Reports: Astronomers capture impact on Jupiter's surface
This screenshot from George Hall's blog shows what is believed by some to be an impact on Jupiter's surface.
September 11th, 2012
04:08 PM ET

Reports: Astronomers capture impact on Jupiter's surface

A fireball thought to be an asteroid or comet hitting the surface of Jupiter was captured by two amateur astronomers early Monday, spaceweather.com reports.

One of the astronomers, identified as George Hall from Dallas,  posted a screen shot in multiple reports  and wrote about the discovery on his blog, George’s Astrophotography.

“The impact was observed by Dan Peterson visually this morning,” Hall wrote, crediting another space enthusiast with making the initial observation and posting what he saw online.

“When I saw the post, I went back and examined the videos that I had collected this morning …” he wrote in a post describing how he captured a video of the impact. “The video was captured with a 12" LX200GPS, 3x Televue Barlow, and Point Grey Flea 3 camera. The capture software was Astro IIDC.”

Hall posted a four-second video of the impact. He wrote that it was taken at about 6:35 a.m.  Monday on his Flickr page.

Spaceweather.com compares Hall’s images with other impacts to Jupiter’s surface reported by NASA in 2009 and 2010.

A NASA Science News post from September 2010 stated: “Jupiter is getting hit surprisingly often by small asteroids, lighting up the giant planet's atmosphere with frequent fireballs.”

The post went on to say that Jupiter is frequently hit by small objects, causing impacts “bright enough to see through backyard telescopes on Earth.”

SpaceWeather.com wrote: “Astronomers around the world will now begin monitoring the impact site for signs of debris - either the cindery remains of the impactor or material dredged up from beneath Jupiter's cloud tops.”

Are you an amateur astronomer with images of the Jupiter impact? Share your videos with us or write about your observations in the comments below.

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Filed under: In Space
soundoff (84 Responses)
  1. jaimie

    This is so interesting. Once a month or so the local astronomers get together with the public and look into the heavens. Im older but starting to get the bug!

    September 13, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
  2. Fritz

    Asteroid impacts on Jupiter are cool but what I want to know is how come Jupiter got nearly all the angular momentum of the Solar System and the Sun didn't get squat. That heavy gas ball rotates every 10 hours or so. Could Jupiter really be a failed star? Why can't you astronomers figure that out? Inquiring minds want to know.

    September 13, 2012 at 1:11 am |
    • AnAstronomer(NotReally)

      http://abyss.uoregon.edu/~js/ast221/lectures/lec17.html

      Try this link. It's pretty interesting.

      September 14, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
  3. Paul Cox

    As soon as we heard the news, we pointed the telescopes at Jupiter for the following 48hrs. I've just finished a Jupiter time-lapse from last night (http://goo.gl/CNoiv) – absolutely no sign of any impact soot from Monday's comet or asteroid hit.

    September 13, 2012 at 12:25 am |
  4. Major Tom

    One of those babies impact earth and it's Goodnight Irene. One million years of human existence on planet earth – gone for good in a few minutes, without so much as a trace. We are puny, and hanging on by a thread.

    September 12, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • Michael J.

      Actually, humans, as they are known today, have only been around for about 200,000 years.

      September 12, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
      • R F Weaver

        how do you know that?, were you told by someone or did you read it, or better still were you there?I dont think so, maybe you should keep an open mind like me.

        October 2, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • anon

      2deep5me

      September 13, 2012 at 11:37 am |
  5. JT

    Billions of dollars of equipment and the best footage look like a security video from Seven Eleven.

    September 12, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
    • GN

      The equipment used for this was amateur astronomy stuff that cost a few thousand. I take it you don't read closely.

      September 12, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • Michael J.

      Never talk again.

      September 12, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
  6. SPW

    Jupiter is the best body guard Earth could ever ask for.
    ❤ Jupiter, bros for life

    September 12, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • ri

      Werd

      September 12, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
      • jj

        NOT weird. Jupiter's huge gravitational pull sweeps up space debris, that otherwise might hit Earth.

        September 12, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
    • Farscape

      Naw bro.. the moon is way better bud. He always got our back.

      September 13, 2012 at 8:16 am |
  7. Bugs

    Maybe I should have taken that left toin at Albuquerque.

    September 12, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
  8. Sharp

    If Jupiter keeps adding mass like this in another billion years it could move up to being a Brown Dwarf Star. Whoopee.

    September 12, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
  9. Fabjan

    Jupiterian flatulence.

    September 12, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • Farscape

      What does your wife have to do with this?

      September 13, 2012 at 8:07 am |
  10. Patrick

    Nah. Just because Bush sat there reading "My Pet Goat" while we were under an attack that could have been prevented had he and his big Dick not ignored the warnings of the intelligence community doesn't mean Dim Son is responsible for events on Jupiter. Though I'm sure Bush has a great influence on Uranus, eh Sarge?

    September 12, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • YourSister

      So Patrick... how do you know about Bush's big dick?

      September 12, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
  11. WotW f

    If you play the video very slowly you can see "them" as they ride the light through the atmosphere on their way to their machine deep inside.

