Amateur astronomer discovers meteor impact on Jupiter

A backyard astronomer has discovered that Jupiter was recently impacted by an asteroid or a comet leaving a large mark on the surface of the planet. On July 19th Anthony Wesley was photographing Jupiter's big red spot when something of interest entered his field of view.

He was initially unsure of what the large black spot may have been, but when remembering what the impacts from the Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 hitting Jupiter in 1994 looked like, it was clear that it was an impact site.

The impact occurred on the dark side of the planet and did not become known to humans until Anthony's discovering. Even NASA was perplexed as it was not expecting an impact on the large gas giant and took pictures using Hubble even though it was still finishing up some testing after its most recent service mission.

"Simon-Miller estimated that the diameter of the object that slammed into Jupiter was at least twice the size of several football fields. The force of the explosion on Jupiter was thousands of times more powerful than the suspected comet or asteroid that exploded over the Tunguska River Valley in Siberia in June 1908"

An event like this is usually regarded as extremely rare but considering the last major impact in the known universe was 14 years ago it shows that these impacts are not as rare as once thought.

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

DFI Lanparty UT X58-T3eH8 and JR X58-T3H6 X58 mobos review

Next Story

Microsoft releases XP mode RC for Windows 7

37 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

Good thing Jupiter has such a strong magnetic pull or else we would be hit by this. If it was headed in our direction.

Blob said,
Good thing Jupiter has such a strong magnetic pull or else we would be hit by this. If it was headed in our direction.

Nothing to do with magnetism, its gravity baby!

this made me LOL

... the diameter of the object that slammed into Jupiter was at least twice the size of several football fields

how do you estimate that? then I could say the diameter of it was at least twice the size of several ant colonies... lol

Several is an indefinite small nummber (technically it is more than 2 and usually it would be less than 10). So no you could not say it was "at least twice the size of several ant colonies". But yes its a very bad guide. Its like when people say thousands its generally assumed to be between aprox 2,000 and 19,000, if it was 20,000 you would say tens of thousands.

Most people can imagine a football field... then can multiply it a few times and then double it. I would say he means between 4-20 fields.... but why he didnt say that I have no idea.

A backyard astronomer has discovered that Jupiter was recently impacted by an asteroid or a commet leaving a large mark on the surface of the planet.

What is a "commet"?

With Jupiter being a gas giant, would that not be a hole in it's cloud layers, and not a mark on the surface?

Re-read the first line of the article.

"A backyard astronomer has discovered that Jupiter was recently impacted by an asteroid or a commet leaving a large mark on the surface of the planet."

In this case it is warranted, because Neowin posted this story right after it happened! Threads around here get locked if they have already been posted earlier, why should we put up with news posters reposting a story that has already been on the news page?

qdave said,
enough of this "omgz old story"!!! stuff.

Not everyone has heard about it (me for example, i dont get much news) so I appreciate it... interesting story

Amateur astronomer? I saw this story on NASA some weeks back?

Edit: Or wait.. Maybe this blog is just now posting its article on what happened a while ago... And that other sources reported on this pretty much immediately, although it was the very same astronomer discovering the impact.

Jugalator said,
Amateur astronomer? I saw this story on NASA some weeks back?

Edit: Or wait.. Maybe this blog is just now posting its article on what happened a while ago... And that other sources reported on this pretty much immediately, although it was the very same astronomer discovering the impact.

It was an Amateur astronomer who originally notified NASA. This is just an old story making its way back to neowin.