A space rock hit the gaseous “surface” of Jupiter in October last year and the impact of this collision, who may have been the greatest in 28 yearswas so strong that observers here on Earth were able to capture the phenomenon.
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According to the scientists who made the record, astronomers and astrophysicists from Kyoto University in Japan, this explosion was equivalent to 2 million tons of TNT and triggered the largest explosive flash ever captured in the gas giant since 1994, when comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 hit the planet with a force of more than 300 million atomic bombs, leaving, according to NASA, dark, ringed “scars” that were eventually erased by Jupiter’s winds.
This new observation was taken by the Planetary Observation Camera for Optical Transient Research (PONCOTS), a collaborative astronomical observation project dedicated specifically to monitoring these flares on Jupiter.
The study, which has yet to be peer-reviewed, also describes that the rock had a mass of approximately 4.1 million kilograms and enter 15 to 30 meters in diametersufficient to release an impact energy equivalent to the Tunguska meteorite, which struck the Earth in 1908, more precisely in the Russian province of Siberia, and which is considered “the greatest cosmic impact that modern humanity has ever witnessed”.
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“This detection indicates that Tunguska-like impact events on Jupiter occur approximately once a year, two to three orders of magnitude more frequent than terrestrial impacts,” the researchers said in the paper.
The detail shows the glare region. — Photo: Arimatsu et al/Kyoto University/PONCOTS
Also according to the authors of the publication, studying how these phenomena occur on Jupiter is important because allows science to better understand the consequences of possible similar impacts here on the surface of the Earth.
“Because these impacts only occur once every 102 to 103 years on Earth, their emission characteristics are unknown,” they pointed out.
According to the US space agency, the impact of Tunguska was so strong that a seismic shock wave was even recorded in England.
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