On Monday 10 September in Wisconsin, USA amateur astronomer Dan Petersen saw something incredible while viewing Jupiter from his backyard – a bright white flash on the planet’s surface.
The unexpected explosion lasted for about two seconds and appeared to be about 100-miles wide, Petersen wrote on community blog CloudyNights.com. “My best guess is that it was a small undetected comet that is now history,” he added.
In Dallas, Texas, another amateur astronomer George Hall happened to capture the flash on video. Watch it below.
The possible crash adds to the theory that Jupiter acts as an impact shield for Earth, NBC News’ Alan Boyle explains:
Astronomers suspect that giant Jupiter’s gravitational pull serves as a cosmic shield, sweeping up incoming objects that would have a deadlier effect if they were to slam into our planet. Some scientists say that without Jupiter, life on Earth wouldn’t have had much of a chance.
Thanks Jupiter from all at Sky-Watching!