Big Fireball on Jupiter Spotted by Amateur Astronomers By SPACE.com Staff posted: 04 June 2010 08:33 am ET
A huge fireball has been spotted on Jupiter in yet another collision from space caught on camera and video by amateur astronomers.
The new Jupiter crash occurred on June 3 at 20:31 UT (4:31 p.m. Eastern Time) and was spotted by skywatcher Anthony Wesley in Australia and fellow amateur astronomer Christopher Go in the Philippines.
Wesley's photos show the Jupiter fireball blazing in the atmosphere of the gas giant planet. So far, no visible scar in the clouds has been reported from the event.
This new impact on Jupiter comes less than a year after a spectacular crash on July 19, 2009, when what scientist now think was an asteroid about 1,600 feet (500 meters) wide slammed into the planet. That collision created a massive bruise the size of the Pacific Ocean. [Gallery: Jupiter gets smacked.]Wesley described the event as a "large fireball" on his website, where he posted the photos taken from Broken Hill, Australia.
It was Wesley, too, who first spotted the July 2009 collision. His observations kicked off an international observation campaign to study the impact site.
Astronomers initially suspected a comet in last year's impact, but announced this week that a rogue asteroid was the most likely culprit.
And Jupiter has been smacked before.
In 1994, the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 broke into more than 20 pieces and pelted Jupiter repeatedly. At the time, astronomers estimated such impacts could occur on Jupiter every 50 to 250 years. So they were surprised by the July 2009 impact.