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Space Science

Impact On Jupiter Observed By Amateur Astronomers 53

Omomyid and other readers send in the news that the bright flash of an impact on Jupiter has been observed — and caught on film — by amateur astronomers. That WMV is from amateur Christopher Go. Here's Anthony Wesley's video (45 MB AVI; the site is already overloaded). In the larger video you can see the impact lasting for a couple of seconds, and a good deal of structure is visible. The amateurs report that no dark debris field developed around the impact site in the time before it rotated out of sight; this may indicate that the impactor burned up high in Jupiter's atmosphere. Soon professional astronomers, and possibly Hubble, will be on the job.
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Impact On Jupiter Observed By Amateur Astronomers

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  • wtf AGAIN (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Pojut ( 1027544 ) on Friday June 04, 2010 @09:40AM (#32457516) Homepage

    Wasn't there a similar impact last year observed around this time as well? /offtopic Coincidentally, I posted about this on my site this morning

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      by the same guy as well! he must have a telescope pointed at jupiter at all times.

    • Re:wtf AGAIN (Score:4, Informative)

      by Average_Joe_Sixpack ( 534373 ) on Friday June 04, 2010 @09:52AM (#32457616)

      Yes, which was also first observed by same amateur astronmer (Anthony Wesley). Here was his post of the recent impact on CloudyNights []

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by mcgrew ( 92797 ) *

        Yes, which was also first observed by same amateur astronmer (Anthony Wesley).

        Considering the extreme gravity of Jupiter, if the object that was crushed by Jupiter's gravity was named after its discoverer, would Jupiter be an Anthony Wesley Crusher?

    • Re:wtf AGAIN (Score:5, Informative)

      by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Friday June 04, 2010 @09:58AM (#32457690) Homepage Journal

      There's no "wtf AGAIN" about this at all. Jupiter is the vacuum cleaner (no pun intended) of the solar system, and any object with a highly elliptic orbit will run a great risk of a Jovian ending.
      This is what allows us to not be wiped out by crashing comets and meteorites every few years.

      But, it's always good to see a public servant do its job.

      • by Troed ( 102527 )

        Actually it's not that simple.

        Without Jupiter acting as a “cosmic vacuum cleaner” sucking up these dangerous objects, there would be so many catastrophic impacts that life probably wouldn’t have evolved on the Earth and we wouldn’t be here today. At least, this is the commonly accepted wisdom. Like so many topics in astrobiology, it isn’t as straightforward as it first seems. []

        • Interesting. I've also heard a theory that Jupiter is responsible for disturbing Oort Cloud objects and drawing them into orbits that go through the inner solar system, so the increase in dangerous objects would roughly cancel the objects deflected or absorbed by Jupiter.

          I think that theory still considers comets and other non-near-earth objects to be the primary threat, though.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by east coast ( 590680 )
      Oddly enough, a follow up of Jupiter impact [] was just reported Thursday.
  • Pictures! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ArcherB ( 796902 ) on Friday June 04, 2010 @09:54AM (#32457642) Journal

    From summary:

    — and caught on film —

    This is the important part. Like the rest of us, astronomers follow the little known meme Pictures or it didn't happen!

  • by burris ( 122191 ) on Friday June 04, 2010 @09:58AM (#32457694)

    Chris Go [] is probably the world's premier amateur observer of Jupiter. He also discovered the change of Oval BA to a red color similar to the Great Red Spot.

    He lives in Cebu City, Philippines where he has excellent "seeing" most nights. "Seeing" is the term for how steady the atmosphere appears to be and is critical for getting good images of the planets.

  • K'Breel, our most benevolent and enlightened speaker from the Council of Elders:
    "Citizens. It is with my deepest regret that I report the transport of gelsacs destined for the orb of bands has unfortunately met with disaster. The pilot of the escape pod was reportedly texting shortly before impact."

  • YouTube link... (Score:5, Informative)

    by alyawn ( 694153 ) on Friday June 04, 2010 @10:33AM (#32458080)
    Umm... if you don't feel like waiting all day for the AVI: []
  • It would be interesting to observe a similar impact on Earth.

  • LOOP! (Score:4, Informative)

    by Itninja ( 937614 ) on Friday June 04, 2010 @11:03AM (#32458552) Homepage
    This video is less than 2 seconds long! If you want to actually see will need to loop it. Not sure why the posted video wasn't looped already.
  • a collision of this magnitude would pretty much destroy our happy little blue ball... Yay for Jupiter!
  • I'm no expert but that doesn't look like an impact,unless there were a dozen of impacts at the same time. I viewed it full screen and it looks more like lighting then an impact there were at least 7 flashes clustered. Ah what do i know,I'm not even an armature astronomer lol
    • by RoboRay ( 735839 )

      Multiple impact sites at the same time on Jupiter? That's impossible!

      (Or, maybe you should google "Shoemaker-Levy 9")

  • Does anyone know if/what software is used to isolate the "relevant" footage? If you just plug in a camera in place of the telescope's ocular and let it record to the 'puter, you'll have to spend literally thousands of hours of recording (and that's being generous) before actually picking up something interesting/unusual.

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. -- Wernher von Braun