ANOTHER Jupiter impact?

By Phil Plait | August 22, 2010 8:39 pm

BREAKING: Japanese astronomer Masayuki Tachikawa may have spotted yet another impact on Jupiter! Here’s the video:

Emily Lakdawalla at The Planetary Society blog has the details. [UPDATE: Sky and Telescope has more info too.] The video looks legit, but to be absolutely sure we’ll need to get either more video from a different location, or a telescope that might be able to spot any impact scar left from this. [Update 2: That Sky and Telescope link has also been updated; a second astronomer recorded the flash! It’s real; Jupiter got hit again!]

As Emily points out, there may be a lot more of these than we imagined, and it took constant vigilance of amateur astronomers to find them. If so: very, very cool.

Related posts:

Followup: Jupiter impact video, and a color picture
Hubble sees no remains of the Jupiter impact
Jupiter: bringing the hammer down
Hubble pix at Jupiter’s scar

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Astronomy, Cool stuff

Comments (40)

  1. J Hall

    I was wondering on the possibility of this being lightning. I imagine it is more likely that it is an impactor, but this image made me wonder at how powerful a lightning strike on Jupiter would be and if it could rival a large explosion. Wasn’t it the case that the last amateur impactor sighting did not leave a viable blemish?

  2. Thanks, Jupiter, keep up the good work!

  3. Jupiter: Keeping us safe since 4400 BC… 😉

  4. cgray

    Liberals: Amusing us with their arrogance, intolerance, seething hatred, and stupidity since 1968…

  5. Messier Tidy Upper

    Awesome. :-)

    How frequent do we now think these impacts are?

    Or alternatively how remarkably lucky have we been to see so many so recently?

    Jupiter – the Earth’s bodyguard?

  6. Old Rockin' Dave

    “I am inclined to think that this blaze may have been the casting of the huge gun, in the vast pit sunk into their planet, from which their shots were fired at us.” – H. G. Wells

  7. cgray (#4): Um, what, exactly?

  8. Alikar


    I want that on a T-Shirt now. :) So awesome.

  9. Messier Tidy Upper

    @3. MichaelL Says:

    Jupiter: Keeping us safe since 4400 BC…

    I agree with (#8) Alikar there – except shouldn’t that be keeping us safe since 4.5 billion years ago not four thousand four hundred years ago?

    Setting aside the occassional slip up like the one 75 million years ago that let the KT impact go through of course! 😉

  10. Wayne on the plains


    Not to disparage your math, but I’m pretty sure 4400 BC was more like six thousand four hundred years ago…

    Is that date the beginning of recorded history? I’m a bit fuzzy on the significance there.

    When someone makes a T-shirt along the lines of post #3, please let me know. I’m in.

  11. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ ^ Wayne on the plains : Oops – yes you’re right I forgot about the past millennium & had us living in the year zero – D’oh! 😉

    (BTW. You can disparage my maths anytime, I know its lousy unfortunately & wish it were better but maths just not something I get, alas. :-( )

    I’m also unsure of the significance of that year. MichaelL, would you care to elaborate on that further please?

  12. @Wayne & Messier – That’s when the universe was created, you big sillies!

  13. NEnutaby

    Messier & Wayne:

    4000-ish B.C. is the date of the biblical Genesis favored by the most common strain of Young Earth Creationist. It’s derived by guessing the lifespan of everybody mentioned in the list of “Begats” at the beginning of the New Testament, and a correlating with a couple of random astronomical events mentioned in the Old Testament.

    This guy came up with the most famous example- not only did he pin it down to 4004 based on this incredible sting of W.A.G.s, but he even got a date and a rough time of day. What a guy!

  14. Might you be thinking of the evening of 22 October 4004 BC?

  15. Grand Lunar

    My gods! It’s full of…meteorites? Or just comet debris?

    BTW, isn’t it obvious MichealL was just kidding?

  16. #9 Messier:
    Sorry to correct you again, but the K-T impact was 65 million years ago, not 75.

    #9 Messier, #10 Wayne
    The significance of the year 4004 BC ( not 4400 ) is that it’s the supposed date of the creation of the Universe, according to the YEC morons. It was “calculated” by the 17th Century Irish Archbishop James Ussher, by adding up the ages of the characters in the Old Testament ( which doesn’t work anyway, as there are gaps of unspecified length in the stories ). He concluded that the time between the creation and the birth of Jesus was approximately 4000 years, then decided that it must have been exactly 4000 years, because God liked to keep things nice and simple. Yes, this is actually what passes for reasoning in the minds of Christians!
    Ussher dated it as 4004 BC, because he was aware of the error in the calendar, which he believed to be 4 years – though modern historians say it’s more likely 6 or 7. ( That is, the actual date of Jesus’ birth was probably 6 or 7 BC – assuming that he existed at all, as a human being. )
    The sad thing is that significant numbers of Americans today actually still believe that, just because a 17th Century archbishop said so…

  17. “cgray (#4): Um, what, exactly?”

    Come on Phil, we ALL know that reality has a liberal bias! 😀

  18. The Jovians oughtta hire Bruce Willis to put a stop to this.

  19. 1968? cgray is a Nixon fan, I guess? Or really, really dislikes Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In? Wait! Nixon was on Laugh-In!

