Scientists are stumbling upon a meteor breaking into Jupiter


This color-enhanced image shows NASA’s old view of Jupiter in late 2020.

NASA / JPL-Caltech / SRI / MSSS; Image processing by Tanya Oleksik

Using researchers NASA’s old spacecraft Jupiter ur urges Roraz to check that he was lucky last spring and caught a very bright meteor explosion in the process.

Such effects are rarely seen for Jupiter, as it is the largest planet in the solar system with some severe powerful gravity to boot.

“However, they are so short-lived that it is relatively unusual to see them,” Rohini Giles of the Southwest Research Institute said in a statement. “You have to be lucky to point the telescope at Jupiter at exactly the right time.”

Giles is the lead author of a paper published this month in Geophysical Research Letters.

Amateur astronomers have used an Earth-based telescope to observe six influences on a giant planet in the last decade, including one Very dramatic in 2019. But, Giles and his colleagues got a special advantage by using Juno hanging by Jupiter.

“This bright flash data stood out because it has many different spectral characteristics than UV emission from Jupiter’s auroras.”


On April 10, 2020, SRI scientists studied the area conceived by Juno’s UVS instrument, and determined that a large meteor had erupted in a bright fireball in the atmosphere above Jupiter. The UVS swath contains part of Jupiter’s northern aortic oval, appearing completely green, representing hydrogen emissions. In contrast, the bright spot (see extension) appears mostly yellow, indicating significant emissions over long wavelengths.


Judging by the brightness and other data from the flash, the team estimates that it came from a space rock with a mass space of 550 to 3,300 pounds (249 to 1,497 kilograms), affecting the Javanese atmosphere at an altitude of about 140 miles (225 kilometers). Above the top of Jupiter’s clouds.

Things slamming into Jupiter can be a pretty big deal. The impact of the comet showmaker Levi 9 in 1994 was the largest smackdown seen on the planet, which was widely studied.

“The impact from asteroids and comets could have a significant impact on the planet’s remnant chemistry – 15 years after this effect, comet showmaker Levi 9 was still responsible for 95% of the stratospheric water on Jupiter,” Giles said. “Continuing to observe the effects and estimate the overall impact rate is an important element in understanding the structure of the planet.”

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