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Fireballs Light Up Jupiter!

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posted on Sep, 10 2010 @ 04:47 AM

Sept. 9, 2010: In a paper published today in the Astrophysical Journal Letters, a group of professional and amateur astronomers announced that Jupiter is getting hit surprisingly often by small asteroids, lighting up the giant planet's atmosphere with frequent fireballs.

"Jupiter is a big gravitational vacuum cleaner," says co-author and JPL astronomer Glenn Orton. "It is clear now that relatively small objects left over from the formation of the solar system 4.5 billion years ago still hit Jupiter frequently."

The impacts are bright enough to see through backyard telescopes on Earth. Indeed, amateur astronomers were the first to detect them, recording two fireballs in 2010 alone—one on June 3rd and another on August 20th.

You may of been aware of these impacts when they were first reported, and if not well hopefully now you might be.
But what is truly amazing is that these impacts were first observed by backyard amature astronomers, before then it wasn't thought that these small impacts could be observed. Maybe you recall seeing an occasional mysterious dark spot appear in recent times which were thought to be the leftovers from a meteor impact but it just was not witnessed.

Well with nearly constant monitoring of Jupiter now by thousands of amature astronomers around the globe this year we have been able to witness these impacts and in real time for some. This is important data for scientists to help try and understand more about the solar systems meteoroid population.

This video is from the 3rd of June 2010 shot by Anthony Wesley of Australia and the same impact was confirmed as being witnessed by Christopher Go of the Phillipines.

And the August impact by Masayuki Tachikawa, Japan .

There are some other videos on the website linked above.

And here is the paper from the Astrophysics journal.
1.First Earth-based Detection of a Superbolide on Jupiter

So basically

Cool stuff.

edit on 10-9-2010 by pazcat because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 10 2010 @ 06:55 AM
Here is another couple of articles from today with video. They all pretty much say the same thing.

The object that caused the June 3 fireball was 30 to 40 feet wide (8 to 13 meters). The object is comparable in size to the asteroid 2010 RF12 that flew by Earth Wednesday, and slightly larger than the asteroid 2008 TC3, which burned up above Sudan two years ago.

The energy released by the June 3 fireball as it collided with Jupiter's atmosphere was between a fifth and a tenth of the 1908 Tunguska event on Earth, which knocked over tens of millions of trees in a remote part of Russia.

Analysis is continuing on the Aug. 20 fireball, but scientists said it was comparable to the June 3 object.


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