A video captured by a Japanese amateur astronomer shows an extremely bright comet, also known as a fireball, exploding as it collides with Jupiter.
the Futurism Jupiter has strong gravity, causing similar spectacular collisions over the years. This wasn’t particularly strong. Unlike some previous impacts witnessed by humanity, there appears to be no visible, permanent damage to the planet’s gaseous atmosphere, but it is still an impressive sight.
“There was another impact on Jupiter!” Heidi Hamel, who also works with NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, wrote in her article. “The bright flash is a fireball in Jupiter’s atmosphere.”
Objects like the ones shown in the video aren’t found only on Jupiter. A small handful of fireballs enter Earth’s atmosphere every year. They burn quickly and often enter the Earth’s atmosphere over large ocean areas, making them difficult to detect.
There was another impact on Jupiter last night! The bright flash is a shooting star – a shooting star in Jupiter’s atmosphere. Too small to leave an impact site as we saw in 1994 and 2009. https://t.co/8JRPBqA0gm
– Dr. Heidi B. Hammel (@hbhammel) November 16, 2023
While this fireball may not have caused actual damage to Jupiter, other impacts certainly did. In 1994, the gas giant was bombarded for days with pieces of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9, an event that NASA says “left huge, dark scars in the planet’s atmosphere and raised hot clouds of smoke into the stratosphere.”
Hamel, who at the time led “observations of the comet in visible light” using the Hubble Space Telescope, sees this impact as a turning point in relations between Earth and asteroids.
“Shoemaker Levi 9 was kind of painful,” Hamel said of the impact of 2019.
It helped me understand how important it is to monitor our immediate neighborhood and understand the potential impacts that could hit Earth in the future.
Fireballs haven’t been a major problem for Earth yet, and as NASA’s successful DART test last year showed, humanity has made significant progress in asteroid defense systems.