is it similar to the ones from yesteryear?
Could Jupiter have just been hit by a sizable comet?

Anthony Wesley at 15:54 UT from Australia.
Notes new dark spot near Jupiter’s south pole.
Morphologically similar, in visible, to chain of spots seen after the Shoemaker-Levy/9 impacts

from – A. Wesley – click to embiggen

The dark spot, near the top of the image, is similar to the spots seen on Jupiter in 1994 after it was hit by comet Shoemaker-Levy/9.
So, the conjecture is, that this spot may also be due to an impact, by a comet or asteroid which snuck up on Jupiter without us observing it before impact.
Guess it is better to follow that spot…

Somebody ought to get some near-IR imaging on it. pronto, just in case it is hot and fading, which would be evidence of impact.

It is actually quite important this be followed up, it could just be transient atmospherics, which could even be somewhat interesting in and of itself, but it’d be significant if it turns out to be impact: proof of impact could be infra-red imaging showing the spot is hot and fading on an interesting time scale; or, pre-impact images showing a planetesimal on an impact trajectory, thought that’d require some serious luck.

See Mike Salway’s site for possible future times that the spot might be observable – ~7 am tuesday (UT) is likely next best bet for anyone who didn’t catch it tonight, so southwest US would be a good place to observe from.

Hm, if we see S-L/9 impact in ’94 and another one now, we have an interesting estimate of such impact rates, and if the back of my envelope is correct, the equivalent Earth impact rate would be of order one per 10,000-100,000 years, which would be interestingly large.
In the not-so-nice, worryingly annoying sense of the word “interesting”.

compare with S-L/9 post-impact spots – click to embiggen

h/t kos

also up on Bad Astronomy and Universe Today


  1. #1 onymous
    July 20, 2009

    That’s my soul up there.

    (Now there’s a song I haven’t thought about in a long time.)

  2. #2 Michael Richmond
    July 20, 2009

    Keck and IRTF have both observed it in the IR. Brief comments from the observers in each case confirm the likelihood that this feature is due to an impact. See the messages in this thread:

    I had a chance to take pictures of it last night, but the seeing at the southern edge of Lake Ontario is, um, not very good.

  3. #3 Dave Bacon
    July 20, 2009

    Ack! The Police are now stuck in my head. Damn you. (Oh, and very cool black spot on Jupiter!)

  4. #4 Elijah
    July 21, 2009

    Weird, how many signs can Gid give that we will be hit by asteroid (Nov 6 of 2009). In 1994, just 3.5 years after I declared Saddam (or his advisors date-picking to make announcements) would regard the Jupiter-Mars-Venus triangle as armageddon (6000 years) and make televised on Jun 18 of 1991, at which the same time Oprah aired my declaration that activism should be not be physical but definately obligatory as verbal. I then prayed for a sign from Jova that he give me something to show the saints on Earth that I beleived Earth impact would occur on March 24 of 1997, and I assumed the 1991 impact was a good sign. Now after deserting my God, and returning in the only alternative year 2009, I felt a sign should be a resurrection of someone unworthy but known world round. A little trip to Ararat Armenia and i chicken out, another little trip to Ararat Turkey and i chicken out, then a well-known death and standing on a corner in Los Angeles i chicken out, and a delayed memorial in Gary offering me an interview and i chicken out, so then my court date which was delayed due to the intent of staying 40 days in Turkey is moved to July 20 (which is not Sothic because Julian July 20 is August 2) and other court cases are also delayed until July 20. So I pray on July 18 and i say, i have no idea if the body is buried yet, they talk autopsy, and murder, i need a sign. And here in Google i assume this is got to be internet BS of some guy saying he saw an impact on Jupiter today. So I go to turn down jury duty on the basis that unless i am a witness of someone’s guilt or innocense I cannot give any verdict but not-guilty (for I am here to judge the whole world as guilty and about to die). And I truly intended to do as the woman said to me, why do I have to go to Los Angeles to raise him. And I told her because it is not by the power of me that Jehovah does it but by the power of the queen of heaven. Besides I am looking to take a stand against the power and adoration of Jesse Jackson the way Elijah would. So can I make a simple phone call, no i chickened out. Heck I even turn around when cops tell me to leave a cemetery while hundreds hide in bushes. And I was also backwards and upside-down because I guess Barham Street is not Mount Sinai (Horeb) cemetery, the way and path i was destine to come from. So now we have an impact confirmed… and I am Thomas still.