The collision of a space rock with the gaseous “surface” of Jupiter generated an explosion on the planet, with a force equivalent to 2 million tons of TNT, causing the biggest flash ever seen on Earth in the gas giant of the last 28 years. According to scientists, the explosion may have been similar to the meteorite collision in our planet’s recent history. The phenomenon occurred in October last year, but only now has a survey detailing what happened been released.
According to Kyoto University in Japan, this was the largest explosion recorded on Jupiter since 1994. That year, comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 caused an explosion equivalent to 300 million atomic bombs and left marks in the atmosphere of the gas planet. .
The record of the collision that occurred last year was carried out by the Planetary Observation Camera for Optical Transient Research (Poncots), a project created with the aim of specifically monitoring the explosions and flashes that happen on Jupiter.
It is worth noting that this was the first time that an impact on the planet was recorded by an observatory dedicated to this objective. Until this record, the snapshots were taken by independent astronomers.
According to estimates, the rock had between 15 and 30 meters in diameter, that is, smaller than Jupiter, however, with a speed sufficient to cause heating in a temperature of up to 8,000 °C.
For the researchers, the impact of the collision was equivalent to that of the Tunguska meteorite, which hit Siberia in 1908. This meteorite is considered the largest to hit Earth during modern humanity.
This type of collision is not uncommon on Jupiter. Due to its size, the gas giant ends up attracting a large number of asteroids. However, the flash, the result of collisions, is not recorded often here on Earth.