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Austrian stargazer films Jupiter asteroid hit

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Austrian stargazer films Jupiter asteroid hit
Youtube screenshot/Gerrit Kernbauer
09:22 CEST+02:00
An amateur astronomer in Austria has managed to capture the precise moment when Jupiter appears to be hit by an asteroid on film.

The rare footage taken by Austrian Gerrit Kernbauer, in Mödling, shows what he believes could be an asteroid, comet, or meteoroid burning up as it enters the planet’s atmosphere.

The images had been shot by Kernbauer on March 17th but he only noticed it after reviewing the video and spotting the split second moment there is a bright flash on the edge of the planet.


Video: Gerrit Kernbauer

Since he posting the video on Youtube and Reddit on March 26th, it has been watched over 2.5 million times.

“I was observing and filming Jupiter with my Skywatcher Newton 200/1000 Telescope,” explains Kernbauer in the video caption, adding that he only spotted the “strange light” after looking through the videos ten days later.

“Thinking back to [1992 comet] Shoemaker-Levy 9, my only explanation for this is an asteroid or comet that enters Jupiters high atmosphere and burned up/explode very fast (sic).”

Just by coincidence, a second amateur astronomer based in Ireland also managed to capture the moment.

Although it’s not clear exactly what the object is, many people online agreed that it would have been big enough to release a large amount of energy in Jupiter’s atmosphere, but not so big as to leave a visible “impact scar” on the planet.

Objects the size of this tend to hit Jupiter once a year, although it is very rare to capture such events on camera.

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