An asteroid or icy object collided with the giant planet Jupiter on September 13 and exploded in the dense clouds. A Brazilian space photographer, o José Luis Pereira, immortalized it rare event of the solar system.
The object was tens of meters wide (probably from 36 to 48). Traveling at high speed, he traveled deeper and deeper into the heavy atmosphere of Jupiter, where due to intense friction and overheating it exploded.
The glow of one or two seconds resulting from such an explosion is similar to the glow of light sometimes observed in Earth when an asteroid of sufficient size explodes in the atmosphere, a phenomenon known as "air explosion».
Now, days after the incident, astronomers do not believe that the object could be very large, as the explosion would have left large holes in the clouds of Jupiter.
However, the impact and explosion that ensued certainly produced a glowing light. Astronomers and others researchers use this brightness to measure the size of a bumping object, the Cathy Plesko, a scientist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory investigating the effects of asteroids and comets. A larger object creates a more energetic explosion and glow.
Objects often hit Zeus. It is a large target with strong gravitational pull. But it is less common for someone to capture them, such as photographer Pereira. In addition, Pereira achieved this with an amateur telescope, not through a powerful space observatory.
Plans show that our solar system, now about 4,5 billion years old, is still a bustling, energetic place.
This reality is a strong reminder that threats to Earth, especially from asteroids, are appearing in the solar system. This is a cause for concern. NASA, federal agencies and global organizations are currently investigating the solar system for potentially threatening objects.
Scientists estimate that objects larger than 140 meters near the Earth have not yet been found. These meteorites could destroy urban areas. An asteroid believed to be about 30 to 51 meters left a crater 182 meters deep in Arizona 50.000 years ago. "A similar magnitude of impact today could destroy a city the size of Kansas City," David Kring, an impact expert at the Lunar and Planetary Institute, told NASA this year.