Astronomers record small asteroid impacting Jupiter

Astronomers record small asteroid impacting Jupiter

A bright fireball -- most likely a small asteroid or a comet -- struck Jupiter at 22:39 UTC on September 13, 2021. The impact was seen and captured by astronomers across the world who were observing the ongoing transit of the shadow of Jupiter's moon Io.

"A bright flash of light surprised me," German astronomer Harald Paleske, who video-recorded the event, told SpaceWeather.com.1

Paleske reviewed the frames and ruled out objects such as airplanes and satellites, which might have been crossing Jupiter at the time of his observation. "The fireball was fixed in Jupiter's atmosphere. It first appeared at 22:39:27 UT on September 13 and remained visible for a full two seconds."

The most likely explanation is a small asteroid or comet striking the giant planet; an asteroid in the 100 m (330 feet) size range would do the trick.

Jupiter impact on September 13, 2021. Credit: Harold Paleske via. SpaceWeather

References:

1 Something just hit Jupiter - SpaceWeather

Featured image credit: Harold Peske via SpaceWeather


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