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Impact On Jupiter Observed By Amateur Astronomers

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the mere-pimple dept.

Space 53

Omomyid and other readers send in the news that the bright flash of an impact on Jupiter has been observed — and caught on film — by amateur astronomers. That WMV is from amateur Christopher Go. Here's Anthony Wesley's video (45 MB AVI; the site is already overloaded). In the larger video you can see the impact lasting for a couple of seconds, and a good deal of structure is visible. The amateurs report that no dark debris field developed around the impact site in the time before it rotated out of sight; this may indicate that the impactor burned up high in Jupiter's atmosphere. Soon professional astronomers, and possibly Hubble, will be on the job.

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wtf AGAIN (2, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32457516)

Wasn't there a similar impact last year observed around this time as well? /offtopic Coincidentally, I posted about this on my site this morning

Re:wtf AGAIN (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32457582)

by the same guy as well! he must have a telescope pointed at jupiter at all times.

Re:wtf AGAIN (4, Funny)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 4 years ago | (#32457608)

Could be worse, he could be observing Uranus.

Re:wtf AGAIN (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32457896)

That joke never gets old - if you're in 3rd grade.

Re:wtf AGAIN (2, Informative)

Stupid McStupidson (1660141) | more than 4 years ago | (#32459292)

That joke never gets old - ever.

Fixed

Re:wtf AGAIN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32460082)

Don't worry, in a few hundred years they'll rename the planet to stop these jokes once and for all.

The planet will be called Urectum.

~Good News Everyone!

Re:wtf AGAIN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32460226)

wrecked him?!?! ...damn near killed him!

Re:wtf AGAIN (1)

grandseer (1653283) | more than 4 years ago | (#32459454)

True, but it couldn't be an impact on Uranus since there was no dark debris coming from the impact site....

Re:wtf AGAIN (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 4 years ago | (#32460186)

In polite company, it's referred to as Georgium Sidus.

That was some good chili but I'm going to be paying for it once it hits my Georgium Sidus.

Re:wtf AGAIN (3, Informative)

Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) | more than 4 years ago | (#32457616)

Yes, which was also first observed by same amateur astronmer (Anthony Wesley). Here was his post of the recent impact on CloudyNights [cloudynights.com]

Re:wtf AGAIN (2, Funny)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458398)

Yes, which was also first observed by same amateur astronmer (Anthony Wesley).

Considering the extreme gravity of Jupiter, if the object that was crushed by Jupiter's gravity was named after its discoverer, would Jupiter be an Anthony Wesley Crusher?

Re:wtf AGAIN (4, Informative)

arth1 (260657) | more than 4 years ago | (#32457690)

There's no "wtf AGAIN" about this at all. Jupiter is the vacuum cleaner (no pun intended) of the solar system, and any object with a highly elliptic orbit will run a great risk of a Jovian ending.
This is what allows us to not be wiped out by crashing comets and meteorites every few years.

But, it's always good to see a public servant do its job.

Re:wtf AGAIN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32457764)

This makes me wonder... How long until Jupiter turns into a star itself?

Re:wtf AGAIN (2, Funny)

JustOK (667959) | more than 4 years ago | (#32457812)

Depends on publicity. If TMZ sends paparazzi, then it's a star.

Re:wtf AGAIN (2, Informative)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458332)

This makes me wonder... How long until Jupiter turns into a star itself?

It won't. A gas giant is a star that never happened. There' no do-over whereby a gas giant might become a star subsequently.

The mass difference between Jupiter and even the smallest star is still huge -- like, 50+ times what it currently weighs. I don't believe what you ask is possible.

Well, it's 2010... it's possible (1)

thijsh (910751) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458714)

"All there worlds are yours - except Europa. Attempt no landings there."

Re:wtf AGAIN (4, Interesting)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458886)

It won't. A gas giant is a star that never happened. There' no do-over whereby a gas giant might become a star subsequently.

Not for Jupiter, but it likely happens all the time in the rest of the galaxy.

From what I remember, fusion occurs somewhere from 15-75 Jupiter-Masses (Mj). If you had a gas giant with 95% of that mass it could consume the remainder necessary for its gravity to become strong enough to start a continuous fusion reaction. Fusion likely does occur with smaller objects, but not on stellar scales/timelines and likely with deuterium instead of just Hydrogen (which fuses more near the 75 Mj mark).

Interestingly, a star that is just large enough to begin fusing hydrogen will look smaller than Jupiter due to the increased gravity pulling all the gas in.

The mechanic should occur, since it is the same mechanic we observe for a type of supernova in which a near-supernova capable sized white-dwarf pulls matter from a smaller partner in a binary system.

I wouldn't be surprised if you had near-brown dwarf sized gas giants tripping the limit by pulling in extra matter (even other gas giants)

Re:wtf AGAIN (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 4 years ago | (#32459364)

Not for Jupiter, but it likely happens all the time in the rest of the galaxy.

Sorry, yes. I should have qualified and said that Jupiter never would, at least not in any meaningful timeline in relation to us.

But, Jupiter would need to accumulate immense amounts of mass to get to that stage. As you say, 15-75x it's current mass, which is an utterly huge amount of stuff.

