Jupiter Playing Billiards Again

In infrared, white means very hot!

In infrared, white means very hot!

Back in 1994, the world was lucky enough to capture one of the greatest fireworks shows in our solar system. Co-discovered by Eugene and Carolyn Shoemaker and David Levy, a comet that had been torn apart by Jupiter’s gravity hurled into the gas giant. Astronomers around the world had advance notice of the collision and hundreds of telescopes turned toward Jupiter to become a witness to raw power.

Late last week, it happened again (see infrared pic above). However, we did not have advance notice. Amateur astronomer Anthony Wesley of Australia was admiring Jupiter when a dark spot suddenly appeared. After posting info about the spot on a message forum, scientists in charge of the large telescopes around world also began gathering data. The result, something huge had indeed crashed into the largest planet in our solar system.

Here is the picture that Mr. Wesley captured as he was notifying the world of Jupiter’s new blemish.

The impact is the dark spot at the top of the image

The impact is the dark spot at the top of the image

All I have to say is that we need to get our stuff together here on the blue marble. This could have been us. 😦 Support NEO detection! Support space exploration! Go NASA!

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About Geordi Calrissian

African American? Check. Nerd cred? Check. Star Trek? Check. Star Wars? Check. What else is there?

Posted on July 21, 2009, in astronomy and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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