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Amateur Astronomers Spot Jovian Blast

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the that-is-awesome dept.

Space 86

RocketAcademy writes "Spaceweather.com reports an explosion on Jupiter, which was detected by two amateur astronomers. According to Spaceweather.com, the event occurred at 11:35 Universal Time on September 10. Dan Peterson of Racine, Wisconsin, observing through a 12-inch Meade telescope, observed a white flash lasting for 1.5-2 seconds. George Hall of Dallas, Texas was capturing a video of Jupiter at the time, which also captured the event. It's believed that the explosion was due to a comet or small asteroid collision. Similar events were observed in the past, in June and August 2010."

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86 comments

Where's the Kaboom? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41302347)

Where's the kaboom? There was supposed to be an Jupiter-shattering kaboom!

Would a 9/11 Joke about Jovian Terrorists (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41302431)

be terribly tasteless?

Re:Would a 9/11 Joke about Jovian Terrorists (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41310153)

yes.

random thoughts... (3, Interesting)

Tastecicles (1153671) | about a year and a half ago | (#41302519)

SL-9 was a farside impact. This, apparently, was a nearside (not much detail in the video). We should be worried, it could easily, since it obviously came from within Jupiter's orbit, have intersected with Earth. Anybody who has access to the object's orbital parameters which show that this would have been with 100% certainty, impossible, please feel free to call me a paranoid freak at this point; but we are overdue an ELE (Extinction Level Event) by about 15 million years (I keep reading around the science journals about ELEs happening about every 50 million years, the last one was what? 65 million years ago (the K-T Event)?

Re:random thoughts... (4, Insightful)

Lithdren (605362) | about a year and a half ago | (#41302753)

Why bother worrying about it? While I agree that we should be looking for these things to prevent the entire planet from getting sterlized in a single blinding flash of light, why worry about it? Either its going to hit in your lifetime, or its not. Until one is found you can do something about, there's no point in worrying about it, since the one we dont see coming we cant stop. Dead is dead, learn to enjoy life while you have it and stopy worrying about ELE events that are 'overdue'.

Re:random thoughts... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41312163)

Well not worrying about it will help ensure that no solution will be found.
Heck, maybe "Gaia" formed us so that she would stop getting beaten by her man, the angry vengeful being named "God".
Why do we assume to be the center of the universe when so much evidence points to something much bigger than simple earthlings with their money and their eating of food.

But in all seriousness, Amateur Astronomy pulls through yet again. Keep up the good work guys! Oh yeah and the AA girls too! :)

Re:random thoughts... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41302795)

Easily? No, not easily. Jupiter tends to act as a big cleaner for the inner Solar System. It tends to eject comets and asteroids. In fact, it is so good at this that it has pushed out Neptune's orbit.

Don't fall into the gambler's fallacy. The probability of the great impact has not increased since we observed Jupiter getting hit. Jupiter gets hit all the time, but the Earth does not.

Is this true about it being a big cleaner? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41303311)

Wouldn't it just be a big randomizer of orbital paths? Why does it make kicking stuff away from us
more likely than kicking stuff towards us? I'm not saying it isn't (a big cleaner), just curious
about the logic.

Re:Is this true about it being a big cleaner? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41303629)

Wouldn't it just be a big randomizer of orbital paths? Why does it make kicking stuff away from us
more likely than kicking stuff towards us? I'm not saying it isn't (a big cleaner), just curious
about the logic.

Because it is so big it can eject objects out of the solar system. And while it could easily direct an object towards the inner solar system, after billions of years the ones that it has ejected have decreased the total number enough that the inner solar system is a safe place.

Re:random thoughts... (1)

Jerslan (1088525) | about a year and a half ago | (#41306437)

IIRC this behavior is why they added a term to Drake's Equation to include a Jovian planet in the system to keep the inner planets safe from most impact events (thus allowing complex life to develop).

