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Space Science

Amateur Astronomers Spot Jovian Blast 86

RocketAcademy writes " reports an explosion on Jupiter, which was detected by two amateur astronomers. According to, 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."
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Amateur Astronomers Spot Jovian Blast

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  • by osu-neko ( 2604 ) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @01:50PM (#41302579)
    One of the places where amateurs still make many observations and discoveries.
  • by Lithdren ( 605362 ) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @02:01PM (#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 Hatta ( 162192 ) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @02:05PM (#41302833) Journal

    we are overdue

    Statistics do not work that way!

  • by Deadstick ( 535032 ) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @02:21PM (#41303075)

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

    Welcome to the Monte Carlo Fallacy...

  • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @02:24PM (#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 ) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @03:11PM (#41303893) Homepage

    Soooo, and you suggestion is??

    Fund more telescopes for NEO (and other object) discovery and tracking. We have a network of telescopes doing this, but it is woefully inadequate for searching the skies sufficiently thoroughly. Early detection of potential impactors is the only chance we have of saving ourselves if/when the Big One comes. And it's only an "if" because it might not happen for many millions of years and who knows if our ancestors will be around then.

    We should also be funding the development of the actual capability to deflect one. A gravity tractor craft is actually a pretty simple concept and achievable with todays tech given sufficient lead time, but I don't think we should risk the extra time it takes to go from concept to implementation once we do find one.

    The main thing is more detection and tracking, though, because the lead time is essential. This should be considered a major defense priority. But it seems to be hard for people to take it seriously enough, because nobody can say if it will happen in any of our lifetime's.

    Of course there's also the remote chance that an long-period comet hits us from the direction of the sun and we end up with basically no warning even with a ridiculously extensive discovery effort. In that case it's que sera sera.

  • by Hentes ( 2461350 ) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @03:13PM (#41303929)

    You sort of answered yourself. If he was talking about a regular cloud of objects hitting Earth then we are not overdue but already dodged it.

The last thing one knows in constructing a work is what to put first. -- Blaise Pascal