The mind reels.

Re:wtf AGAIN (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 4 years ago | (#32459850)

The mind reels.

The emptyness of space never really got to me. What really baked my noodle was looking at a series of stars appear on my screen from a brown dwarf, past our star, and upwards to red giants like Betelgeuse.

Then I saw stars that made Betelgeuse look like Mercury compared to our Sun and I felt like I fell through the floor.

And when you look at this image: http://abyss.uoregon.edu/~js/images/compare_star_sizes.gif [uoregon.edu] and realize that that large red one next the Sun is Betelgeuse, you will get an idea of just how absurd it looked.

But I never got the sense of insignificance that most people say you should fell when looking at the universe. The sizes boggled me, but never in a way that made me feel insignificant, it almost had the opposite effect on me, which I suppose is a bit weird.

Re:wtf AGAIN (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 4 years ago | (#32460040)

But I never got the sense of insignificance that most people say you should fell when looking at the universe. The sizes boggled me, but never in a way that made me feel insignificant, it almost had the opposite effect on me, which I suppose is a bit weird.

It don't feel 'insignificant' in the face of it in the way most people use that term. Not in the crushing sense of 'what now', but more of a realization of just how unlikely one's own existence seems; and therefore all the more cool.

The sheer 'bigness' of it all astounds me, and it reminds me that our own perspective on the universe is extremely limited.

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

People whose world view can barely encompass our own solar system ... well, that's their problem.

However, as soon as you start to assign numbers to this kind of stuff, the brain just sort of stops trying and you occasionally find yourself just kind of going "wow".

Re:wtf AGAIN (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 4 years ago | (#32460142)

However, as soon as you start to assign numbers to this kind of stuff, the brain just sort of stops trying and you occasionally find yourself just kind of going "wow".

Ahh here is the picture I was looking for:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cc/Star-sizes.jpg [wikimedia.org]

When you wrap your mind about the significance of the transition from frame 4 to 5 is when I really get that 'wow' feeling.

Re:wtf AGAIN (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 4 years ago | (#32460234)

When you wrap your mind about the significance of the transition from frame 4 to 5 is when I really get that 'wow' feeling.

Ow ow ow ow ow. I think I have a brain cramp. :-P

I'd like to see a scale to help me absorb that, but, yes, wow.

Betelgeuse is several orders of magnitude bigger than something which is several orders of magnitude bigger than our sun is about as close as I can get to grokking that picture.

Thanks for the pic (and the headache ;-)

Re:wtf AGAIN (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 4 years ago | (#32460210)

Dood! You're made out of star dust that has organized itself to form eyes and have time to look up at the sky.

Re:wtf AGAIN (1)

HuguesT (84078) | more than 4 years ago | (#32464174)

Actually Betelgeuse is one of the largest known stars. The very largest known star [wikipedia.org] is only about xx the size of Betelgeuse. So not quite the difference between Mercury and the Sun.

Re:wtf AGAIN (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32459376)

Brown dwarfs territory starts at dozen or so Jupiter masses, at which point they do start fusing deuterium as you mention; and have quite different dynamics, fully convective interiors.

But once fusing of hydrogen starts, the star is likely to expand considerably.

Anyway, I wouldn't expect accretion of mass to be all that likely - simply because such giant planets / sub brown dwarfs would be probably the biggest, by far, "planetary" body in the system already; there would be nowhere to get any significant mass from on top of what they already have...except from the parent star - but that would work in the other direction, star eating its sub brown dwarf.
Unless the two are comparable, in which case it's more of a merging.

Re:wtf AGAIN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32458412)

Supposed to happen this year. Also, it will be announced that we can't make landings on Europa.

Re:wtf AGAIN (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 4 years ago | (#32467846)

As others have said, it won't, it's nowhere near massive enough.

But to put it in to some perspective, current estimates for the mass breakdown of the solar system put around 99% of the mass in the sun. That is, the sun isn't 100x more massive than Jupiter, but than *everything else put together* - all the planets, asteroids, comets, everything.

Re:wtf AGAIN (1)

Troed (102527) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458022)

Actually it's not that simple.

Without Jupiter acting as a “cosmic vacuum cleaner” sucking up these dangerous objects, there would be so many catastrophic impacts that life probably wouldn’t have evolved on the Earth and we wouldn’t be here today. At least, this is the commonly accepted wisdom. Like so many topics in astrobiology, it isn’t as straightforward as it first seems.

http://euro.astrobio.net/exclusive/2521/rethinking-jupiter [astrobio.net]

Re:wtf AGAIN (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#32459358)

Interesting. I've also heard a theory that Jupiter is responsible for disturbing Oort Cloud objects and drawing them into orbits that go through the inner solar system, so the increase in dangerous objects would roughly cancel the objects deflected or absorbed by Jupiter.

I think that theory still considers comets and other non-near-earth objects to be the primary threat, though.

Re:wtf AGAIN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32463042)

A Jovian ending? How about a Jovial ending? Many people are jovial that the impact wasn't anywhere near their Georgium Sidus!

