Skip to comments.Jupiter Has Taken a Massive Meteor Hit (So Earth Didn’t Have To)
Posted on 09/12/2012 2:41:21 PM PDT by LibWhacker
On Monday, Jupiter took a massive hit from a meteor, which was spotted by amateur astronomers based in the USand if previous evidence is anything to go by, it could have saved Earth from a massive collision in the process.
Dan Peterson of Racine, Wisconsin, was gazing at Jupiter on Monday when he saw a bright, white flash on the surface of the planet. When he posted his observation online, another astrophotographer, George Hall, discovered he'd unknowingly captured the massive explosion on video.
Turns out it was probably a meteor striking the surface of the planetand you can watch the video below. In fact, this is evidence of Jupiter's protective effect as far as Earth is concerned. Because the planet is so massive Jupiter's gravitational field sucks a great many asteroids and comets towards it, which means that there are fewer threats to our humble little planet.
Which is just as well: a similar metoer strike in 2009 caused a bruise on the face of Jupiter the size of the Pacific Ocean. [George 1985 via Space]
Short YouTube video of the impact
Could be the meteor fragmenting as it hit the atmosphere. The smaller chunks would disperse around the large projectile.
As a gas giant, I’m not sure you can say that it hit the “surface” but it’s an interesting event.
I think that this was intended for Earth on December 21st. Must be the Mayans didn’t factor Jupiter into their calculations.
That was a big hit. Given the relative size of Jupiter versus the Earth, it would have been nasty if it had come our way.
One day it WILL come our way.
THANK YOU JUPITER!!!! WE LOVE YOU!!!
So! The Shoemaker-Levy event is not as rare as originally thought.
I realized today that I’m a FReeper of the apocalypse. My sign up anniversary is on the day the world is supposed to live.
FReepers of the apocalypse, lets ride!
Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.
I don’t understand why we assume that it protects us. Seems to me that there is an equal chance that asteroids and comets could be nudged inward as well.
The only thing tilting the scale in favor of protection is that some will get caught in Jupiter’s gravity and crash into the planet.
Nobody was talking about December 21 as the end of the world until you signed up ;-)
Thank you Jupiter.
I would hate to think that we would have to rely on Steve Buscemi to do anything.
Jupiter had it coming.
Amazing. Almost as if God put it out there... :)
You just better hope I don’t find 3 more FReepers who signed up on the 21st of December.
"Jupiter's chickennnnnnnnnnnnnnns...coming home to roost!"
That flash was about the same size as our planet. So yeah, thanks Jupiter! You took one for our team.
Will dumbass Øbama take credit for saving our planet?
Yep. Quite a coincidence, huh?
Jupiter’s such a team player! Yes, it’s like it was put there by Intelligent Design.
and of course it just all happens to be lcuk and randomness...God couldn’t have had such a plan
At first I thought we had perfect symmetry. That’s what made me think it might be an artifact. But after reading your comment, I went back and checked the video and while there are bright spots at 10, 12 and 2 o’clock, the one at 10 doesn’t appear until well after the other two. So, yes, I like your theory most. The object didn’t break up on a previous pass, as Shoemaker-Levy did, but broke up on entry. Going to be interesting to see what kind of bruises it produced. Not much doubt in my mind, it was a really big impact!
Interesting that an apparently major impact event was caught by amateurs and not studied in real time as Shoemaker-Levy was.
I take it that this meteor was an unknown entity? Kind of out of the blue? Any notion being put forth as to size? A whole lot of discomfiting unknowns here, imho.
Yes, absolutely unknown and not seen until someone caught the actual impact on film. That argues for a dark object that was not reflecting much light before the impact; i.e., it wasn't a comet, but most likely a meteor.
Our ability to detect certain space objects is rather poor. We may only have a month or two warning before impact.
Our ability to touch them is even more poor. Part of the reason we need to be out there is to gain the ability to intercept such space objects.
The last major event was only about 100 years ago over Siberia. If that happens over a populated area, it would be devastation unlike anything we’ve ever seen.
“Jupiter’s gravitational field sucks a great many asteroids and comets towards it”
To put it simply, it’s the Sandra Fluke of planets.
“...Our ability to detect certain space objects is rather poor...”
We need a president that respects the vast importance of an active space program. We learned more, and produced more new technology from the Apollo Project than any other space program — this was a great example. We should have been on the moon (permanent bases) well over a decade ago.
The priorities in DC suck. We need a real president with resolve and understanding of the future and the technologies that need to be exploited and expanded.
What happens if Jupiter isn’t in a position to catch the next stray asteroid that size? WE’RE TOAST!!!!!
“So! The Shoemaker-Levy event is not as rare as originally thought.”
There are many, many more eyes on it now, including amateurs with equipment that professionals would have killed for 30 years ago. I daresay that someone with $5000 and a little determination and expertise can take pictures considerably superior to Mt. Palomar’s best before the CCD era.
...the planet is so massive Jupiter's gravitational field sucks a great many asteroids and comets towards it, which means that there are fewer threats to our humble little planet.As long as everyone's aware of the fact that this "explanation" is pretty simpleminded, I'm good to go (to bed). G'night all.
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Jupiter is our friend. All we have to do is leave Europa alone.
Most of the objects which encounter Jupiter get tossed and more often than not leave the Solar System; a much smaller number have their trajectories altered by the big planet such that they will eventually smash into the planet — such was the case with SL9, and probably with this object as well; a tiny fraction wind up encountering Jupiter once or more than once, and their trajectories altered such that they wind up in orbit around it during a future encounter. Jupiter has more than 60 moons, with many of them in retrograde.
Before anyone brings it up as if it’s some kind of cutting criticism, the size of those retrograde moons is entirely beside the point.
Anyway, it’s almost as if the whole thing is a series of random encounters by a inanimate objects. :’)
Another ‘extra, extra’ to APoD members — and pretty soon I’ll catch up on the *actual* APoD posts. [blush]
Good Ol’ Jupiter.
Not just a big useless gasbag after all.
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