Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Large ' object ' crashes into Jupiter

Scientists are puzzled over a large object which recently crashed into Jupiter and left large impressions in the giant planet:

Jupiter has apparently been smacked again by a rogue object hurtling through space, new images from amateur astronomers and NASA reveal.

"I'd noticed a dark spot rotating into view in Jupiter's south polar region and was starting to get curious," Wesley went on. "When first seen close to the limb (and in poor conditions) it was only a vaguely dark spot, I thought likely to be just a normal dark polar storm. However as it rotated further into view, and the conditions also improved, I suddenly realized that it wasn't just dark, it was black in all channels, meaning it was truly a black spot."

The spot, Wesley added, was moving too slow to be a moon and his previous observations from two days earlier showed a pristine, spotless Jupiter. A short while later, he decided to begin contacting people to spread the news of his find.

Orton and his team haven't stopped tracking Jupiter, which is a gas giant and the largest planet in the solar system.

The near-infrared image collected by his team revealed the odd blemish, which appeared to have a bright center, and what looked like debris to the northwest of the likely impact site.

"It could be the impact of a comet, but we don't know for sure yet," Orton said. "It's been a whirlwind of a day, and this on the anniversary of the Shoemaker-Levy 9 and Apollo anniversaries is amazing."

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markymint said...

Well done the amateur astronomers. Keep probing the sky, don't let NASA get away with their...ahem...different theories :)

Bob_K said...

Are you crazy? That's the impact of the largest piece of comet Shumaker-Levy and it's shock wave. Estimated to be the size of Mt. Everest at impact.

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