Re:random thoughts... (1)

a13coach (1012803) | about a year and a half ago | (#41306859)

Hooray for Jupiter! Way to go for taking one for the solar system team. What a team player that Jupiter (the big guy in the middle) is.

Re:random thoughts... (5, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | about a year and a half ago | (#41302833)

we are overdue

Statistics do not work that way!

Re:random thoughts... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41303357)

He wasn't talking about statistics. He was talking about periodicity which is something that happens, you know, periodically. If there is some astronomical event (who knows, maybe it is Nemesis, maybe it is some sort of conjunction event) that tends to hurl more than the normal number of Oort cloud objects towards the inner solar system every 50 million years then yes, we are overdue. However that may be because we just didn't get hit this time and it will be another 35 million years before "the event" (whatever causes that periodicity) has another chance to fling snowballs at us.

Re:random thoughts... (4, Insightful)

Hentes (2461350) | about a year and a half ago | (#41303929)

You sort of answered yourself. If he was talking about a regular cloud of objects hitting Earth then we are not overdue but already dodged it.

Re:random thoughts... (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | about a year and a half ago | (#41302915)

Why would someone who actually knew anything about orbital mechanics require 100% certainty to feel safe? Even Apophis, an object known to actually have a pretty good chance of hitting earth as such things go was estimated at 1 in 250,000 a few years ago. The odds of some random object disturbed by Jupiter hitting earth is going to be vastly lower.

Space is big. You wouldn't believe...

Re:random thoughts... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41303177)

But the odds of some *specific* object disturbed by Jupiter hitting the Earth may be vastly *higher*. It happens. It just happens infrequently enough that we haven't directly observed one yet. (That's a good thing.) It's also quite difficult to *spot* these things until it's *far* too late to do anything about them.

Since we started paying attention to potential impactors (and near misses started getting press) we've had more than 5 'city-killer' sized objects pass inside the Moon's orbit. In at least three of those cases, they weren't spotted until *after* they had passed Earth.

It's like walking across a seldom-used highway, blindfolded with heavy metal music blasting in your ears. You're unlikely to get hit by a truck on any given crossing, but that doesn't mean it's a good idea to keep doing it.

Re:random thoughts... (1)

j35ter (895427) | about a year and a half ago | (#41303661)

...but that doesn't mean it's a good idea to keep doing it.

Soooo, and you suggestion is??

Re:random thoughts... (4, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | about a year and a half ago | (#41303893)

Soooo, and you suggestion is??

Fund more telescopes for NEO (and other object) discovery and tracking. We have a network of telescopes doing this, but it is woefully inadequate for searching the skies sufficiently thoroughly. Early detection of potential impactors is the only chance we have of saving ourselves if/when the Big One comes. And it's only an "if" because it might not happen for many millions of years and who knows if our ancestors will be around then.

We should also be funding the development of the actual capability to deflect one. A gravity tractor craft is actually a pretty simple concept and achievable with todays tech given sufficient lead time, but I don't think we should risk the extra time it takes to go from concept to implementation once we do find one.

The main thing is more detection and tracking, though, because the lead time is essential. This should be considered a major defense priority. But it seems to be hard for people to take it seriously enough, because nobody can say if it will happen in any of our lifetime's.

Of course there's also the remote chance that an long-period comet hits us from the direction of the sun and we end up with basically no warning even with a ridiculously extensive discovery effort. In that case it's que sera sera.

Re:random thoughts... (1)

m.ducharme (1082683) | about a year and a half ago | (#41304477)

by the time it gets through all the pollution it should be no bigger than a Chihuahua's head.

Re:random thoughts... (1)

dkf (304284) | about a year and a half ago | (#41310199)

And it's only an "if" because it might not happen for many millions of years and who knows if our ancestors will be around then.

Ancestors? My grandparents are long dead, and I'd be rather startled if my parents were to live for millions of years. If they're going to do that, I'd hope that they'd do so in good health; getting massively old while being in pain from aging would be horrible. Maybe medicine will allow this to happen, but it's rather far into the realm of science fiction at this point...

