Two Amateur Astronomers Capture Mysterious Object Crashing Into Jupiter
Gerrit Kermbauer was minding his own business when he noticed something spectacular while watching Jupiter. The amateur astronomer from Austria captured a mysterious object crashing into the huge planet on March 17. The mysterious object appeared to be small, but thanks to Jupiter’s strong gravitational pull, the object quickly reached high velocity and soared through the clouds and crashed into the surface. If you watch the below video closely, the crash resembles a small blip of light.
So what was the object? “It’s more likely to be an asteroid simply because there are more of them,” Paul Chodas, head of the Near-Object Program, told the Huffington Post. Coincidentally enough, John McKeon of Ireland also caught the cosmic event in space at almost the same exact time as Kermbauer. According to Phil Plait of Bad Astronomy, collisions like this happen at least once per year. The most notable collision happened in 1994, when the Shoemaker-Levy 9 comet hit Jupiter. That collision was caught by NASA’s Galileo probe and astronomers from the ground. Debris also crashed into the planet in 2010 and 2012. Considering the size of the planet and how visible the impact was, the asteroid would have likely done some serious damage to Earth. Talk about taking one for the team – err, solar system. Thanks, Jupiter! Check out the videos of Kermbauer and McKeon below. Krembauer’s video: McKeaon’s video:
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