A frame from Austrian observer Gerrit Kernbauer’s video of Jupiter from March 17, 2016
Two amateur videos recorded on March 17 show a brief but bright flash that appears to be an impact on Jupiter.
One observer, Gerrit Kernbauer, posted his video on YouTube and commented that he “..found this strange light spot that appeared for less than one second on the edge of the planetary disc. Thinking back to Shoemaker-Levy 9, my only explanation for this is an asteroid or comet that enters Jupiters high atmosphere and burned up/explode very fast.”
Observer John McKeon also caught the flash on video:
Sky & Telescope reports that although the timing of the impact in both videos is a bit off, the event appears to be real:
Apparently the impacting object, be it an asteroid or comet, was rather small. “Nobody sees any debris field associated with that part of the atmosphere,” notes Glenn Orton (Jet Propulsion Laboratory). Apparently mission managers decided against slewing the Hubble Space Telescope around to take a quick look.
If the evidence for the impact holds up, it would be the fifth such event in the last ten years or so. The largest was first spotted by Australian astro-imager Anthony Wesley and occurred on July 19, 2009. It left a distinctly dark “powder burn” in Jupiter’s upper atmosphere.
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Contributed by Lily Dane of The Daily Sheeple.
Lily Dane is a staff writer for The Daily Sheeple. Her goal is to help people to “Wake the Flock Up!”