Amateur astronomer catches image of Jupiter hit by a large object

Jupiter is like the hockey goalie of the heavens. This week, the solar system’s largest planet stopped another large object, scientists said.

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José Luis Pereira, an amateur astronomer from Brazil, captured a bright flash Monday night on Jupiter’s surface, Space.com reported.

Scientists are unsure whether the object was a large rock, an asteroid or even a comet. Whatever it was, it caused a bright flash in the planet’s atmosphere.

“I am an assiduous planetary observer,” Pereira told Space.com in a written statement Tuesday. “When the planets Jupiter, Saturn and Mars are in opposition, I try to make images in every possible night of clear skies. Especially [of] the planet Jupiter, my favorite.”

Pereira set up his equipment in São Caetano do Sul in southeastern Brazil, Space.com reported. He went to bed after feeding the 25 videos he reviewed into the DeTeCt program and then was surprised the next day.

“To my surprise, in the first video I noticed a different glow on the planet, but I didn’t pay much attention to it as I thought it might be something related to the parameters adopted, and I continued watching normally,” Pereira wrote to Space.com. “So as not to stop the captures in progress for fear that weather conditions would worsen, I didn’t check the first video.”

“I checked the result only on the morning of the 14th, when the program alerted me to the high probability of impact and verified that there was indeed a record in the first video of the night,” Pereira wrote.

Pereira sent the information to Marc Delcroix of the French Astronomical Society, who confirmed that the video had captured an impact that occurred at 6:39 p.m. EDT on Monday, Space.com reported.

“For me, it was a moment of great emotion, as I have been looking for a record of (such an) event for many years,” Pereira wrote.