Monday, July 20, 2009

New dark spot on Jupiter:
due to asteroid or comet impact?

Anthony Wesley from Murrumbateman Australia reports seeing a black spot in Jupiter's atmosphere. Black spots on Jupiter are reported from time to time, the most famous example of which was due to the impact of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9. That comet orbited Jupiter unseen until 1992, when it was disrupted by that planet's gravitational tide into about 20 fragments during a particularly close approach to the planet. Those fragments then struck Jupiter in 1994, resulting in similarly black (but much larger) bullseyes. Followup observations of this new spot will hopefully reveal whether it might be due to an impact by a comet or asteroid, which is a very rare astronomical event. Stay tuned.

1 comment:

Joe Hahn said...

Additional comments are posted by the discoverer, Anthony Wesley, at spaceweather.com.