Jupiter Hit by Meteor Yesterday

Jupiter has once again been hit by an object…… and it wasn’t seen by a professional astronomer. This impact was observed by the same Australian amateur astronomer who reported the last impact on Jupiter which had left a visible scar on Jupiter.

Anthony Wesley is a computer programmer in Canberra who yesterday witnessed a giant impact on Jupiter using his custom built telescope. This apparently has not left a scar as did the last impact and experts believe that Jupiter may have been hit by a meteor. And considering it was a large impact it is possible this was a fairly sizeable meteor.

Yesterday's Impact on Jupiter (Click to Enlarge)

This second observation by an Australian amateur astronomer is the entire reason why people should turn their scopes to the night sky. The universe is so large there is a lot happening up there and any one of us watching the skies may be the first to see some cosmic event.

The question at hand is why are events like this seen more by amatuer astronomers than professional astronomers. The reason is that on any given night you would have a hundred or so amateur astronomers around the globe observing Jupiter over 24 hours depending on the weather. These numbers of observers  means sighting like this are more likely to be observed by amateurs these days.

Even if your telescope is not powerful enough to see Jupiter in detail, you never know what you might see when observing our moon for instance? Imagine witnessing an impact on the lunar surface with your backyeard telescope.

Getting back to Jupiter’s impact yesterday, considering that the last impact on Jupiter was just 11 months ago, this could suggest that both impacts may have been pieces from an asteroid which is passing Jupiter around this time each year. Something we will look into over the next few days in Asteroid Watch.

The picture above is our impression of what yesteray’s impact on Jupiter may have looked like. We will know in the next day or so if there have been any impact marks left on Jupiter.

~ by sydneystargazers on June 4, 2010.

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