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Monday, 7 June 2010

[BAA 00498] New impact on Jupiter

BAA electronic bulletin No. 00498   

New impact on Jupiter

A new impact has been detected on Jupiter.  This time the impact flash was
recorded directly, by two independent amateur observers. It was first reported
by Anthony Wesley (Australia) (who discovered the impact last year), and
confirmed by Chris Go in a video taken at exactly the same time: 2010 June 3,
20:31:29UTC.  It was a very bright flash lasting about 2 seconds, so there can
be no doubt that it was an impact; no internal event in Jupiter would produce
such a bright brief flash. It was in the faded South Equatorial Belt, about 50
deg. preceding the central meridian; Wesley's preliminary measurements put it
at Longitude L2 = 342.7, L3 = 159.4, Latitude 16.1 deg.S. Nothing further was
seen at the impact site in the half-hour before it disappeared round the limb.
When it reappeared, this morning around 03:30 UT , observers in England,
France and Italy looked for an impact spot but recorded nothing definite.
However, the images were at low resolution (due to the low altitude and bright
dawn sky), so the images do not exclude a smaller scar.  Observations of this
site over the next few days will be very important. Even if no 'scar' is
detected, this would not be surprising. The direct imaging of the SL9 impacts
in 1994 by the Galileo spacecraft showed a bright flash a few seconds long
like this one even for a small fragment which produced virtually no scar,
probably because a small impactor can explode high in the atmosphere.  So,
impacts like this could be frequent, but never before recorded, and still
consistent with the rarity of larger impacts that leave obvious traces. By the
way:  Uranus is 0.5 degrees north of Jupiter at present: a good opportunity to
compare the two giant planets.
John H. Rogers
Jupiter Section Director,
British Astronomical Association.

<jhr11  -at->

BAA electronic bulletins service.      E-mail:
Bulletin transmitted on Sat Jun 5 11:53:13 BST 2010
(c) 2010 British Astronomical Association
Good Clear Skies
Colin James Watling
Real Astronomer and head of the Comet section for LYRA (Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers) also head of K.A.G (Kessingland Astronomy Group) and Navigator (Astrogator) of the Stars (Fieldwork)

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