Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Religiously Observing Jupiter Pays Off for Christopher Go After Unknown Object Impacts

Christopher Go is an amateur astronomer in the Philippines. He's know for taking pictures of Jupiter and observing the change in color of a spot on Jupiter called Red Spot Jr. He  alerted astronomy authorities about it. Now, he's known worldwide. That was back in February of 2006. Ten years later, on June 3, 2010, it seems his religious observation of Jupiter had paid off again when he documented the impact of a large object on Jupiter on video. The event, which he confirmed with the footage, was actually observed by his friend, Australian astronomer, Anthony Wesley.

The object that hit Jupiter was unknown, but it hit in these coordinates: Jovian latitude minus 16.1°, and central meridian longitudes CM1: 300°, CM2: 33.8° and CM3: 210.4°."The impact produced a flash that was likely the result of the object exploding in the Jovian atmosphere. It is likely an asteroid. The photo and cropped detail shown here is from a still of the video made by Go of the event.

Wesley and Go (left) are now well-known Jupiter observers. Their success proves that it pays to keep an eye on Jupiter with your telescope. If you have the equipment to take photos and video, then you can capture events that professional astronomers may be too busy to notice. Jupiter presents a nice disk where anything can happen. Cloud patterns change and you never know if another object hits it. If you watch the video, you will see a faint flash (impact) first followed by a larger one (explosion). Here is the link to the video of Christopher Go of the Jupiter-impact event. It was posted on YouTube by kurtjmac:

You can follow Christopher Go's observations of Jupiter here:

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