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Scientists accidentally discovered a meteor hitting Jupiter



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This color-enhanced image shows a Juno view of NASA’s Juno Jupiter in late 2020.

NASA / JPL-Caltech / SwRI / MSSS; Tanya Oleksuik̵

7;s image processing

Researchers use NASA’s Juno Spacecraft When examining Jupiter’s aurora, they said that they were lucky last spring and discovered a very bright meteor explosion in the process.

For Jupiter, such an impact is not uncommon, because it is the largest planet in the solar system and has extremely high gravitational pull.

Rohini Giles of the Southwest Research Institute said in a statement: “However, their lifespan is so short that they are rarely seen.” “You must be lucky, just at the right time.” Point the telescope at Jupiter.”

Giles is the lead author of a paper published this month in Geophysical Research Letters.

In the past decade, amateur astronomers have used Earth-based telescopes to discover six impacts on this huge planet, including 2019 is very dramatic. However, Giles and his colleagues took advantage of Juno Jupiter’s company to have a clear advantage.

Giles explained: “This bright flash is noticeable in the data because its spectral characteristics are different from the ultraviolet light emitted by Jupiter’s aurora.”

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SwRI scientists studied the area imaged by Juno’s UVS instrument on April 10, 2020 and determined that in Jupiter’s upper atmosphere, a large meteoroid exploded in a bright fireball. The UVS survey zone includes part of the auroral ellipse north of Jupiter, shown in pure green, representing hydrogen emissions. In contrast, bright spots (see enlarged image) are mostly yellow, indicating that there is a lot of emission at longer wavelengths.

Southwest Resources Institute

By looking at the brightness of the flash and other data, the research team estimated that it came from a space rock with a mass between 550 and 3,300 pounds (249 to 1,497 kilograms) that affected Jupiter’s atmosphere at an altitude of about 140 miles (225 kilometers). Above the clouds of Jupiter.

The impact of Jupiter may be a big event. The biggest downfall on the planet was the impact of comet shoemaker Levy 9 in 1994. This study has been extensively studied.

Giles said: “The impact of asteroids and comets may have a major impact on the Earth’s stratospheric chemistry. 15 years after the impact, Shoemaker Levy 9 still accounts for 95% of Jupiter’s stratospheric water,” “So continue to observe Impact and estimating the overall impact rate are important factors in understanding the composition of the planet.”

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