(Image source: George Hall / Space.com)

BY STEVEN SPARKMAN

An explosion on Jupiter was captured on video earlier this week, and is reminding space fans how lucky Earth is to have its big brother.

Astronomer Dan Peterson just happened to be observing Jupiter when a comet or asteroid struck it, causing a huge explosion. Another astronomer, George Hall, just happened to be recording at the time. (Video via Space.com)

A writer for Yahoo! News Canada estimates the impact would have caused a 20-megaton blast on Earth, enough to level a city.

It’s the fourth collision event observed on Jupiter since 2009. It was once thought these events were rare, but astronomers now say Jupiter gets hit pretty often. And NBC and WPTV note Earthlings owe the gas giant a little gratitude.

“Jupiter is the so-called vacuum cleaner of our solar system. It’s so big it draws in meteors that could otherwise threaten our own planet.”

“You could liken it to a blitz coming and the running back picking up the blitz.”
“Boom, big old fullback, jumping right in the middle. Known as Jupiter.”


While it’s not known whether this particular object was headed straight for Earth, astronomers say life on Earth wouldn’t stand much of a chance if we didn’t have our cosmic shield.

What’s more, New Scientist notes seeing these events gives us an idea just how crowded the outer solar system is, especially with objects 100 meters across or less — too small to see with telescopes.

Astronomers are now checking to see if the impact left a mark in Jupiter’s atmosphere. That could help determine whether it was a comet or asteroid, and how big it was. Amateur astronomers are joining the hunt, which a writer for DVICE says is fitting.

“Possibly the coolest thing about this event is that the only reason we know about it is because a guy named Dan in Texas was looking at Jupiter through a telescope when it happened. It wasn't NASA and it wasn't some giant telescope on top of a mountain somewhere...”

The most famous Jupiter impact, the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9, occurred in 1994. It was the first time a collision was observed on another planet.

Asteroid Strike on Jupiter Seen by Amateur Skygazers

by Steven Sparkman
1
Transcript
Sep 13, 2012

Asteroid Strike on Jupiter Seen by Amateur Skygazers

(Image source: George Hall / Space.com)

BY STEVEN SPARKMAN

An explosion on Jupiter was captured on video earlier this week, and is reminding space fans how lucky Earth is to have its big brother.

Astronomer Dan Peterson just happened to be observing Jupiter when a comet or asteroid struck it, causing a huge explosion. Another astronomer, George Hall, just happened to be recording at the time. (Video via Space.com)

A writer for Yahoo! News Canada estimates the impact would have caused a 20-megaton blast on Earth, enough to level a city.

It’s the fourth collision event observed on Jupiter since 2009. It was once thought these events were rare, but astronomers now say Jupiter gets hit pretty often. And NBC and WPTV note Earthlings owe the gas giant a little gratitude.

“Jupiter is the so-called vacuum cleaner of our solar system. It’s so big it draws in meteors that could otherwise threaten our own planet.”

“You could liken it to a blitz coming and the running back picking up the blitz.”
“Boom, big old fullback, jumping right in the middle. Known as Jupiter.”


While it’s not known whether this particular object was headed straight for Earth, astronomers say life on Earth wouldn’t stand much of a chance if we didn’t have our cosmic shield.

What’s more, New Scientist notes seeing these events gives us an idea just how crowded the outer solar system is, especially with objects 100 meters across or less — too small to see with telescopes.

Astronomers are now checking to see if the impact left a mark in Jupiter’s atmosphere. That could help determine whether it was a comet or asteroid, and how big it was. Amateur astronomers are joining the hunt, which a writer for DVICE says is fitting.

“Possibly the coolest thing about this event is that the only reason we know about it is because a guy named Dan in Texas was looking at Jupiter through a telescope when it happened. It wasn't NASA and it wasn't some giant telescope on top of a mountain somewhere...”

The most famous Jupiter impact, the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9, occurred in 1994. It was the first time a collision was observed on another planet.

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