Asteroid hits Jupiter and unleashes an explosion visible from Earth: the spectacular images


Asteroid hits Jupiter and unleashes an explosion visible from Earth: the spectacular images
Written by aquitodovale

An asteroid the size of a building crashed into Jupiter, triggering a visible flash from Earth. The event released 2 megatons of energy.

A asteroid with a diameter between 15 and 30 meters it crashed into Jupiterproducing an explosion so bright that it is perfectly visible from the Land, even through amateur telescopes. The impact, which occurred on October 15, 2021, was the most “brilliant” recorded in the last 28 years, ie since the fragments of the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 they landed on the gas giant between July 16 and 22, 1994. Last year’s event was captured by a specialized observatory and will help astronomers predict the consequences of similar impacts on our planet.

Credit: Kyoto University / PONCOTS / Arimatsu et al

A Japanese research team led by scientists from the Hakubi Center of Kyoto University, who collaborated closely with colleagues from the Department of Natural Sciences of the University of Tokyo City, immortalized and described the crash of the asteroid on Jupiter. , the Institute of Space and Astronautical Sciences (ISAS) of the Japanese Space Agency (JAXA) and the Japan National Astronomical Observatory in Mitaka. The scientists, coordinated by Professor Ko Arimatsu, professor at the Kyoto University School of Sciences, captured the object’s impact on Jupiter thanks to the Planetary Observation Camera for Optical Transient Surveys (PONCOTS), an observatory that constantly monitors the largest planet in the solar system.

The information collected allowed scholars to determine that the “space stone“Before disintegrating it had a dimension understood between 15 and 30 meters and a mass of 4.1 million kilograms. It was so fast that the ablation process led to it heating up to 8,000 ° Ccausing an explosion in part comparable to that of the famous Tunguska eventthe collision of an object which occurred on June 30, 1908 on a Siberian forest. The explosion occurred between 5 and 10 kilometers high from the earth’s surface and was so powerful that it razed to the ground up to 80 million trees on an area of ​​over 2 thousand square kilometers. Fortunately, the boreal forest was uninhabited and there were no casualties among the population (there are two probable ones). The Tunguska event released an energy equal to 10 – 15 Megatons (1 Megaton is equivalent to the energy released by 1 million tons of TNT), a thousand times more powerful than atomic bomb on Hiroshima. The impact of the asteroid on Jupiter instead released an energy of about 2 Megatonsproducing a bright flash clearly evident in the planet’s atmosphere.

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Professor Arimatsu and colleagues estimate that events comparable to that of Tunguska (from an energetic point of view) on Jupiter are very frequent, about once a year, so they are 100 to 1000 times more common than on Earth. The details of the research “Detection of an extremely large impact flash on Jupiter by high-cadence multiwavelength observations” have been uploaded to the ArXiv online database, pending publication in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

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