Using a simple Newtonian telescope, an amateur astronomer from Brazil managed to capture the moment when an unknown space object, possibly a small asteroid, hit Jupiter.
On September 13, José Luis Pereira was making observations of our Solar System when he recorded a bright flash in the gas giant. “When the planets Jupiter, Saturn and Mars are in opposition, I try to make images every night of clear skies. Especially of the planet Jupiter, my favorite”, said the Brazilian to the Space.com portal.
That night, despite conditions not being favorable, Pereira persevered and compiled a series of 25 videos of Jupiter, with no time breaks between them. Already in the beginning had noticed the flash, but paid no more attention to it.
It was the next morning, after analyzing the data using a special program, that it alerted him that there was a high probability that what was captured was an impact. He then sent the information to a specialist, Marc Delcroix, of the French Astronomical Society, who confirmed his suspicions.
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In the video in question you can see how for a brief moment a white spot forms near the equator of the planet. “It was for me a very exciting moment, since I had been looking to register an event like that for many years, “said Pereira.
While the nature of the object that crashed into the gas giant is not yet clear, some astronomers believe it could be a meteorite. Astrophotographer Damian Peach also posted a snapshot of Jupiter, captured an hour after being hit, and no ‘scar’ is evident, so he thinks it could be a rock too small to reach the deepest atmosphere.