free debate

July 19, 2009

Did Jupiter Just Get Hit?

Amateur astronomers play a important role in astronomy. Professionals just can't be watching all of the cool stuff out there, all the time. This recent photo, which has been spreading like wildfire across the Internet, was taken by an amateur astronomer in Australia. There is a lot of speculation that the dark spot at the top could be the aftermath of a large impact. You can see the resemblance to the Shoemaker-Levy 9 impact from 1994 (picture below).

There is still the possibility that is just a weather phenomena. Jupiter's clouds are very dynamic and something like this would not be that surprising. I wish the skies here were clear so I go out with my telescope and see it. If you have a telescope go out and give it a shot. Hopefully over the next few days. and more observations, we will find out what this is. This is science in action, making observations and trying to figure out what's going on.
You can see a larger image here. Times when it will be visible can be seen here.