Attaboy, Big Guy!

by Jimmy Akin

in Science

Jupiter-impact Some amateur astronomers have detected a dark spot on Jupiter (left, near the upper pole) that they think may be an impact mark in the atmosphere.

In other words, Jupiter may have been hit by an asteroid, comet, or comet fragment, like when it was struck by fragments of Comet Shoemaker-Levy back in 1994.

MORE INFO ON THAT.

The difference would be that back in the '90s we saw the comet coming and this time we apparently didn't see whatever-it-was sneaking up on the big planet.

I'm just glad that Jupiter is out there taking bullets for the rest of the solar system.

It's thought–especially among rare-earth advocates–that the existence of Jupiter is one of the reasons life was able to evolve here on Earth by shielding the inner solar system from impat events (though there is doubt about that).

In any event, astronomers should figure out soon whether this was a real impact event.

It's just cool that astronomy is one science where nonprofessionals can still make valuable contributions.

And look at how the guys in their combox go into action trying to get the sighting reported and confirmed. 

GET THE STORY. (cht: Instapundit)

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{ 14 comments }

BillyHW July 19, 2009 at 9:04 pm

And so it begins.
It wasn’t an asteroid. It’s a whole bunch of really black rectangular prisms, and they’re doing something big. Get ready.

Tim J. July 19, 2009 at 9:15 pm

“All these worlds are yours…”

JohnE July 20, 2009 at 7:09 am

Talk about drawing straight with crooked lines! The straightness of those bands are amazing.

pseudomodo July 20, 2009 at 7:22 am

Yikes! The IRISH!!
The Irish have only given us two truly great things: 1) Whiskey to drink and 2) Waterford Crystal to drink your Whiskey from.
Ok. Three things… – 3) the ability to talk eloquently about The Faith.

The Masked Chicken July 20, 2009 at 1:06 pm

According to the Irishastronomy site, JPL (the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, U. S. A.) has confirmed that this is an impact event. The Keck telescope (the largest in the world) has been turned towards it.
The Chicken

The Masked Chicken July 20, 2009 at 1:11 pm

Also, the impact event is in the Southern hemisphere. The black spot in the Norther hemisphere is a regular part of Jupiter. You cannot see the impact in the photograph, above.

The Masked Chicken July 20, 2009 at 3:06 pm

Why no mention of the 40th anniversary of the moon landing? A few of us were alive, back then, or have access to a time machine in our basements. I really feel sorry for the youth of today. For an instant, the entire world looked upwards at the sky, together, as one. It was the last time that selfishness ever vanished from the world.
The Chicken

Jimmy Akin July 20, 2009 at 9:43 pm

Chicken,
Are you sure about the location of the impact site? It’s near the south pole, but I assumed that this is the *upper* pole in the picture since the picture was taken in Australia, so the photographer would have had to turn the image upside down (for him) to get Jupiter’s south pole at the bottom of the picture. Since the only dark mark is near the upper pole of the picture, and since the photographer was in the southern hemisphere of Earth, I assumed that the upper pole of the photo was the souther pole of Jupiter.
Oh well.
Also, *yes!* moonwalk anniversary! Just haven’t been able to blog it with all else that’s going on.

The Masked Chicken July 21, 2009 at 1:05 pm

Dear Jimmy,
It doesn’t matter whether the image is taken in the southern hemisphere or northern hemisphere. The image would look the same. The reason the image is upside down is because it was taken with a refracting telescope, which inverts the image.
The Chicken

maccity July 24, 2009 at 10:07 am

Why get excited about some dark spot on Jupiter. The Universe is not much older than 1 million years and we will not be annihilated in some apocalyptic event. It is also very doubtful that there is life on other planets. Unfortunately science fiction fans are like fundamentalist, they think the end of time is imminent.

The Masked Chicken July 24, 2009 at 1:38 pm

Dear Maccity,
You wrote:
The Universe is not much older than 1 million years..
Proof?
The Chicken

Hans July 25, 2009 at 10:54 pm

Okay, some of you might not have heard that they woke up Hubble from test-sleep to get a good look at the spot here.
I’m with TMC in wanting to learn of such evidence, maccity.

The Masked Chicken July 27, 2009 at 3:03 pm

Hey, guess what? They’ve discovered transparent aluminum. Can warp travel be far behind?
The Chicken

DavidOmaha July 28, 2009 at 1:36 pm

Chicken,
That ain’t nothin’, Bell bicycles can make your bike transparent! It’s true! ;)
http://www.geocities.com/verdrahciretop/invisibike.html

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