Re:wtf AGAIN (2, Interesting)

east coast (590680) | more than 4 years ago | (#32457704)

Oddly enough, a follow up of Jupiter impact [space.com] was just reported Thursday.

Re:wtf AGAIN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32459754)

Oddly enough, a follow up of Jupiter impact [space.com] was just reported Thursday.

I don't think this is odd at all, it just indicates that we have more people observing Jupiter with instruments capable of perceiving a natural process (i.e. interplanetary objects falling into Jupiter's huge gravity well) than ever before.

WMV? AVI? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32457624)

WTF, are we back to 1995?

Re:WMV? AVI? (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32457648)

No...if we were, they would be RealVideo or even Vivo Video(!!!)

Pictures! (2, Interesting)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 4 years ago | (#32457642)

From summary:

— and caught on film —

This is the important part. Like the rest of us, astronomers follow the little known meme Pictures or it didn't happen!

Re:Pictures! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32458108)

From summary:

— and caught on film —

This is the important part. Like the rest of us, astronomers follow the little known meme Pictures or it didn't happen!

And apparently also like the rest of the population, astronomers don't know the difference between film and video.

Chris Go is a Machine (2, Informative)

burris (122191) | more than 4 years ago | (#32457694)

Chris Go [cstoneind.com] is probably the world's premier amateur observer of Jupiter. He also discovered the change of Oval BA to a red color similar to the Great Red Spot.

He lives in Cebu City, Philippines where he has excellent "seeing" most nights. "Seeing" is the term for how steady the atmosphere appears to be and is critical for getting good images of the planets.

Jupiter is a huge ball of gas (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32457706)

Kind of like Rush Limbaugh.

K'breel addresses the council of elders (1)

bl8n8r (649187) | more than 4 years ago | (#32457766)

K'Breel, our most benevolent and enlightened speaker from the Council of Elders:
"Citizens. It is with my deepest regret that I report the transport of gelsacs destined for the orb of bands has unfortunately met with disaster. The pilot of the escape pod was reportedly texting shortly before impact."

Caught on film? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32457842)

Why do people say "caught on film"? I'm fairly positive they didn't actually catch the impact on photographic film. So why do people still say that? What's the problem with saying "caught on video"? Does that not sound as cool or something?

Re:Caught on film? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 4 years ago | (#32460674)

Why do people say "caught on film"?

Partly, because the verb "to film" carried over into non-film formats -- using a video camera was still called "filming" even if it wasn't technically accurate. Some people still talk about 'taping' shows on their PVR too -- I do, and I'm supposed to know better.

Language doesn't always change as fast as technology, and it would drive everyone batty to have to adjust their speech every time someone creates new technology. Especially because the technology changes so damned fast -- by next year it could be "caught on flurble" depending on what the next bit of technology is named, at which point it just gets tedious and you stick with the first word and everyone tacitly agrees that it's just easier that way.

Outside of Slashdot and universities, pedantry is usually met with snarls as people don't like being told by some smarmy git that the word they're using is no longer quite accurate. Discarding a well established verb in order to be more strictly 'technically' correct is a nuisance -- especially if the specific context doesn't really care about the technology.

For most purposes of discussion, "caught on film" still conveys what was meant, and all but the most annoying pedants will shut up about it.

on Earth (1)

X10 (186866) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458212)

It would be interesting to observe a similar impact on Earth.

LOOP! (3, Informative)

Itninja (937614) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458552)

This video is less than 2 seconds long! If you want to actually see anything...you will need to loop it. Not sure why the posted video wasn't looped already.

I am not an astronomer, but it looks like (2, Insightful)

Phizzle (1109923) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458556)

a collision of this magnitude would pretty much destroy our happy little blue ball... Yay for Jupiter!

Enough with the "Jupiter Impacts" already... (2, Funny)

Covalent (1001277) | more than 4 years ago | (#32459078)

SHUT UP, WESLEY!

I'm no expert (1)

Stan92057 (737634) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461064)

I'm no expert but that doesn't look like an impact,unless there were a dozen of impacts at the same time. I viewed it full screen and it looks more like lighting then an impact there were at least 7 flashes clustered. Ah what do i know,I'm not even an armature astronomer lol

Re:I'm no expert (1)

RoboRay (735839) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461364)

Multiple impact sites at the same time on Jupiter? That's impossible!

(Or, maybe you should google "Shoemaker-Levy 9")

Re:I'm no expert (1)

aqk (844307) | more than 4 years ago | (#32467154)

Hell, you're not even an armature.

Selecting the footage (1)

jbatista (1205630) | more than 4 years ago | (#32464504)

Does anyone know if/what software is used to isolate the "relevant" footage? If you just plug in a camera in place of the telescope's ocular and let it record to the 'puter, you'll have to spend literally thousands of hours of recording (and that's being generous) before actually picking up something interesting/unusual.

Re:Selecting the footage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32465140)

It can't be too terribly different than some webcam software that's used for security purposes. Once it memorizes the basic picture, any event that causes a noticable change in the image gets flagged. There is likely even open source software that does this.

I believe if you google "motion detecting" or "event tracking" in regards to camera software, you'll be well on your way.

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