(The word you were looking for is "descendants".)

Re:random thoughts... (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | about a year and a half ago | (#41313373)

My grandparents are long dead

Oh sure, but who knows where there might be a vampire in your family tree?

Re:random thoughts... (1)

Raenex (947668) | about a year and a half ago | (#41310417)

The main thing is more detection and tracking, though, because the lead time is essential. This should be considered a major defense priority.

If the chances are one in millions, then no, it shouldn't be. Even a "city-killer" will likely end up doing no or little damage unless it actually strikes near a city (improbable). I approve of a token effort that ramps up along with civilization, but there are higher priority things to worry about, like extreme solar flare events.

Re:random thoughts... (2)

Chris Burke (6130) | about a year and a half ago | (#41313683)

If the chances are one in millions, then no, it shouldn't be. Even a "city-killer"

"Even"? Objects like that are common. Apophis alone has more than one-in-a-million odds as currently estimated, and the estimated 500MT impact would be over 10,000 times larger than "city killer". There are plenty of objects out there of sufficient size where it's a global extinction event wherever they hit. We just don't know where they are, or if their orbits are such that they threaten us.

You can't just look at the odds,. You also have to look at the impact. The die has already been cast. There are objects out there that are either a threat to us, or they aren't, and while the odds of an impact in any given year are terribly low, we don't know if that means we're not going to see one for a million years, or if we're going to get hit and then not see one for a million years.

I approve of a token effort that ramps up along with civilization

A token effort is a useless effort. Might as well say you approve burning a pile of cash and hoping it appeases the asteroid gods. And what does the ramping up of civilization have to do with it? We're just as screwed regardless of our civilization level. The relevant benchmarks are 1) are we capable of detecting them and 2) are we capable of doing something about it, and we're past both.

there are higher priority things to worry about, like extreme solar flare events.

And studying solar weather to try to predict such events necessarily means our asteroid detection effort must be token, eh? Prioritization doesn't mean ignoring other problems.

Solar flares are more common but less likely to cause major damage not counting communication satellites but rather human death, and are tougher to actually mitigate the effects of if one is dangerous. Impacts are less common but have vastly more destructive potential, and if our detection effort is adequate we have the ability to completely nullify them.

To me that puts them pretty close in priority. And if we had our priorities straight, there would be ample money to do both along with many other priorities.

Re:random thoughts... (1)

Raenex (947668) | about a year and a half ago | (#41314259)

"Even"? Objects like ['city killers'] are common.

The "even" refers to the impact, not the number, as "city killers" were used as the scary threat. They aren't scary. Maybe if they were landing on the order of once a year instead of something like every 100.

You can't just look at the odds,. You also have to look at the impact.

Yes, that's what I did.

while the odds of an impact in any given year are terribly low, we don't know if that means we're not going to see one for a million years, or if we're going to get hit and then not see one for a million years.

In other words, probability is random. Thanks for the update.

A token effort is a useless effort.

No, it isn't. By token I mean as a percentage of our resources. It really depends on how much bang you can get for the buck. As it is, even finding 1% of the threats is better than nothing and not useless.

And what does the ramping up of civilization have to do with it? We're just as screwed regardless of our civilization level. The relevant benchmarks are 1) are we capable of detecting them and 2) are we capable of doing something about it, and we're past both.

Wow, you live in a very binary world. Technology in astronomy has improved a lot over the past decades. I expect more improvements in the future.

And studying solar weather to try to predict such events necessarily means our asteroid detection effort must be token, eh? Prioritization doesn't mean ignoring other problems.

It was an example of something that was more important, much more of an immediate threat that is being mostly ignored. And it goes way beyond prediction into hardening our infrastructure. The simple facts are that resources are limited, and should be prioritized accordingly.

Solar flares are more common but less likely to cause major damage not counting communication satellites but rather human death, and are tougher to actually mitigate the effects of if one is dangerous.