    There are those who believe that life here began out there, far across the Universe. With tribes of humans who may have been the forefathers of the Egyptians, or the Toltecs, or the Mayans. That they may have been the architects of the Great Pyramids, or the lost civilizations of Lemuria or Atlantis.
    Some believe that there may yet be brothers of man, who even now fight to survive–somewhere beyond the heavens

    September 12, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • Rick

      Excellent. The Cylons are near!

      September 12, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • M I Snow

      Quoting the intro to "Battlestar Galactica" isn't going to give you the proof you're looking for...

      September 12, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
  12. Bill

    See? This is what happens, when aliens from another system try to take short cuts through our solar system!

    September 12, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • KHM

      Now that's funny.

      September 12, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  13. mjcharron86

    At the end of the video, you can see a blast ring surrounding it. Amazing.

    September 12, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
  14. Piranha

    Nice to have a big brother planet Jupiter to shield us from all this intergallactic debris.

    September 12, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • J.B.B.

      Great comment P! And quitte accurate from what I've read!

      September 12, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
      • J.B.B.

        Sorry for the typo Piranha ... should have typed "quite". I guess a solar flare got in my eye. heh heh heh

        September 12, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
  15. mike

    When are we going to see a picture of Uranus?

    September 12, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • Jethro Bodine

      The unique attribute about Uranus is that it not only receives projectiles, but it also emits them as well.

      September 12, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
  16. OMar

    LMAO

    September 12, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • Apple

      Picture captured using iphone 5

      September 12, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  17. R. Flanders

    I don't believe this was an impact ... remember shoemaker-Levy 9? It left black clouds on the planet after impact ... this left no remnants as someone else suggested earlier. We should have seen something just after if it was an impact. I hope the video keeps rolling as I suspect we will see more soon.

    September 12, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • John Hix

      If not an impact then perhaps it was a launch. No geo activity on Jupiter.

      September 12, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  18. LargeNCharge

    Ya'all play the lotto ? You'll like 1 in 125,000 as your odds of Apophis paying us a visit on 04 13 2029

    September 12, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
  19. huh?

    We hand Nasa BILLIONS of OUR tax dollars and some yokle in his backyard witnesses this collision on a distant planet? PULL NASA'S FUNDING. ENOUGH ALREADY.

    September 12, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • Michael

      Wow you really are clueless. We don't give NASA funding to sit and stare at Jupiter every night NASA is charged with other pressing missions of far greater importance and besides the universe is a pretty big place no one can watch everywhere all the time.

      September 12, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • MDAT

      NASA is the only thing doing something good and very important in the US.

      September 12, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • JoeyE

      @huh? so you want NASA funding pull out? hmm hmm,, perhaps, if in alternative timeline, we pulled out funds for NASA and in the near future, we realized our Earth is facing doom and we couldn't escape our Earth to survive out there in space.. .. its your decision to make which we need to support fund or not..

      September 12, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
      • John Hix

        Oh yeah! Like you are going to get a ticket on that escape shuttle. Only Romney and the top 1 percent have reserved seats.

        September 12, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • Schmedley

      I think huh? is responsible for single-handedly dragging down the average IQ of the entire country by several points...

      September 12, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
      • Dee Jay

        Actually Schmed, I'd have to question the IQ of those who agree with funding NASA only for them to hoard all the REAL data while feeding us little tidbits of crap in order to keep the funding coming. We're suckers for not demanding that all NASA top officials kindly step away from their desks and leave permanently with only personal effects (coffee mug, etc.). We own everything in the building. If I see another moon image that has been "sanitized" (altered to hide what is actually there), I'm gonna puke!!

        January 13, 2013 at 4:06 am |
    • Desi

      Last year, there was more money allocated in our budge for air conditioning in Afghanistan than NASA.

      September 12, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
      • huhSupporter

        Desi – So what's your argument... "Hey... we're wasting even more money over here... so why not here too?" lol FAIL. So much for Medicare or SS... Desi wants AC in a war zone... oh... and excuses why NASA can't watch nine planets... lol FAIL.

        September 12, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • Farscape

      Huh and other idiots like him are the same ones that would complain if NASA was sitting around staring at Jupiter lol.

      September 12, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
      • huhSupporter

        farscape – Yeah.. how dare the U.S. taxpayers expect Nasa to watch the LOCAL universe... g_d forbid the collision had the potential to affect OUR planet... how dare Americans expect the SPACE AGENCY to monitor SPACE... right? How long have you run NASA? Right? You speak like a NASA-jusitifier. lol FAIL.

        September 12, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
      • MDAT

        Monitoring?They use state of the art material.They should have more money.Also they helped with commercial jet development.They feed the brain of humanity,science.They are the future.

        September 12, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
      • Farscape

        Thank you huhSupporter. You just proved my point.

        September 13, 2012 at 8:01 am |
    • huhSupporter

      I agree Huh? In fact, NASA has accomplished little more than regurgitating WWII Nasa bottle rocket technology while CONSUMING massive amounts of funding. The idea they can't "watch nine planets" using a couple of old computers is NASA-speak. "We're just too darn important to watch what's blowing up in our local universe." lol PULL NASA'S FUNDING. THE "PREP PARTY" is over.

