Update Saturday, June 5: Researchers are currently analyzing the video footage taken by the two amateur space sleuths of the Jupiter impact and are trying to figure out how big the rock and resulting explosion was. Nearly two days after the collision there are no reports yet of any dark debris field developing. But very early guesstimates are that the rock may have been under 10 meters across and the explosion may have been equal in power of two Hiroshima sized atomic bombs. We are also awaiting to see what the Hubble space telescope may have picked up. Stay tuned for more details to come…
Yesterday,Thursday late afternoon (4:31 pm Eastern time) two amateur space sleuths captured live a bright flash on Jupiter’s southern hemisphere. Experts are thinking it was either a comet or asteroid that smacked Jupiter this time. Super weird is the timing…just after NASA released detailed information on last year’s impact on Jupiter – which was seen by the same backyard stargazers too!
Here is the short video…look for the pinprick burst of light on the lower right of Jupiter.
credit: Christopher Go, Philippines
The thinking is that it was either an asteroid or comet. Scientists are now racing to get both professional and amateur astronomers to train their telescopes on the gas giant to see what kind of scar will be left behind this latest impact. If it is anything like last year’s impact event it should leave behind a dark debris field in the clouds that may become visible over the next few days.
Here is a finder chart on where you will find Jupiter the next week or so. Note that the Moon will be perched just above the planet on Sunday morning, making it especially easy to find the planet if you have never seen it before.
For more details on the impact check out my new National Geographic News story.
Posted in Uncategorized | 222 Comments »