An Australian amateur astronomer discovered an asteroid impact in Jupiter’s southern hemisphere last year. By an amazing coincidence, he caught another impact that day astronomer Heidi Hammel’s paper on the 2009 hit was published. Here’s the movie from Anthony Wesley:
Scientists estimate that last year’s impact was caused by an asteroid about a third of a mile across.
We should indeed be thankful for having Jupiter as our guardian about a half-billion miles away. One Universe Today commenter puts it well:
Good old Jupiter.. taking one for the team as usual, so Earth doesn’t have to (very often, at least).
If it weren’t for Jupiter, it’s pretty likely the next largest planet near the asteroid belt (meaning Earth) would be seeing a lot more action. You can bet that if we can observe ocean-sized burn marks on Jupiter coming from a 1500-ft rock, that a similar sized wanderer would do a lot of damage to our fair blue orb.