The recording of impacts from space objects on Jupiter is such a rare event that, since 1994, only seven have been observed — but recently a Brazilian seems to have had great luck. At around 19:39 GMT on September 13, amateur astronomer José Luis Pereira discovered a possible candidate for a new impact on the gas giant.
On the night that José Luis Pereira watched Jupiter, the weather conditions were not favorable. Even so, he decided to look for possible bright spots in his registry with the help of the DeTeCt program — a free platform used to check transient events such as planetary impacts.
The program then accused a high probability that the change in the image previously perceived by Pereira could be a planetary collision. Now, new analyzes will be carried out to confirm if, in fact, it is an impact. If so, this could be the eighth recorded on Jupiter since 1994, when comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 hit the planet.
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Jupiter is a gas giant that rotates rapidly, completing a revolution around its axis every 10 hours. Therefore, its rotation rate varies according to the planet’s latitude — in the equatorial range, the rotation speed is greater than the speed of the poles. To know exactly where the possible impact occurred, it is necessary to use three systems to also determine the longitude of the event.
System I comprises 10° above or below the equator; System II considers all high latitudes; and System III takes into account the magnetosphere’s rotation and Jupiter’s official rotation rate—usually these three pieces of information are considered to arrive at a more certain result. The possible impact recorded by Pereira happened in the following position: latitude 5.5 ° and longitude 105.7 ° (System I), 83.3 ° (System II) and 273.4 ° (System III).
Amateur astronomers are being encouraged to review any recorded video or image within 5 minutes of possible impact. After all, with more information, it becomes easier to identify the event. Anyway, it’s another cool example of how citizen scientists contribute significantly to science.
Source: Sky & Telescope
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