Our whole society revolves around electricity. If the 1859 flare happened now, the disruption would be massive.

Re:random thoughts... (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | about a year and a half ago | (#41315285)

The "even" refers to the impact, not the number, as "city killers" were used as the scary threat. They aren't scary.

So because the GGP or whoever that didn't even know what they were talking about said that, your risk analysis is limited to those types of events despite the probabilities you used not even lining up? Fine, whatever. Now think beyond that. Think about the actual problem.

In other words, probability is random. Thanks for the update.

No, in other words, instead of relying on the odds that the cards turned down are favorable to us, we should actually try to look at the cards and see what the reality is.

As it is, even finding 1% of the threats is better than nothing and not useless.

Not literally, but qualitatively yes it is. An insurance policy that covers 1% would be called useless, and correctly so, even if it doesn't literally do nothing. The difference is negligible. I don't want to treat problems in a negligible fashion.

But hey if you just meant "token" as a % of resources, then a fully-funded, vastly more effective effort would be such, like I was saying we could do that and address many other problems to. But we aren't even close to that. Because we aren't taking the problem at all seriously.

Wow, you live in a very binary world. Technology in astronomy has improved a lot over the past decades. I expect more improvements in the future.

That's rich after that last part. But so what. Our astronomy and technology is good enough now, so we should be doing it. A deadly asteroid is not going to wait until you think it's worth it.

It was an example of something that was more important, much more of an immediate threat that is being mostly ignored.

We have multiple satellites studying the sun continuously, many scientists studying the data to figure out solar weather patterns, and even solar weather predictions used to aid satellite operators and the ISS. But now we both agree that this effort is negligible and negligible is not good enough. What happened to the binary "not literally useless"?

The simple facts are that resources are limited, and should be prioritized accordingly.

Doi. And the simple facts are that if we decided to make these things priorities we could easily do both and many other things.

So, do you think we shouldn't, or do you agree that we should have an effective object discovery program?

Re:random thoughts... (1)

Raenex (947668) | about a year and a half ago | (#41318727)

So because the GGP or whoever that didn't even know what they were talking about said that, your risk analysis is limited to those types of events despite the probabilities you used not even lining up?

No, I responded to both arguments, the more frequent "city killers" that we see, and the once-in-tens-of-millions-of-years extinction events that we see.

No, in other words, instead of relying on the odds that the cards turned down are favorable to us, we should actually try to look at the cards and see what the reality is.

We have, and the odds are extremely low, so low that we have bigger things to prioritize.

But hey if you just meant "token" as a % of resources, then a fully-funded, vastly more effective effort would be such, like I was saying we could do that and address many other problems to.

The point is how much %, where you want a "fully-funded, vastly more effective effort". If it's cheap, then fine, but if it's extremely expensive, then it isn't.

And the simple facts are that if we decided to make these things priorities we could easily do both and many other things.

That's true of anything, and if you took that approach with everything you'd be back to square one due to lack of resources.

So, do you think we shouldn't, or do you agree that we should have an effective object discovery program?

Depends on the cost effectiveness.

Re:random thoughts... (2)

Chris Burke (6130) | about a year and a half ago | (#41304165)

But the odds of some *specific* object disturbed by Jupiter hitting the Earth may be vastly *higher*.

The odds of such an object existing are low.

I mean at the end of the day Apophis may have a 100% chance of hitting us, or it might have a 0% chance of hitting us. We can only estimate based on what we know if its orbit. Without knowledge of a specific Jupiter-orbit object, we can only estimate based on the odds of potential disturbed orbits intersecting earth. This is how conditional probability works.

As far as the "maybes" go, NEOs are more likely to be dangerous than objects kicked around by Jupiter.

we've had more than 5 'city-killer' sized objects pass inside the Moon's orbit.

First let's keep in mind that even at that close earth is still a small target. A bulls-eye 1/3700th the size of the dartboard.

