Meteor Strikes Jupiter: Fireball the Size of Earth!

June 7, 2010

Two amateur astronomers in the Philippines and Australia have captured the first ever video footage as a meteor strikes Jupiter. The stunning footage shows a full shot of the massive planet, and the impact can be seen quite clearly. Scientists say that such an impact on earth would wipe out life on the planet. Check out the full story, with pictures and video below!

meteor strike

With a fiery explosion half the size of earth, the interplanetary object that struck the giant planet is said to have been at least 500 meters wide. Last year, astronomers noticed a scar the size of the Pacific Ocean on the south pole of the gas giant that was linked to a similar impact.

As the second massive meteor strikes Jupiter within a year, scientists are re-examining their theory of impacting objects which had forecasted such impacts as quite rare. Generally, astronomers believed these events would be separated by hundreds of years.

Anthony Weasley, a respected Australian astronomer caught still images of the collision in the early morning hours.

“When I saw the flash, I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “The fireball lasted about 2 seconds and was very bright.”

Christopher Go, stationed in the Philippines, said the impact scar disappeared within the hour.

“There were no visible remains at the impact point for the next half hour or so, until sunrise put an end to the imaging. Adding, “I still can’t believe that I caught a live impact on Jupiter,”

Scientists were able to extrapolate data from the explosion and apply the findings to a similar scenario on earth.

“It would be a catastrophe,” said Agustin Sanchez-Lavega of the University of the Basque Country in Bilbao, Spain.

“The Jupiter impact produced a pattern of debris some 5,000km long and 2,800 km wide – half the size of the Earth. And even if the response of the Earth atmosphere is different from that of Jupiter, entire continents could be destroyed.”

Well there you have it: fun to watch, not to experience. What do you think of the footage of the meteor strikes? Jupiter is a big target with a huge gravity pull. Does the fact that scientists did not see the impact coming make you worry about the same thing might happen here on earth? Let me know in the comment section!

In case you missed it, check out the pictures and video of the collision below!

JupiterJupiter  2 Jupiter  3 Jupiter  4 Jupiter  5 .jpgJupiter  6

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