A bright flash was noticed on Jupiter: What happened

An amateur astronomer from Japan recorded the eerie moment when a cosmic body exploded as a result of a collision with Jupiter. The huge gas giant is known for its powerful gravity, leading to such spectacular collisions.

In general, this collision was not particularly powerful compared to previous ones — astronomers have not found long-term visible effects on the Jovian atmosphere. Nevertheless, it became an occasion for discussion among scientists.

Planetary scientist Heidi B. Hammel, who works with the James Webb Space Telescope, shared her impressions on social networks: “There was another impact on Jupiter last night! The bright flash is a bolide — a shooting star in the atmosphere of Jupiter.”

Bolides, also known as fireballs, are a fairly common phenomenon not only for Jupiter. Every year, a certain number of such objects enter the Earth’s atmosphere. However, most of them burn up quickly at high altitude or are observed over the ocean and other sparsely populated regions of the planet.

Artist’s impressions of the fall of a comet on Jupiter during its entry into the upper atmosphere of the planet

Although this particular bolide probably did not lead to serious consequences for Jupiter, other collisions in the past have left their mark on it. In 1994, the gas giant was bombarded by debris from comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 (D/1993 F2). It caused the appearance of huge dark scars in the Jovian atmosphere, raising incandescent plumes into the stratosphere. 

Heidi B. Hammel, who at the time led observations of the comet using the Hubble Space Telescope, sees this collision as a turning point in the relationship between Earth and asteroids. 

“The Shoemaker-Levy 9 collision was a kind of punch in the stomach. It strengthened our understanding of how important it is to monitor asteroids and comets and understand what threat they pose to the Earth in the future,” the scientist recalls.

Now experts are studying ways to prevent this threat. An important element of Earth’s protection was the DART mission, implemented by NASA last year — its main goal was a collision with the asteroid Dimorphos. It has helped to achieve significant progress in the development of asteroid defense systems.

Earlier we told amazing facts about Jupiter.

According to Mashable

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