I'm not sure what counts as "city-killer", but this NASA chart [nasa.gov] shows 8 objects at less than 1 Lunar Distance, all of greater than 50km at the low end of estimated size and at greater than 8 km/s relative velocity.

Of course before getting too scared about the term "city killer", we would then have to look at the odds that such an impact hits a city (extremely low) or even land (not that high).

You're unlikely to get hit by a truck on any given crossing, but that doesn't mean it's a good idea to keep doing it.

Yes. The correct reason to worry is because we aren't watching the skies well enough, not because an impact on Jupiter means there might be some other object from the vicinity headed to earth. It doesn't.

We definitely need more asteroid discovery and tracking.

Re:random thoughts... (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | about a year and a half ago | (#41305575)

That's 50 m, not km... But what's a few orders of magnitude between friends who just want to give our planet a hug?

Re:random thoughts... (2)

NatasRevol (731260) | about a year and a half ago | (#41303263)

Space is big. You wouldn't believe

I loved the stat that came from Voyager 1.

It's been going 38,000 mph for 35 years. And it's just now leaving our local solar system.

Re:random thoughts... (3, Informative)

Chris Burke (6130) | about a year and a half ago | (#41303721)

It's been going 38,000 mph for 35 years. And it's just now leaving our local solar system.

Another stat I love: How many man-hours of effort have been put into determining safe courses for our probes to pass through the main asteroid belt, in total over all outer-solar-system probes?

Zero.

Re:random thoughts... (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | about a year and a half ago | (#41304859)

Heh, they probably calculated rough odds and said the hell with it, just let it go through.

Re:random thoughts... (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | about a year and a half ago | (#41305643)

The math on the density of the asteroid field was done well before the Voyagers were conceived, and it was based on that math that they decided that no mitigation was necessary. So not literally zero, but rounding... :)

Re:random thoughts... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41307933)

Never tell me the odds!

Re:random thoughts... (3, Insightful)

Deadstick (535032) | about a year and a half ago | (#41303075)

but we are overdue an ELE (Extinction Level Event) by about 15 million years

Welcome to the Monte Carlo Fallacy...

Re:random thoughts... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41303101)

It doesn't matter if it is a far side or near side impact. If the far side impactor had missed it would obviously be traveling to within Jupiter's orbit, short of having gone close enough to be flung in a random direction. Either way, if the object's orbit intersect's Jupiter's orbit, it ends up inside Jupiter's orbit at some point.

Re:random thoughts... (2)

onemorechip (816444) | about a year and a half ago | (#41303227)

There's a good chance it passed through a keyhole [wikipedia.org] on an earlier pass near Jupiter, and hence struck the planet this time around. I would suspect a keyhole for Earth collision would be much smaller than one for a Jupiter collision. I'm not familiar with the math involved, but I would expect comets and asteroids to strike Jupiter relatively often; Earth, not so frequently.

Re:random thoughts... (1)

radtea (464814) | about a year and a half ago | (#41303583)

Anybody who has access to the object's orbital parameters which show that this would have been with 100% certainty, impossible, please feel free to call me a paranoid freak at this point; but we are overdue an ELE (Extinction Level Event) by about 15 million years (I keep reading around the science journals about ELEs happening about every 50 million years, the last one was what? 65 million years ago (the K-T Event)?

"Overdue" is not a meaningful term in this case. We get about one large impact every 50 million years, but think about it statistically: a Poisson distribution with a mean of 1 has P(0) ~ 0.6, so even at 65 million years the odds are barely 50/50, and in any case, the events are uncorrelated so it doesn't matter how long ago the last one occurred.

When you wake up each morning the odds of you dying in an asteroid impact are the same: about one in a billion. Your odds of dying in a lightning strike or getting gored by a bull are quite a bit higher. Even getting killed in a terrorist attack has higher odds, and that's saying something.

