New photographs captured by astronomer Chappel showed an asteroid crashing into the Solar System’s biggest planet Jupiter back on Wednesday. Astronomers are currently waiting to know if anyone else had spotted this sudden flash that occurred somewhere around the Southern Equatorial Belt of Jupiter.
Chappel tweeted that this discovery felt completely like a dream to him. He hoped that someone else had also recorded this impact so that they could confirm this finding. Chappel and his fellow astronomer George Chappel normally post stunning views of night skies via their website named ChappelAstro.
There are a lot of precedents for impacts of this level on Jupiter. Since the planet has a massive gravity field, it tugs space debris and asteroids towards itself. Astronomers’ group estimate that objects ranging in sizes between 16.5 ft – 65 ft usually slam into Jupiter between 1-5 times during a regular month. These impacts are kind of inevitable since there’s a ton of space rubble that’s floating throughout space. Astronomers already identified over 20,000 objects simply hanging around Earth’s neighborhood, and this is estimated to be only a small portion of what’s actually out there. Space rocks like these also hit Earth from time to time, but Jupiter is responsible for taking most of the hits as a result of its huge mass.
Jupiter received its most famous hit back in 1994 from the Shoemaker-Levy comet. This comet fragmented after which, over twenty chunks through Jupiter’s banded clouds that left massive black scars in Jupiter’s clouds. It took 2 years for the whole spectacle to come to an end. However, this impact won’t be leaving any such scars, as per Heidi Hammel, who works at the SSI. He spearheaded HST observations of this latest asteroid impact. Due to the asteroid’s relatively smaller size, Jupiter is safe from any major incidents.