On the 17th of March, Jupiter was slammed by what appears to be an asteroid or comet. The good new is that two amateur astronomers who happened to be looking to the sky managed to capture the moment. That same day of the impact, a Reddit user from Austria shared the moment and the impact was confirmed by a second amateur astronomer in Ireland, who simultaneously filmed the same encounter. The video was shared by Gerrit Kernbauer.
Using his 8 inch Skywatcher 200/1000 telescope and a camera, Kernbauer from Moedling, Austria captured the rare sight. In the 30 second footage, a bright object appears as a flash of light from the right side of the frame. The event happens so fast that it can be easily missed as the object crashes into the side of the planet in a brief eruption of light. At first, it was not clear what exactly occurred but Kernbauer speculated that “this is an asteroid or comet that enters Jupiter’s high atmosphere and burned up/explode very fast.”
The second view of the moment was captured by John Mckeon from Swords, Ireland. His footage also shows an object approaching Jupiter from the right side of the camera, before making impact. Using an 11-inch telescope, a camera and an infrared-pass filter, Mckeon’s device proved that the impact was also captured at exactly 00:18:45 UT.
People who have already been able to check out the video, shared their awes in the comments.
While witnessing such an event is not so common, Jupiter is hit by asteroids or comets fairly often. Some of the impact are even big enough to be seen from Earth, happening roughly once a year. Capturing one of these collisions therefore isn’t a far-off possibility for amateur astronomers with the patience to sift through a lot of footage.