June 10, 2010

Last week something crashed into Jupiter and it was caught on camera - by two amateur astronomers!  Anthony Wesley of Australia and Christopher Go of the Philippines each recorded an impact event on Jupiter.


 This is Anthony Wesley’s photograph, and if you click on this link, you can see a short video that Christopher Go made using his photographs of the event. The strike occurred at 20:31 UT* on June 3rd and produced a bright flash of light in Jupiter’s clouds. No one knows what crashed into Jupiter - it was probably an asteroid or a comet. In either case, a charcoal-colored circle will probably develop around the debris field; that’s what has happened after previous Jupiter impacts. Astronomers are watching to see what happens next!

 * Astronomers often mark events in UT, which stands for Universal Time. It is the same as Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), which is mean solar time at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, England. GMT is five hours ahead of the East Coast of the US and eight hours ahead of the West Coast. UT is almost always uses military time, or the 24-hour clock. So, 20:31 is what we would call 8:31 pm.

Photo credit: Anthony Wesley, Broken Hill Australia



Posted by: Liz Nealon

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