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  • Rapt in Awe

    My Journey through the Astronomical Year

    Think of this as a "companion text" to this, the main web site. Not required reading, butI hope you'll find it interesting and helpful.

Something big has hit Jupiter again

New dark spot on Jupiter taken with Hubble's Wide-Field Camera 3 on July 23.

New dark spot on Jupiter taken with Hubble's Wide-Field Camera 3 on July 23.

Apparently a comet smashed into Jupiter recently and the result – a “black eye” – was discovered by an Australian amateur. It’s visible in backyard telescopes, but you have to know just when to look – Jupiter rotates pretty quickly and you’re only going to see this if that side of the planet is turned right towards you. You also probably need to wait unti close to midnight when Jupiter is fairly high int he southeast.

Or, you can check out this shot from Hubble and read the New York Times story about it.

I got one look at Jupiter since the spot appeared – but I didn’t know it was there and got interrupted by a love-sick fox. (See my post here.)

Back in 1993 we all got excited as we watched the reports pour in  from observatories over that new thing, the World Wide Web,  as a comet smashed into Jupiter. That one was predicted well in advance and observatories all over the world were tuned into the event.

OK – how to see this one: First, find Jupiter – brightest star in the southeast rising just after sunset. Now go to this page at Sky and Telescope which predicts when the Great Red Spot will be front and center. Add two hours six minutes to any of those times and that when this new black eye should be best seen.

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One Response

  1. Jupiter serves as an asteroid catcher to protect Earth. Some scientists say that for a planet to sustain life, it has to have an asteroid catcher like Jupiter in its solar system. That gash is seriously the size of Earth! Scary! Cool picture! Anyways, I have a song called “Goodbye Jupiter” you may like! http://identityarmy.wordpress.com/files/2009/07/derek-jordan-goodbye-jupiter.mp3

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