Two amateur astronomers, Anthony Wesley in Australia and Christopher Go in the Philippines independently spotted a meteor strike on the surface of the planet Jupiter
According to Heidi Hammel of the Space Science Institute in Boulder Colorado, the impact has all the markings of a Jovian ‘bolide’ impact.
This is the second time a large object has been documented slamming into Jupiter’s surface within a year. The first occurred on July 19, 2009. Coincidentally, that impact was also witnessed by Anthony Wesley (he needs to buy me a lottery ticket ;)) Both impacts caused an Earth sized fireball to explode into the atmosphere.
That’s right kiddies, that little blip you’re seeing in right side of the frame is the size of our planet. Kinda makes you feel rather small doesn’t it. Maybe I don’t need to diet after all.
According to the National Geographic, scientists are gearing up to study the latest strike:
Scientists are now racing to get professional and amateur astronomers to train their telescopes on the gas giant to see what kind of scar will be left behind by this latest impact and hopefully what kind of object hit the giant planet.
Experts believe the collision should produce a dark debris field in Jupiter’s clouds—similar to the previous impact site—which may become visible over the next few days.
“We don’t know if there is a dark site yet, since this appears be a small impact,” Hammel said. “We are working on getting telescopes around the world in gear for followup work, including the world’s largest telescopes and [the] Hubble” Space Telescope.
So, if you’re an amateur astronomer or if you know of one, this could be your chance! Get those telescopes trained on Jupiter. Hopefully, it isn’t little green men looking for a site to launch their invasion of Earth. Good Luck!
Watch the skies!