Jupiter Is Hit by a Space Rock, Captured by an Amateur Astronomer.
The moment a space asteroid crashed with Jupiter was photographed by an amateur astronomer. The debris collided with the gas giant, which is the largest planet in the solar system, at 6:39 p.m. EDT on Monday, causing a burst of light on its surface.
While photographing and filming Jupiter from So Caetano do Sul, So Paulo, Brazilian astronomy enthusiast José Luis Pereira captured the space rock striking Jupiter’s upper atmosphere and splitting up in dramatic fashion.
The amateur astronomer was initially unaware of the significance of what he had witnessed.
“To my astonishment, I saw a strange light on the planet in the first video,” he told Space.com, “but I didn’t pay much attention to it because I believed it might be something related to the parameters adopted, and I continued viewing normally.”
Pereira only discovered what he had captured on tape after uploading the videos to a tool developed by the Planetary Virtual Observatory & Laboratory to detect impacts on Jupiter.
“On the morning of the 14th, when the software alerted me to the high possibility of impact, I reviewed the result and confirmed that there was actually a record in the first film of the night,” says the author.
Pereira informed Marc Delcroix of the French Astronomical Society about his discovery, and he confirmed the impact. The Astroqueyras Observatory in Saint-Véran, France, also recorded it.
The observatory posted the video to the YouTube account SLA astronomie54, which shows the impact in a slightly different light.
Jupiter is no stranger to space junk with asteroids and comets colliding with it. The second-largest body in the solar system after our sun not only has a vast radius of 43,440.7 miles, but its gravitational pull can also pull smaller objects towards it. That’s why it’s been dubbed the “vacuum cleaner of the solar system” by some scientists.
The main asteroid belt, which separates Jupiter from the rocky worlds of the inner solar system, Mars, Earth, Venus, and Mercury, is encircled by a torus of asteroids.
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