Sigh…another impact on JupiterAugust 23, 2010
Well, it’s happened again. Something hit Jupiter while Earthlings were watching. Why is this newsworthy? It’s only the fourth time it’s happened in recorded history, but the third time it’s happened in the last 13 months. It seems increasingly likely that Jupiter is getting creamed by rocks that would dwarf the dinosaur-killer (seriously, the fireballs we’ve been seeing on Jupiter are the size of continents) all the time, but we’re just now catching on because finally enough amateur astronomers are watching (and digitally recording) the planet to provide something approaching continuous monitoring.
That’s right: amateur astronomers. All three of the recent impacts were found by amateurs. This latest was independently detected by two Japanese amateurs, one using a 6″ scope and one a 9.25″ scope.