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Skywatchers in Japan spot Jupiter hit by another space rock

Indian spacecraft heads towards centre of solar system
Source: Pixabay

Skywatchers in Japan have reported seeing a flash in Jupiter’s northern hemisphere’s atmosphere, which they believe was caused by an asteroid colliding with the planet.

A skywatcher in Brazil made a similar observation last month.

“The flash felt like it was shining for a very long time to me,” Twitter user @yotsuyubi21, who photographed the flash with a Celestron C6 telescope, was quoted as saying to

The observation was confirmed by a team led by Ko Arimatsu, an astronomer at Japan’s Kyoto University who is involved in the Organised Autotelescopes for Serendipitous Event Survey (OASES) project.

According to a tweet from the project, the October 15 observation included two types of light, visible and infrared, giving Jupiter an eerie pink glow, according to the report.

“Jupiter regularly experiences such impacts because of the powerful gravitational tug associated with its mass: Smaller objects, like the asteroids that litter the solar system, can easily end up pulled into the planet’s thick, turbulent atmosphere,” the report said.

Objects at least 45 metres across strike Jupiter every few months on average, though observational constraints mean that even the most thorough monitoring programme may only catch one or two impacts per year, according to some researchers.

The October 15 flash hit the planet’s North Tropical Zone, near the southern edge of the North Temperate Belt, according to Sky & Telescope. The observers are unsure whether the impact left a debris field that scientists can monitor, which is dependent on a number of factors, including the size of the object and the location of the impact.

The September flash, on the other hand, left no debris, according to the report.

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Jike Eric

Jike Eric has completed his degree program in Chemical Engineering. Jike covers Business and Tech news on Insider Paper.

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