Scientists at the Southwest Research Institute in the United States have noticed anomalies in the images of Jupiter. Upon further study, it turned out that they were caused by a meteor flash in the planet’s atmosphere.
Researchers, with the help of the spacecraft “Juno”, suddenly noticed a bright flash above Jupiter’s clouds. Scientists studied the phenomenon with an ultraviolet spectrograph (UVS) and determined that they were filming a fireball (a meteor brighter than Venus) – an extremely bright meteorite explosion in the upper atmosphere of the gas giant.
“Jupiter is hit by a huge number of impacts per year, much more than the Earth, so the impacts themselves are not uncommon for us, – the researchers note. “However, they are so short-lived that it is rather unusual to observe them. Only larger collisions can be seen from Earth, so we’re lucky to point the telescope at Jupiter at the right time. Over the past decade, amateur astronomers have captured six impacts on Jupiter. ”
Since the beginning of the study of Jupiter in 2016, “Juno” has been used to study the morphology, brightness and spectral characteristics of the planet; the device approaches the planet’s surface every 53 days. The devices of the device periodically observe short-term localized ultraviolet radiation outside the aurora zone, including a single event on April 10, 2020.
Previously, researchers observed eleven bright transient flares that lasted from 1 to 2 milliseconds. They have been identified as Transient Luminous Events (TLEs), a phenomenon in the upper atmosphere caused by lightning. Initially, the team believed that the new bright flash could also be a transient light phenomenon, but it lasted much longer – about 17 milliseconds.
“The duration of the burst and the spectral shape suggests that it was a collision. According to our data, the radiation came from a dark body. Its approximate temperature is 9300 degrees Celsius, it was located at an altitude of 225 km, and its mass was approximately 250-1500 kg.”