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Amateur astronomers witness “big bang” on Jupiter

by Brandon Russell | March 29, 2016March 29, 2016 10:40 am PST


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An amateur astronomer out of Austria has captured astonishing video of what he claims is an asteroid impact on Jupiter.

The event, which occurred on March 17, was initially thought to be a visual anomaly but has since been corroborated by a second video taken in Ireland.

Using a 20-centimeter telescope, the video displays a brief flash on Jupiter’s right-hand side, suggesting it was struck by a comet or asteroid (or alien spaceship?); it’s a faint impact, barely perceptible, but in the second video it’s much easier to see.

According to Phil Plait over at Bad Astronomy, the asteroid was probably only a few hundred feet in diameter though its impact released an incredible amount of energy—about 25 times as high as here on Earth. For context, researchers believe the asteroid that burned up over Russia in 2013 exploded with the energy of 500,000 tons of TNT. Imagine what that would have been like if it were 25 times stronger.

Considering amateur astronomers were able to observe the incident from Earth is also telling of just how immense the impact’s energy was. In simplest terms, Plait said it was a “very, very big bang.”

Check out the videos to see what this “very big bang” looked like.

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Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell likes to rollerblade while listening to ACDC.