Re:random thoughts... (1)

smaddox (928261) | about a year and a half ago | (#41304005)

To be fair, the frightening thing about astroids isn't that the probability: P(me dying in comet impact) is high. What's frightening is that the conditional probability: P(extinction of humanity | me dying in comet impact) is high.

Re:random thoughts... (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | about a year and a half ago | (#41305757)

Yeah, I like to think of it in terms of risk analysis, as P(event) * Cost(event).

The odds of me stepping on a grass burr walking around my neighborhood is high, but the cost is just a little poke in my toe if I'm wearing sandals.

The odds of an ELE impact is astronomically low, but the cost is astronomically high.

Re:random thoughts... (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year and a half ago | (#41305983)

We should be worried, it could easily, since it obviously came from within Jupiter's orbit, have intersected with Earth.

And?

but we are overdue an ELE (Extinction Level Event) by about 15 million years

So ELE events are extremely uncommon?

So why should we be concerned merely because an object, which has roughly 90% of the mass of the Solar System outside of the Sun, happens to get hit a lot by asteroids and comets? That huge mass is one of the reasons it gets hit so much. The other is the greater number of objects around Jupiter's orbit.

Re:random thoughts... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41306045)

The great benefit of living near Jupiter is that it prevents asteroids and comets from hitting us by sweeping them out of orbit. Here we see that mechanism in action.

Re:random thoughts... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41308559)

I keep reading around the science journals about ELEs happening about every 50 million years, the last one was what? 65 million years ago (the K-T Event)?

Depends on how large you want the extinction event to be. The one 65.5 megayears ago was one of the biggest, but there've been at least a couple of smaller ones since - one 33.5 megayears ago and one 14.8 to 14.5 megayears ago. Plus, the extinctions caused by man in the last hundred thousand years can also be seen as an extinction event.

Where's that fart meme when you need it (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41302523)

Of all the places where it should be first post, this would be it.

Obligatory (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41302527)

Wow, the way things are going, in a few years they'll be able to detect blasts from Uranus.

One thing I love about astronomy... (5, Insightful)

osu-neko (2604) | about a year and a half ago | (#41302579)

One of the places where amateurs still make many observations and discoveries.

"Universal time" (1)

zrbyte (1666979) | about a year and a half ago | (#41302741)

Sounds kind of cool.

Re:"Universal time" (1)

jonadab (583620) | about a year and a half ago | (#41305761)

Universal time is for practical everyday purposes essentially the same thing as GMT.

(There's a technical distinction, but you can probably ignore it unless you're running a low-tier ntp server. They're never off from each other by more than a couple of seconds, tops.)

Actual video please? (3, Informative)

slagheap (734182) | about a year and a half ago | (#41302763)

The linked video is to a very cheesy still image montage about comet/asteroid impacts, and only shows this recent Jupiter impact as a still screenshot of the video playing on someone's computer.

Anybody have a better link? At least to a real still of the event?

Re:Actual video please? (4, Informative)

slagheap (734182) | about a year and a half ago | (#41302817)

Ah, here it is... linked from within the spaceweather.com link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/19299984@N08/7976507568 [flickr.com]

Re:Actual video please? (4, Interesting)

cusco (717999) | about a year and a half ago | (#41303123)

I find this more than a little disturbing. I remember when Comet Shoemaker-Levy hit Jupiter and astronomers were saying that the impact was a 'once in a lifetime' or 'once in a century' event. Just a couple of years ago other scars from an impact that wasn't witnessed (possibly far side) showed up, and now we have another. Sure, it might be a statistical fluke and there may not be another impact for 500 years, but it seems to me as though estimates of the amount of material wandering around the inner solar system might be quite low.

Re:Actual video please? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41303807)

It is only a once in a lifetime event if it hits the Earth--meaning it can only happen once in your lifetime.

Re:Actual video please? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41305127)

I find *you* more than a little disturbing.

