Amateur Astronomer Films Mystery Object Hitting Jupiter

Posted: Mar 30 2016, 7:28am CDT | by , Updated: Mar 30 2016, 7:30am CDT, in News | Latest Science News


Amateur Astronomer Films Mystery Object Hitting Jupiter
The flash from a new impact on Jupiter (arrow) is seen in this still from a video taken through a telescope by amateur astronomer John McKeon of Swords, Ireland on March 17, 2016. Credit: John McKeon
  • The Planet Jupiter was Hit by an Object

Astronomers are in a tizzy. The planet Jupiter was recently hit by an object that may have been a comet or an asteroid.

The view captured on telescopic video camera shows the planet Jupiter having a smaller object slam into its side. Most likely it is a comet or an asteroid.

Although the object was not very big, it resulted in a fairly large explosion on the surface of the gaseous giant. It appeared like a small point of light which collided with the side of the planet. 

The collision occurred on March 17th. However, corroboration regarding the cataclysmic event took place this week. An Austrian astronomer employed a 20 cm telescope to observe the event.

There is a chance that it was just an optical illusion. Such things happen and you can never tell fantasy from reality. However, according to the latest evidence, another sighting in Ireland confirmed the fact.

The asteroid was relatively small being only a few hundred feet in diameter, according to However, it is not the size alone that matters in such encounters. The object was travelling at great speed and thus created a huge impact upon striking the nebulous surface of Jupiter.  

Since most such objects hit Jupiter with five times the speed they normally act with on our home planet, the impact would have been 25 times as well.

Take the asteroid that hit Chelyabinsk, Russia about three years ago. It exploded with the energy of 500,000 tons of TNT. If you were to multiply this with 25, you get a pretty good idea of what a terrific impact this object had on the surface of Jupiter.

At such high speeds, the impact is like hitting a solid wall. Although the atmosphere of Jupiter is mostly gaseous, the pressures involved at such high velocities lead to massive explosions. This is exactly what happened.   

The asteroid is blown to smithereens after it heats up. The effect is catastrophic. A big bang occurred that would have really scared us all had it ever happened on earth.

This is not the first time that Jupiter has been hit with an object from outer space. In the mid 90s, it was also hit by a rock of the same kind.

This consisted of pieces from Shoemaker-Levy 9. Also in 2010 and 2012 such an occurrence happened. About once a year, Jupiter gets hit by some object, large or small. 

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
Sumayah Aamir (Google+) has deep experience in analyzing the latest trends.




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