News Flash – Another Jupiter Fireball!

A frame from Tachikawa's video with an arrow pointing to the flash.The Great Red Spot is at top. Credit: Masayuki Tachikawa

Japanese amateur astronomer Masayuki Tachikawa, 52,  of Japan, captured video of a possible new impact on Jupiter at 3:32 a.m. local time (1:32 p.m. CDT) August 21. The small, 2-second duration brightening near the north edge of Jupiter’s Northern Equatorial Belt (rough position is 140 degrees System II, +17)  looks very similar to another flash seen by Jupiter observers Anthony Wesley and Christopher Go back on June 3. That spot was likely caused by the impact of a small comet or meteoroid in the planet’s atmosphere.  Tachikawa’s flash was later confirmed by Tokyo amateur Aoki Kazuo whose photo you can see HERE.

The two observers were separated by hundreds of miles and recorded the impact at the same time and location on the planet, ruling out any chance it might have been a glitch in a particular camera or glint from a satellite. Observers have been on the lookout for impact-related debris during later rotations of Jupiter but have yet to see anything.

To watch a video of the event, please click HERE. More information can be found on Kelly Beatty’s blog at Sky and Telescope’s website.