Re:Actual video please? (1)

RocketAcademy (2708739) | about a year and a half ago | (#41302913)

The video was recorded by an amateur astronomer, so it's up to him to decide what, when, and if he wants to release.

Thank you Jupiter! (3, Informative)

infidel_heathen (2652993) | about a year and a half ago | (#41302773)

If Jupiter wasn't sweeping up all those comets and asteroids, we'd be getting hit by them.

Re:Thank you Jupiter! (1)

wbr1 (2538558) | about a year and a half ago | (#41303071)

Amen. Jupiter, the hoover of the sol system.
Just hope we never hear the words "Megamaid has gone from suck to blow!"

Re:Thank you Jupiter! (3, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year and a half ago | (#41303111)

If Jupiter wasn't sweeping up all those comets and asteroids, we'd be getting hit by them.

This is actually part of the "rare Earth" hypothesis. For intelligent life to evolve on a planet, you may need a Jupiter sized "cosmic vacuum cleaner" to keep the ELEs from becoming too frequent.

Re:Thank you Jupiter! (2)

Chris Burke (6130) | about a year and a half ago | (#41304245)

Though with Jupiter's potential to pull in TNOs or Oort Cloud objects, it's actually unclear whether Jupiter is a net benefit or detriment.

Re:Thank you Jupiter! (1)

shippers (1100005) | about a year and a half ago | (#41304223)

I seem to remember reading somewhere that Earth's relationship with Jupiter isn't always so amicable. Granted without it there probably wouldn't be life on Earth, but, if I recall correctly, objects that Jupiter doesn't swallowed up completely stood a reasonable chance of being deflected in the direction of the inner planets. Something of a devil in disguise!

Re:Thank you Jupiter! (2)

Kittenman (971447) | about a year and a half ago | (#41305989)

Asimov (again) said that the Solar System consisted of Jupiter and assorted rubble.

Two bucks says the video is doctored (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about a year and a half ago | (#41302865)

Doesn't look real, and too short an event.
Color me a sceptic.

bjd

Re:Two bucks says the video is doctored (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41303229)

You do realize this very likely wasn't taken as 'video'. The 'video' being shown is probably the result of multiple, long-exposure images being stitched together to show the progression over time.

Re:Two bucks says the video is doctored (2 secs?) (1)

shoor (33382) | about a year and a half ago | (#41304517)

That was my first thought also. But, following a link in the talkbacks to this http://spaceweather.com/archive.php?view=1&day=11&month=09&year=2012 [spaceweather.com] There is the comment that another astronomer, Dan Peterson (not the one who took the video), said the blast only lasted 1.5 to 2 seconds. This is very different from the famous comet smash of 1993 when the marks on the visible part of Jupiter lasted a long time while Jupiter rotated around.

Going to try to spot the scars (3, Interesting)

RapidEye (322253) | about a year and a half ago | (#41302921)

I'll get out my 18" f/4.5 Obsession tonight and see if I can spot the scars.
The last time this happened, there were black holes in Jupiter's clouds that persisted for several weeks.
Unlike the last time this happened, its perfectly clear here in the Carolinas!
Amateur Astronomers FTW!

Re:Going to try to spot the scars (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | about a year and a half ago | (#41303983)

Out of curiosity what do decent telescopes run and where does one buy them? I have a crappy 6" tasco one from when I was a kid that works well for looking at the moon, and limited planet viewing but sucks for everything else.

Re:Going to try to spot the scars (3, Informative)

cyberchondriac (456626) | about a year and a half ago | (#41304239)

There's no simple answer to that question. What constitutes a "decent" scope? Weeelll..

