Science

Amateur Astronomers Capture Rare Footage of Asteroid Hitting Jupiter

What are the odds that 2 amateur astronomers captured the same rare incident at the exact same moment almost a whole continent apart? Well… who cares! The lucky nerds capture some really cool footage!

On March 17, in Moedling, Austria, amateur astronomer Gerrit Kernbauer captured the rare sight of a small asteroid or comet hitting the surface of Jupiter almost 600 million miles away. He caught this all using his 8-inch Skywatcher Newton 200/1000 telescope and a camera.

On the other side of the continent in Swords, Ireland, and at the same perfect moment, John McKeon filmed the exact same thing with his 11-inch telescope, a camera, and an infrared pass filter. McKeon says the incident happened at exactly 00:18:45 UT.

Astronomer Phil Plait commented on the remarkable rare coincidence by saying that due to Jupiter’s gravity, it was hit by the comet/asteroid with 5 times the velocity and 25 times the energy that it would have, had it hit Earth instead. This, he said, is why we could see the incident that took place a million miles away.