Monday, August 23, 2010

Amateur Astronomer Catches Meteor Streaks On Jupiter

The Earth isn't alone in experiencing meteor streaks (shooting stars) as debris from comets or meteorites hit the atmosphere. Astronomers have caught similar events when looking at Jupiter, but it now appears that they are far more common than previously thought.
A Japanese amateur astronomer witnessed a flash on Jupiter over the weekend - less than three months after similar blip, apparently caused by a meteor fall, created a sensation among astronomers. The event suggests that the giant planet may be experiencing shooting stars more frequently than scientists thought, and that it's just a case of looking in the right place at the right time.

That's what Masayuki Tashikawa was doing early Saturday morning Japan time (around 18:22 GMT or 2:22 p.m. ET Friday), when he had his video-equipped telescope pointed in Jupiter's direction from Kumamoto city on the island of Kyushu. In the 4-second video clip above, the second-long flash can be seen toward the lower left, about halfway through the clip.

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