Jupiter has always been in the spotlight because of its massive size and the phenomenon of the Great Red Spot. But this time this gas giant has snatched the attention of astronomers due to a blast happended in its upper atmosphere probably cuased by a space rock.
On 13 September 2021, astronomer Harald Paleske from Germany and Jose Luis Pereira from Brazil noticed and recorded an apparent impact on Jupiter while recording the shadow of Io (one of Jupiter’s moons) passing from the planet.
“A bright flash of light surprised me. It could only be an impact,” said German astrophotographer Harald Paleske to SpaceWeather.
Some other amateur astronomers including Simone Galelli, Jean-Paul Arnould, Michel Jacquesson, Thibaut Humbert, Stephane Barre, Alexis Desmougin, and Didier Walliang also recorded the impact, reports ScienceAlert.
According to Harald Paleske, the fireball (bright flash of light) was at 106.9 degrees of latitude, +3.8 degrees of longitude and was there for about 2 seconds.
The origin and nature of flash are still a part of the mystery. It is assumed that it may be originated from an asteroid but not sure. Astronomers are also searching for any sign of disruption on the Planet’s surface because maybe an asteroid collides with Jupiter.
This count as the eighted impact observed on Jupiter after the first one observed in 1994 of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 4, a result of planet’s tidal forces and build a string of impacts. The recent impact was captured in 2019, the object smashing Jupiter was 12 to 16m in diameter (40 to 50 feet) and have a mass of about 450 tons with stony-iron composition.
However, observing things or detecting them on the gas giant will somehow make us understand Jupiter’s role as a cosmic vacuum cleaner shielding Earth from rocks.