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Amateur astronomer captures video of something crashing into Jupiter

Published Nov 23rd, 2023 5:32PM EST
auroras on Jupiter
Image: NASA, ESA, CSA, Jupiter ERS Team; image processing by Judy Schmidt.

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An amateur astronomer in Japan has captured video of a comet crashing into Jupiter. A tweet sharing the video was posted earlier this month, and it shows a bright flash against the planet as a super-bright comet, or bolide as these objects are known, crashes into the gas giant. It’s a quick flash that passes quickly, but it’s still really nice to see it captured on video.

Of course, Jupiter isn’t the only planet that these super-bright comets crash into. We also see these fireballs crash into Earth, though they usually explode and disintegrate before they get far into our atmosphere. Jupiter has seen similar crashes over the past decades, too, partly because of the gas giant’s powerful gravitational pull.

This particular comet crash wasn’t anything spectacular, at least not compared to some of the others that we’ve seen over the years. Still, it is fascinating to watch, and astronomers say it likely didn’t cause any damage to Jupiter itself. 

Another comet that crashed into Jupiter back in 1994 left huge, dark scars throughout the planet’s atmosphere and sent superheated plumes into Jupiter’s stratosphere. Of course, Bolides haven’t presented much of a problem for Earth just yet, and even if we did end up with a comet or asteroid that was fairly large, NASA has programs in the works – like its DART program – that will help protect our planet from incoming celestial objects.

The bolides that have crashed into Earth aren’t nearly large enough to cause issues, though, and most of the time, they either burn up in the atmosphere or fall over expansive oceanic areas, making it impossible to find and study them. Not that long ago, though, we did see some fireballs in the sky above Japan, creating a beautiful sight in the sky for just a few moments before it burned up.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.

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