  20. alfaniner

    It’s grilling season on Jupiter. That’s just the effect of some guys putting on way too much lighting fluid.

  21. Zucchi

    Okay, in 1968, Pioneer 10 was in the planning stages.

    Pioneer 10 obviously had liberals involved in its construction, because it carried a plaque depicting nekkid people. Take a look:

    Obviously hippies!

    While Pioneer 10 was carrying its liberal hippie pornography to Jupiter in 1972, the Watergate break-in occurred.

    Keep up, people!

  22. Perhaps the Martians decided Earth wasn’t worth the hassle of cleaning out the vermin infestation.

    Somewhere, deep within the Jovian atmosphere, a mild-mannered hydrocarbon farmer is minding his own business, unaware of the large flaming cylinder plunging down toward his cloudstead….

  23. Gary Ansorge

    4. cgray

    Ummm, 1968? Guess you haven’t read many of George Washingtons or Tom Jeffersons writing. Both were flaming liberals by ANY estimate, about what one would expect from a bunch of radical revolutionaries against that good, old time, CONSERVATIVE monarchy.

    Just saying, doncha know?

    Gary 7
    PS. Thanks, Jup, for taking another punch to the gut. Well, it IS big enough,,,,even bigger than mine.

  24. Rob

    Very cool. AMazing what the ameteur astronomer contributes to astronomy today.

    @cgray; who pi**ed in your Cheerios this morning? You feel better now that you’ve had your angry “conservative” rant of the day? lol

  25. MaDeR

    “Um, what exactly?”
    If I were to guess, cgray is young earth creti… er, creationist and got knee-jerk reaction from MichaelL’s joke. Ah well, his parasitic memplex is his problem, not mine.

    In fact, your “hydrocarbon farmer” would be perfectly safe. Even fairly sized chunks thrown on Jupiter will go kaboom in upper atmosphere. Piercing deeper is HARD. Shoemaker-Levy was issuficient to do so.

  26. Utakata

    Um…I just think he was pointing out in an unusual way that showing clips of metorites hitting Jupiter will make the American population run out and vote *Democrat, Rob @ 24. And naughty Phil shouldn’t be doing that. /shrug

    *Note: Not that Dems are liberal…but likley in cgray’s mind, anything left of Benito Mussolini is liberal.

  27. Persnickydietz

    Hi Phil, I’ll never forget trying to catch a glimpse of the Shoemaker-Levy impact at McCormick Observatory back in the summer of 1994! That was super cool. Happy times!

  28. Zucchi

    Now that Pluto isn’t a planet anymore, I kind of wish we could nudge it out of its orbit in such a way that it would impact Jupiter. That would be awesome to watch.

  29. alfaniner

    Then we could call it “Plupiter” and make everybody happy!

  30. Zucchi: NOOooooOOOO! Poor ol’ Pluto has already suffered enough at the hands of astronomers!


    cgray: Crawl back under your fundie rock of blithering ignorance and babble for the rapture. Yeesh.

  31. Douglas Troy

    Jupiter. Full of WIN.

  32. @ MaDeR:

    In fact, your “hydrocarbon farmer” would be perfectly safe. Even fairly sized chunks thrown on Jupiter will go kaboom in upper atmosphere. Piercing deeper is HARD. Shoemaker-Levy was issuficient to do so.

    Ha! That’s what you think. The new Martian mark v cylinders will pierce your atmosphere deep and hard, repeatedly, with ever more forceful thrusts, pounding and pounding and…uh…oops. Wrong forum.

    @ Persnicketydietz:

    Hi Phil, I’ll never forget trying to catch a glimpse of the Shoemaker-Levy impact at McCormick Observatory back in the summer of 1994! That was super cool. Happy times!

    Oh dear! I hope the observatory survived the impact! 😛

  33. Brian Too

    Marvin the Martian was displeased that Jupiter was blocking his view, so of course he started to bombard the planet!

    …which immediately moved out of his viewfinder due to normal orbital motion.

  34. Ozonator

    For what it is worth, I had predicted from AGW: “A). … 1). This is the regular qualitative predictions for catastrophic, violent ecosystems (~quakes to ~CMEs) … from … same global warming. Take your AGW pick – Red Spot and/or band appears on Jupiter, killer quaking between the Gulf of Aden and Guangxi, or a monster amplitude increase in last week’s “North America trying to bounce off Asia and Europe and the Yemen Model”. … This is the 74th JCS-MADDD Model (8/15 – 21/10) with many watery nightmares unleashed all across Allah’s good Earth that includes an increase risk for Valero’s employees and equipment but will not impede their free pollution exports to help generate more catastrophic flooding in Pakistan and beyond” (GBRWE 8/15 – 21/10’s Extreme Planetary Warnings for Earthquakes, Volcanoes, and Solar/Terrestrial Flares from Human Activities; Robert Rhodes, Supplemental; GBRWE 8/15 – 21/10, 8/14/10).

  35. J

    Is the frame rate sped up?

    Does the quickness of the flash correspond to a huge event, such as an asteroid smashing into Jupiter?

    How should one interpret that flash?

  36. What impact? An asteroid hit Jupiter’s atmosphere, not the surface of the planet.

  37. Jared

    Plupiter …still chuckling


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