.

    • by shippers (1100005)
      I seem to remember reading somewhere that Earth's relationship with Jupiter isn't always so amicable. Granted without it there probably wouldn't be life on Earth, but, if I recall correctly, objects that Jupiter doesn't swallowed up completely stood a reasonable chance of being deflected in the direction of the inner planets. Something of a devil in disguise!
    • by Kittenman (971447)
      Asimov (again) said that the Solar System consisted of Jupiter and assorted rubble.
  • Doesn't look real, and too short an event.
    Color me a sceptic.

    bjd

  • by RapidEye (322253) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @01:12PM (#41302921) Homepage

    I'll get out my 18" f/4.5 Obsession tonight and see if I can spot the scars.
    The last time this happened, there were black holes in Jupiter's clouds that persisted for several weeks.
    Unlike the last time this happened, its perfectly clear here in the Carolinas!
    Amateur Astronomers FTW!

    • Out of curiosity what do decent telescopes run and where does one buy them? I have a crappy 6" tasco one from when I was a kid that works well for looking at the moon, and limited planet viewing but sucks for everything else.
      • by cyberchondriac (456626) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @02:34PM (#41304239) Journal
        There's no simple answer to that question. What constitutes a "decent" scope? Weeelll..

        A couple of things to know:
        * Aperture (thus ability to gather light) is more important than magnification.
        * There are essentially 3 kinds of scopes:
        1) Refractor (classic design)
        2) Newtonian reflector (more affordable). Newtonians are generally less money and give you more bang for the buck, and Dobsonian Newtonians are even better bargains, though a dob can't track objects as they can't use an equatorial mount. I have an 8" dob, and a small 80mm refractor, but what I'd really like is a
        3) Cassegrain: , which is like an optically "folded" newtonian - they're small, light, and powerful, but not as cheap as newtonians.
        You can look here for starters: http://www.telescope.com/ [telescope.com] (Orion)

        • by Chris Burke (6130)

          3) Cassegrain: , which is like an optically "folded" newtonian - they're small, light, and powerful, but not as cheap as newtonians.

          As the owner of a Celestron 11" SCT, I'd say the main advantage is the size. Weight isn't dominated so much by the tube, but by the optics, and a SCT has more optics. Also, a lot of SCTs use fork mounts which can't be easily removed from the tube. So even if the body was lighter, the actual thing you have to pick up and lug around is significantly heavier than an equivalent Newton.

          But if size matters, it's definitely the way to go. There's no way I'd get even an 8" Newton into my two-door Toyota Echo.

        • by RapidEye (322253)

          I'll second the Orion recommendation - good scopes and very good customer service.
          For $500, you can get a nice 8" dob, a couple of good eyepieces, a barlow, some charts, and get a nice start to the skies.

  • by cyberchondriac (456626) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @02:15PM (#41303963) Journal
    Expect strange cylinders to start landing all over Earth in the next 24 to 48 hours. Wells almost got it right.

The difficult we do today; the impossible takes a little longer.

Working...