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Watch: Bright Flash Spotted in Jupiter's Atmosphere

Flashes like these are caused by asteroids or comets from the edges of the solar system which impact Jupiter's atmosphere. Read More

Sunday September 17, 2023 6:19 PM, ummid.com Science Desk

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Mumbai: Ohsugi Tadao, an amateur Japanese astronomer spotted a bright flash in Jupiter's atmosphere. One of the brightest ever recorded on the giant gas planet, the flash was observed on August 28, 2023.

“At 16:45:54 UT on August 28, we observed a flash of light that appeared to be the impact of a small celestial body on the surface of Jupiter”, Ohsugi Tadao wrote while sharing a video on YouTube.

“It was very lucky and moving”, he added.

The video was received by a lot of interests by skygazers, with some suggesting that Ohsugi Tadao should send the video to Japanese space agency, JAXA, for further probe.

“Amazing video, I think you should sent it to JAXA. That kind of impact in Jupiter is very rare and, in my modest opinion, should be studied by your space agency, a viewer commented.

Ohsugi Tadao later sent the video to Dr Ko Arimatsu, an Astronomer at Kyoto University via an email. After receiving the email, Dr Arimatsu put a call out for more information. Consequently, he received response from six more who had seen the “bright flash on Jupiter” on August 28, 2023.

"Direct observation of these bodies is virtually impossible, even with advanced telescopes," Dr. Arimatsu told The New York Times.

Flashes like these are caused by asteroids or comets from the edges of the solar system which impact Jupiter's atmosphere.

“Jupiter's gravity lures in these objects which eventually slam into the planet, making it a unique and invaluable tool for studying them directly”, he added.

Dr. Arimatsu explained that these flashes are a crucial way to understand our solar system's history. He added that they "offer a glimpse of the violent processes that were happening in the early days of our solar system," said Leigh Fletcher, a planetary scientist at the University of Leicester in England. It's like "seeing planetary evolution in action."

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The report stated that such powerful impacts on Jupiter are lot more rare, but they do occur. In 1994, a comet whacked the planet with so much force that it left a visible debris field. Another impact was seen in 2009.

Might not be similar, but a team of scientists at U.S. space agency NASA had back in October 2020 spotted what they called "strange flashes of light known as Transient Luminous Events" (TLEs) in the upper atmosphere of Jupiter".

Transient Luminous Events or TLEs occur in the ionosphere 100 km above the ground over thunderstorms. The light is generated by the excitation of nitrogen molecules due to electron collisions.


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