Jupiter Fireball Spotted by Skywatchers (Video)

By Madeline Liu
Madeline Liu
Madeline Liu
August 23, 2010 Updated: September 29, 2015

[youtube]1_gibBy-16w[/youtube] Jupiter Impact Aug 20th – 3rd Impact in 13 monthsA new fireball was spotted and recorded on Jupiter in two separate sightings by novice Japanese sky-watchers on Aug. 20.

The luminous meteor was the third sighted in 13 months, and the 490 mile distance between the two amateur astronomers “also excluded the possibility of the flash coming from an event near Earth,” said Tony Phillips on Spaceweather.com.

The fireball has been spotted exactly a year after an asteroid crashed into the planet, on July 19, 2009.

On June 3, 2010, two other amateur watchers spotted a fireball, one in Australia and one in the Philippines. However, no visible debris clouds were seen accompanying the sighting, even when using a Hubble Space Telescope.

Director of the British Astronomical Association’s Jupiter section, John Rogers, told Spaceweather.com: "Like the event of June 3rd, this fireball did not produce any visible debris."

The June 3 fireball was later confirmed to be a meteor. According to astronomers’ estimates when the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 exploded in 1994, such collisions could occur on Jupiter “every 50 to 250 years,” reported Space.com.

Astronomers are now reconsidering their estimates of the frequencies of these Jupiter collisions.

Madeline Liu