Astronomers around the world have witnessed the collision of an unknown object with Jupiter. Several of the most successful photographers have managed to capture this event, the apotheosis of which was a bright flash on the surface of the giant planet.
How informs Earth Sky, a truly striking event took place on September 13, 2021. At night, observers from all over the world followed Jupiter. Their attention was riveted to the passing of the shadow of its satellite Io across the surface of this planet.
Measured observations were interrupted by a bright flash. Several successful astrophotographers managed to photograph it, who have already shared their images on specialized astronomical sites.
So, the astronomer from Germany Harald Paleske managed to take pictures. In an interview with SpaceWeather.com, he toldwho was watching Io’s dark shadow crossing the surface of Jupiter when he noticed something unusual. “I was surprised by the bright flash of light,” he admitted. “It could only have been a blow.”
Note that Paleske filmed the passage of Io’s shadow on video. Later, he looked at his recording and calculated that the event he recorded lasted only two seconds. A second successful amateur astronomer came to a similar conclusion. Jose Luis Pereira from Brazil also managed to capture the fireball. The event was later confirmed by the French astrophotographer J.P. Arnault, who was also fortunate enough to photograph it.
It is too early to say what kind of object crashed into Jupiter. Collisions of asteroids with this planet occur quite often. The researchers hope to identify the unknown object from the photographs and videos taken. According to preliminary estimates, it could be an asteroid about 100 meters across.
At the moment, observers around the world are aiming their telescopes at Jupiter. They hope to find a dark mark or temporary “scar” that may have formed as a result of the impact. This is exactly what happened during the most famous collision with Jupiter, which happened in July 1994. Then comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 crashed into the gas giant. The event was predicted, so professional observatories followed it. They were ready to register a powerful collision, but along the way, the comet was torn apart by the planet’s gravitational forces and turned into a plume of its own debris.