Scientists find out what hit Jupiter in August

Scientists find out what hit Jupiter in August
Scientists find out what hit Jupiter in August

It turned out that the cause of the outbreak on the gas giant was an asteroid consisting of iron ore.


In August, a photographer recorded a flash of light only a few seconds long in Jupiter's atmosphere. Then scientists only assumed that an asteroid could be the cause of the bright spot on the planet's body. Nothing was known about its parameters, orbit and origin. The only evidence of a collision was a snapshot of amateur astronomer Ethan Chappel.

Now, using an open source program called DeTeCt, astronomers at Florida Institute of Technology have been able to reconstruct the asteroid's trajectory and measure its physical properties. Based on the parameters of the flash, they determined that the object was about 12-16 meters in diameter and had a mass of about 450 tons. Also, scientists managed to find out the composition of a celestial body. It turned out that it consists of half of iron, and the other half of silicates - minerals that are found in abundance on Earth.

Such a bright flash is rare for Jupiter. Usually, scientists find traces of a collision after the fact. This makes it possible to obtain only part of the data, and the parameters of the asteroids remain unexplored. Therefore, direct observation of the collision of a celestial body with gas giants is very important. Today, these events are being discovered with increasing frequency, thanks to the growing community of astrophotographers and amateur astronomers.

According to scientists, it is not so difficult to calculate the parameters of an asteroid that fell into the atmosphere of Jupiter, as it is into the atmosphere of Saturn. The DeTeCt program currently contains 103 full days of observations of Jupiter and only 13 - of Saturn. This means that astronomers cannot yet accurately calculate the trajectories of celestial bodies colliding with Saturn due to an insufficient number of observations.

According to astronomers, 20 to 60 objects collide with Jupiter every year. It is very rare to observe them directly. Sometimes this opportunity is provided to amateur astronomers. So if you want to become a pioneer, you have every chance for this. Especially for enthusiasts, Ethan Chappel posted on his Twitter page a list of equipment that he used to observe Jupiter.

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