Researchers using NASA's Juno spacecraft to control Jupiter's auras say they were lucky enough to fall on a very strong meteorite explosion last spring.
Such impacts are not uncommon on the planet Jupiter, as it is the largest planet in the solar system. It is so large that it could include all the other planets in the solar system.
"However, impacts are so short-lived (their lifespan is short) that it is relatively unusual to we watchSaid Rohini Giles of the Southwest Research Institute in a statement. "You must be very lucky to have the telescope point to Jupiter at the right time."
Giles is the lead author of a paper published this month in Geophysical Research Letters.
Amateur astronomers over the past decade have used Earth-based telescopes to detect six impacts on giant planet. But Giles and his colleagues had a special one advantage after used the Juno spacecraft located on the planet Jupiter itself.
"This flash stood out in the data, as it had very different spectral characteristics from the UV emissions from Jupiter's auras," Giles explained.
Looking at the brightness and more data from the flash, the team estimates that it came from a space rock with a mass between 249 and 1.497 kg that affected the jovial atmosphere at an altitude of about 225 km above the top of the clouds of Jupiter.
The things that "hit" Jupiter can be a very big deal. The biggest hit that was observed never on the planet was the impact of the Comet Shoemaker Levy 9 in 1994, which was widely studied.
"The effects of asteroids and comets could have a significant impact on the planet's stratospheric chemistry - 15 years after the impact, the comet Shoemaker Levy 9 "It was still responsible for 95 percent of the stratospheric water on Jupiter," Giles said. "We continue to we observe impacts and estimate the overall impact rates as it is an important element for understanding its composition planet. "
Source of information: cnet.com