      September 12, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
      • MDAT

        You don't know.NASA is much more important.Who got us to the moon?NASA.Many inventions came from them.

        September 12, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
      • Les Too

        NASA pluses- Teflon, ball bearing precision, miniature electronics, advanced computer technology, ceramics technology, precision medical monitoring equipment, solar flare warnings, weather satellites, food preservation and portable packaging, advanced metal alloys, wireless satellite and communications technology, incrfeased understanding of molecular and nuclear physics, use specific plastics, better emergency responder gear and equipment. And many more things.

        NASA negatives-0

        September 12, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
  20. LarryinDe

    On the website of the astronomer who recently discovered an interesting cloud formation on Mars and he reports that the fireball didn't cause an impact with any remnants. He shows pictures of Jupiter from yesterday morning (very good ones.)

    http://exosky.net/exosky/

    Larry

    September 12, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • Judas Priest

      Thank you for that link!

      September 12, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • huhSupporter

      very funny. NOT. That link opens GAY P0RN people.

      September 12, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
  21. james

    How can a ball of gas have a "surface?" Isn't Jupiter a gaseous planet? What exactly is getting hit by these asteroids and comets that hit Jupiter? I'm not trying to be flip, just seeking an explanation.

    September 12, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • Steve

      It is the atmosphere that is being hit. Similare to when a meteor hite earth. It is the burning as it travels through the atmosphere that is visible. The actual hit on the ground is not visible. I'm not sure if the gas on jupiter is ever dense enough to be classified as ground like we have here on Earth.

      September 12, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • thedoctor

      james,

      You are correct that Jupiter has no "surface," rather an every increasing density and pressure until it turns to liquid. The object doesn't necessarily "impact" but it does begin to burn up VERY quickly and if it shatters, all of it's energy is released at once, like an explosion. For extra credit, look up the Tunguska event.

      September 12, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • ct

      There is some kind of core or surface on Jupiter or it cant have magnetism.

      September 12, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • John Hix

      No surface but a strong gravity and atmosphere to burn up an asteroid.

      September 12, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
      • MDAT

        It does have a rock/metal core.And metallic hydrogen.

        September 12, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
  22. fiftyfive55

    Sure wish we could have seen more of this event,this is really fantastic science and glad we have people around to see and share these things with us.

    September 12, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
  23. mordrud

    Look, I ain't sayin it's aliens..........but........it's aliens.

    September 12, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • mordrud

      My other go to was:
      hey...at least it avoided Uranus. but that's more of a verbal joke than a written one.

      September 12, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
  24. Deane

    It would have been so cool to be viewing Jupiter when the impact took place. Jupiter is fascinating enough even when it's not being hit by something. Way to go, backyard astronomers!

    September 12, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
  25. Chubby

    Had a telescope but the judge ordered it removed.

    September 12, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • Peeper

      LOL. Me too, should have been pointing it at the sky rather than the neighbor's window

      September 12, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
  26. David

    I thought Jupiter didnt have a solid surface?

    September 12, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • Seraphim0

      It doesn't, but entry into an atmosphere causes heat due to friction. Since Jupiter is a gas giant, some of the contents of its atmosphere can catch fire briefly, hence a fireball effect upon 'impact.'

      September 12, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Deane

      True, the article is technically misleading about Jupiter's "surface" being hit. It would be better to say it hit the atmosphere.

      September 12, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • hecep

      It does have a solid surface at its center, which basically, last I read, amounted to a giant diamond.

      September 12, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
      • Curtis

        I don't think it is believed to be a diamond (compressed carbon), but rather metallic hydrogen. It is the likely source of its immense magnetic field.

        September 12, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
      • MDAT

        No.It is a rock and metal core.

        September 12, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
      • JoeyE

        iron/nickel is a must for a core to run an electromagnetic field.. hydrogen does not. Our Sun had plenty of iron in it's core. therefore it works for magnetic as well as gravity

        September 12, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
      • MDAT

        Metallic hydrogen does work with a magnetic field.It makes up much of Jupiter.

        September 12, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • Jose

      Basic science should tell you that Jupiter has a solid core. Denser materials always sink. So imagine all the rocky meteors etc that have crashed into Jupiter. All the denser materials will all eventually sink to the center. So yeah it has a solid core, probably larger than Earth.

      September 12, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
  27. sybaris

    Pssshya..........comet.

    Now Jupiter has its Roswell

    September 12, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
  28. Alaska

    Maybe one of these asteroids will target the Mars rover.

    September 12, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • CP in FL

      Is that you Sarah Palin? I know you can see Russia from your porch, can you also see Jupiter? How exactly can an asteroid target a rover on another planet?

      September 12, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
      • derp

        While galloping through the heavens on his mighty velociraptor, Jesus would fire one off from his asteroid cannon, it is kinda like those t-shirt cannons they use at tractor pulls.

        September 12, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
      • Judas Priest

        @Derp:

        Win.

        September 12, 2012 at 4:34 pm |

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