Jupiter pummeled

Something slammed into Jupiter over the weekend, creating a massive bruise that was picked up by amateur Australian astronomer Anthony Wesley. Now, University of California astronomer Paul Kalas has used the Keck II telescope in Hawaii to better capture an image of the moon-sized blemish. The near infrared image shows a bright spot in Jupiter’s southern hemisphere, where the impact propelled reflective particles high into the relatively clear stratosphere. In visible light, the bruise appears dark against the bright surface of Jupiter.

The impact covers a 190-million-square-kilometer area as big as the Pacific Ocean. Because of the complex shape of the explosion, it is possible that tidal effects fragmented the impactor – a comet or asteroid -shortly before it collided with the planet.

The observation made with the Keck II telescope marks only the second time astronomers have seen the results of an impact on the planet. Interestingly, the first collision occurred exactly 15 years ago, between July 16 and 22, 1994, when more than 20 fragments of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 collided with Jupiter.

The Shoemaker-Levy 9 (SL9) impact events were well-studied by astronomers, and many theories were subsequently developed based on the observations. “Now we have a chance to test these ideas on a brand new impact event,” said Kalas.

“The analysis of the shape and brightness of the feature will help in determining the energy and the origin of the impactor,” said Frank Marchis, who worked with Kalas to image the bruise. “We don’t see other bright features along the same latitude, so this was most likely the result of a single asteroid, not a chain of fragments like for SL9.”

Later this week, astronomers plan to conduct high-resolution visible and ultraviolet observations of the impact site using the Hubble Space Telescope’s brand new Wide Field Camera 3. Ground-based facilities including the W. M. Keck telescope will also use adaptive optics to obtain much sharper infrared images of the impact’s aftermath.

Related:
New Red Spot Emerges On Jupiter
Turbulent Times On Jupiter

Source: University of California – Berkeley
Pic courtesy Paul Kalas (UCB), Michael Fitzgerald (LLNL/UCB), Franck Marchis (SETI Institute/UCB), James Graham (UCB)

, ,

Comments are closed.

Fred H. Schwan Jupiter Star of David Tacoma Wash German Make Straight Razor picture

Fred H. Schwan Jupiter Star of David Tacoma Wash German Make Straight Razor

$59.99



Jupiter 2 [from Lost in Space] - Large - includes battery-powered lights picture

Jupiter 2 [from Lost in Space] - Large - includes battery-powered lights

$240.00



Rare Ancient Roman Statue of Jupiter God of Sky in Ancient Roman Egypt BC picture

Rare Ancient Roman Statue of Jupiter God of Sky in Ancient Roman Egypt BC

$126.00



Sailor Moon Sailor Jupiter Makoto Kino Action Figure Cake Topper Home Car Decor picture

Sailor Moon Sailor Jupiter Makoto Kino Action Figure Cake Topper Home Car Decor

$7.99



JUPITER 8 DRP BOTTOM DROP FOOD, MEAT GRINDER picture

JUPITER 8 DRP BOTTOM DROP FOOD, MEAT GRINDER

$25.00



Trendmasters Classic LOST IN SPACE JUPITER 2 SPACESHIP - Tested and Works picture

Trendmasters Classic LOST IN SPACE JUPITER 2 SPACESHIP - Tested and Works

$169.99



VTG Jupiter Color Organ Maytronics  Modulated Light TESTED Mid Century Pair picture

VTG Jupiter Color Organ Maytronics Modulated Light TESTED Mid Century Pair

$299.00



Funko POP SAILOR MOON : #93 Sailor Jupiter (Vinyl Figure)  picture

Funko POP SAILOR MOON : #93 Sailor Jupiter (Vinyl Figure)

$30.00



Bonfils. Greece, Athens, Temple of Jupiter Olympian Vintage Albumen Print. Feli picture

Bonfils. Greece, Athens, Temple of Jupiter Olympian Vintage Albumen Print. Feli

$192.23



Sailor Moon Girls Memory Break Time Figure Sailor Jupiter figure 4.75” No Sofa picture

Sailor Moon Girls Memory Break Time Figure Sailor Jupiter figure 4.75” No Sofa

$85.00



Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes