Asteroid hits Jupiter and unleashes an explosion visible from Earth: stunning images

An asteroid the size of a building collided with Jupiter, causing a flash visible from Earth. The event released 2 megatons of energy.

a asteroid collided with a diameter of 15 to 30 meters Jupiterresulting in an explosion so bright that it can be seen perfectly through EarthEven through amateur telescopes. The impact, which occurred on October 15, 2021, was the most “brightest” recorded in the past 28 years, that is, since the Fragments Comet Shoemaker Levi 9 They landed on the gas giant between July 16 and 22, 1994. Last year’s event was captured by a specialized observatory and will help astronomers predict the consequences of similar effects on our planet.

Credit: Kyoto University/PONCOTS/Arimatsu et al

A Japanese research team led by scientists from Kyoto University’s Hakubi Center, who collaborated closely with colleagues from the University of Tokyo’s Department of Natural Sciences, has immortalized and described the asteroid crash on Jupiter. The Japan Aeronautics and Space Administration (ISAS) and the Japan National Astronomical Observatory in Mitaka. The scientists, coordinated by Prof. Ko Arimatsu, Professor at Kyoto University School of Science, have recorded the object’s impact on Jupiter thanks to the Planetary Monitoring Camera for Transient Scans (packages), an observatory that constantly monitors the largest planet in the solar system.

The information collected allowed the scientists to determine that “space stone“Before its disintegration, it was understood as a dimension Between 15 and 30 meters and a block of 4.1 million kilograms. It was so fast that the ablation process caused it to overheat 8000°Ccausing an explosion in part similar to the famous explosion Tunguska eventan object collision that occurred on June 30, 1908 on A Siberian forest. The explosion occurred at a height of between 5 and 10 kilometers from the surface of the earth and was so powerful that it collapsed to the ground until 80 million trees On an area of ​​more than two thousand square kilometers. Fortunately, the northern forest was uninhabited and there were no casualties among the residents (there are two possible). The Tunguska event released an energy equal to 10-15 megatons (1 megaton is equivalent to the energy released by one million tons of TNT), a thousand times stronger than Atomic bomb in Hiroshima. Instead, the impact of the asteroid on Jupiter released energy of about 2 megatonsproducing a clear bright flash in the planet’s atmosphere.

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Professor Arimatsu and colleagues estimate that events comparable to Tunguska events (from a biological point of view) on Jupiter are very frequent, on average once a year, so they are 100 to 1,000 times more common on Earth. Details of the research “Detection of an extremely large impact flash on Jupiter by high-wavelength observations” has been uploaded to the online ArXiv database, pending publication in Astrophysical Journal Letters.

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