Asteriod caused giant hole on JupiterJanuary 31st, 2011 - 4:42 pm ICT by IANS
London, Jan 31 (IANS) A huge rock, some 500 metres long, hit Jupiter and created a hole the size of the Pacific Ocean, roughly the equivalent of Jupiter’s Little Red Spot, scientists say.
It was the first time scientists had monitored an asteroid hitting the planet. Previously, it had been thought that icy comets hit Jupiter after being sucked in by its gravitational field.
Researchers said the discovery was “intriguing” and a reminder that the solar system is a “complex and violent” place, reports the journal Icarus.
It was shortly after lunchtime July 19, 2009, that amateur astronomer Anthony Wesley became the first to notice the impact from the observatory in his home in New South Wales, Australia, according to the Daily Mail.
He thought it was a dark spot but having got a better angle, he could see it was entirely black, meaning an impact had occurred.
He contacted Nasa and until now there has been confusion over what could have caused such spot to appear on the planet’s surface.
Researchers used data from three infrared cameras to examine Jupiter’s atmosphere, the composition of certain gases and chemical conditions in the impact debris.
They concluded the asteroid would have released the equivalent of five gigatons of TNT when it crash-landed and sent debris so high into the air it went above the cloud tops.
The impact of the asteroid was almost exactly 15 years after Jupiter was hit by the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9.
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- Past comet collisions 'left ripples in Jupiter and Saturn rings' - Apr 01, 2011
- Meteor strikes Jupiter yet again - Jun 07, 2010
- Neptune might have been hit with icy comet two centuries ago - May 29, 2010
- Amateur astronomers open potential lab in outer space for scientists - Sep 11, 2010
- New dark "scar" indicates an object has bombarded Jupiter - Jul 21, 2009
- Jupiter made comet its temporary moon for 12 years in mid-20th century - Sep 14, 2009
- Potato-shaped asteroid could be a stillborn planet - Oct 30, 2011
- Jupiter possibly hit by object, NASA says - Jul 22, 2009
- NASA's Swift satellite, Hubble Telescope probe asteroid collision debris - Apr 29, 2011
- Jupiter Struck By Meteor - Jun 07, 2010
- Asteroids hit earth more frequently than thought - Apr 26, 2012
- Trojan asteroids around Neptune could turn into comets that might hit Earth - Jul 31, 2010
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