A couple of things to know:
* Aperture (thus ability to gather light) is more important than magnification.
* There are essentially 3 kinds of scopes:
1) Refractor (classic design)
2) Newtonian reflector (more affordable). Newtonians are generally less money and give you more bang for the buck, and Dobsonian Newtonians are even better bargains, though a dob can't track objects as they can't use an equatorial mount. I have an 8" dob, and a small 80mm refractor, but what I'd really like is a
3) Cassegrain: , which is like an optically "folded" newtonian - they're small, light, and powerful, but not as cheap as newtonians.
You can look here for starters: http://www.telescope.com/ [telescope.com] (Orion)

Re:Going to try to spot the scars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41304607)

Most Dobs can't track but there certainly are tracking Dobs today. In fact, Orion makes a series of tracking Dobs.

Re:Going to try to spot the scars (1)

cyberchondriac (456626) | about a year and a half ago | (#41305181)

Point taken. I've been out of the game for a while. Light pollution in my neighborhood is so bad I've taken a hiatus from stargazing.
BTW, I forgot to mention some ballpark prices, but I would venture that a worthwhile beginner's scope could run anywhere from between maybe $200 or $300 to $600 or more, but even that's highly subjective. Then of course, there are the accessories, like add'l eyepieces, which can raise expenditures significantly. Like any good hobby, you can sink more money into it than you ever dreamed you would at the onset. ;)

Re:Going to try to spot the scars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41305581)

You can pick up an 8 inch Dob for 350 from Orion right now.
 
I have a 12" Meade truss Dob. They go for 1000 new but mobility was a factor for me since I'm not buying a new car to haul around my scope in. But you're right, the accessories is what will kill you when it gets right down to it. there are a few decent newbie eyepiece kits in the 150-200 dollar range but once you get to something really worth while you're looking at 150 per eyepiece minimum. The higher end Televue EPs can cost nearly as much as a worthwhile scope.
 
I just hope Bob doesn't go looking at the Obsession telescopes that were mentioned earlier, at least not as a bench mark. a 12.5" goes for over 3000. They're a quality scope, for sure, but a bit over priced. IMHO.

Re:Going to try to spot the scars (1)

RapidEye (322253) | about a year and a half ago | (#41311233)

My 18" Obsession has both Argo-Navis DSC and Servo-Cat Drives, so it can both go-to and track.
It costs almost as much for the computer and drives as the rest of the scope =-)
I learned my way around the skies star hopping with a 4.5" and 10" dob (which I still have). But it is sure nice to be able to dial in an object, hit go to, observe it for a while, go drink some coffee/tea, come back, and still have the object in the EP.

Re:Going to try to spot the scars (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | about a year and a half ago | (#41306607)

3) Cassegrain: , which is like an optically "folded" newtonian - they're small, light, and powerful, but not as cheap as newtonians.

As the owner of a Celestron 11" SCT, I'd say the main advantage is the size. Weight isn't dominated so much by the tube, but by the optics, and a SCT has more optics. Also, a lot of SCTs use fork mounts which can't be easily removed from the tube. So even if the body was lighter, the actual thing you have to pick up and lug around is significantly heavier than an equivalent Newton.

But if size matters, it's definitely the way to go. There's no way I'd get even an 8" Newton into my two-door Toyota Echo. With the C11, it's only a small miracle. :)

And of course I guess you could avoid the fork mount.

Re:Going to try to spot the scars (1)

RapidEye (322253) | about a year and a half ago | (#41311261)

I'll second the Orion recommendation - good scopes and very good customer service.
For $500, you can get a nice 8" dob, a couple of good eyepieces, a barlow, some charts, and get a nice start to the skies.

..and here we go (2)

cyberchondriac (456626) | about a year and a half ago | (#41303963)

Expect strange cylinders to start landing all over Earth in the next 24 to 48 hours. Wells almost got it right.

Re:..and here we go (1)

Tarlus (1000874) | about a year and a half ago | (#41307003)

Except that they don't actually land and instead start emitting whale calls...

Test build! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41304591)

It was the test build of Planetary Annihilation Gas Giant Update!!!
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/659943965/planetary-annihilation-a-next-generation-rts/posts/293648

Jovian blasts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41305043)

Jovian blasts were the source of most demi-gods.

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