For the second time this summer, amateur astronomers recorded an impact on Jupiter—big enough to be seen from earth. Is it an asteroid? Or an alien? Well, almost definitely an asteroid (or comet) nucleus. But judge for yourself!
Astronomer Masayuki Tachikawa of Japan was able to take the video early Saturday morning, and the impact was quickly confirmed by other astronomers. According to Sky & Telescope, neither Chris Go nor Anthony Wesley, the two amateurs who witnessed the June 3 impact, were watching the planet on Saturday.
As astronomy blogger Emily Lakdawalla points out, these enormous impacts might be way more common that we previously thought—occurring as frequently as four times a year. Jupiter specialist Glenn Orton of the Jet Propulsion lab is thinking big:
"Perhaps the time has come," he adds, "to establish a worldwide network of Jupiter-monitoring telescopes so that the planet can be watched 24/7."
I agree! And I think the time has come to establish a space-navy, unrivaled in power and size, prepared to sail the solar system and make sure that it's just big space rocks hitting Jupiter, and not Galactus, destroyer of worlds, setting up shop.
[via Bad Astronomy]