back to article Jupiter takes a serious knock

Astronomers using the Keck Observatory in Hawaii have captured the aftermath of an object slamming into Jupiter - material thrown up into the atmosphere by the impact and posing for the camera in the infrared: Keck II infred image of the impact site. Pic: Paul Kalas (UCB), Michael Fitzgerald (LLNL/UCB), Franck Marchis (SETI …


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  1. Bilgepipe

    Obviously... was Beagle 2.

  2. Sergie Kaponitovicz

    That's big

    Using Photoshop, and layering a cut & paste of the brightest part of the impact area over the scaled image of earth, it covers more than half of the continental USA.

    It's a very crude way of getting a feel for the explosion, but there is no escaping the fact it really was a serious knock.

  3. Colin 4

    Planetary Defense

    That bright spot looks pretty bloody big compared to little 'ol Earth ....

    A timely reminder that we need to address the issue of planetary defense from space impacts. Sooner or later, we are gonna get hit. It's the one natural disaster we can prevent, and its the most deadly one there is too.

    We need to get our arses into gear and find all the objects we can. The earlier we spot 'em, the easier they are to deflect.

  4. Winkypop Silver badge


    ..perhaps a great lump of rock that should have turned left at Albuquerque.

  5. Oliver Mayes

    Come on people

    It's obviously just a monolith going about it's everyday business.

  6. Jason Hall


    "A timely reminder that we need to address the issue of planetary defense from space impacts. Sooner or later, we are gonna get hit. It's the one natural disaster we can prevent, and its the most deadly one there is too."

    What he said... although not all of them are going to be easy/possible at all to deflect.

    We need to get our assess off this dustball and spread our (world's) dna onto other worlds.

    It's the only way to be remotely certain we have any legacy at all.

  7. dunncha

    @Planetary Defense

    Don't say that or teh Government will spend another couple of Billion on a databae which everyone has to register to incase they need to find out who knows about these things.

    icon: Don't Panic! the db is on its way

  8. Rob


    They broke down on their way to mars and have probably called the AA (Astronomical Assistance).

    Mine's the one with TomTom and the milkyway maps loaded on it.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Forget the thing hitting Jupiter...

    ...and focus on the bigger issue here - should we really be flying the Earth that close to Jupiter?

    Won't someone think of the children?

  10. Secretgeek


    It was obviously just a warning shot across our interplanetary bows.

    Run for the hills under which there is a reinforced concrete bunker with a years worth of food!

    Hmm do I go for Aliens icon or just get my coat?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A good thing we've got ...

    A good thing we've got these huge gas giants that hoover up and gravitationally deflect these objects. Otherwise we would have been blown away before we ever got started/

  12. Colin Morris

    @Colin 4

    <quote>A timely reminder that we need to address the issue of planetary defense from space impacts. </quote>

    As far as the authorities are concerned we do have a 'planetary defence system'. It's called Jupiter!

    Jupiter is probably the only reason why allegedly intelligent life evolved on the earth in the first place. History, of course reveals that even Jupiter couldn't save animals such as the dinosaurs. Only a matter of time, then.......

  13. Jet Set Willy

    @Planetry defence types

    I'm pretty sure that Jupiter's gravity may have something to do with why it gets hit by stuff fairly often. I think I read something like "The solar system can be considered to contain the Sun, Jupiter and miscellaneous space debris" somewhere.

    Having said that I'm also pretty sure I read that we are due a big strike any day now (in geologic terms) and there's pretty much nothing we could do abount it but kiss our backsides goodbye.

  14. Yorkshirepudding

    your all wrong

    its obviously a white star opening a jump gate in jupiters atmosphere

  15. David Viner Silver badge

    It was probably...

    ...just Mr Ballmer throwing chairs around yet again - one of them obviously reached escape velocity...

  16. TeeCee Gold badge


    My bad!

  17. Mark Eaton-Park

    It's not that big

    You would need a very big mirror indeed to see the spot on Uranus

    Sorry it had to be done

  18. Luther Blissett

    Alices in Blunderland

    Confucius says when bull in china shop, there is Great Need for commodes. I think the Alien Grays are taking out Jupiter first before having Earth for dessert. They may have made a fatal mistake.

  19. Richard 102

    @Tony Chandler

    "Won't someone think of the children?"

    Mm, delicious.

    Mine's the one with the bottle of KC Masterpiece

  20. Stef 4

    15 years ago?

    Shoemaker-Levy was 15 years ago? My God I'm getting old.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Title goes here

    Somewhere out there are a couple of kids, one holding a cricket bat, looking rather guilty.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    @Mark Eaton-Park

    Heck, I would have to be double-jointed, too.

    I, for one, welcome our planet crashing behemoths.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    This reminds me of a book...

    Iain M. Banks I think. One where the worms holes are all hidden at the centre of gassy planets.

  24. Nic Brough 1
    Thumb Up


    My understanding is that Jupiter is responsible for hoovering up loads of objects that would pose a serious threat to whatever ecospheres the other planets in our system have.

    Because of Jupiter, it's quite likely that we will last long enough to wipe ourselves out by destroying the Earth's biosphere instead of being twonked by a rock.

    Remind me, where did I leave that copy of Fallout? ;-)

  25. Anonymous Coward

    It came from Outer Space!

    So an object large enough to destroy earth hit Jupiter and we were unable to track it?

    Time to order 300 cubic tons of cement, 3 years of food and an air and water purification system!

  26. scrubber

    "As to what exactly might have crashed into Jupiter"

    how do you know it was a what, it might have been a who...

  27. raving angry loony


    Invasion fleet ship made a navigation error probably. Happens all the time.

  28. CurtisB

    Planetary defence....

    So when are we going to build a great big space station with railguns, just like Starship Troopers. We've gotta stop those bug asteroids from hitting Rio...... Oops missed.

  29. Anonymous Coward

    Learn probability theory please

    To all the "we're due a hit soon" brigade, please learn probability. That's like saying "ooh, I've not won the lottery in a while, I must be due a win". Or throwing 10 tails in a row - the next throw is not more or less likely to be a tail or a head.

  30. Anonymous Coward

    Space Defense

    Yes, I definitely agree that if that hit the Earth we'd be history.. and sure, it would be awesome to step up the effort to protect ourselves from Armageddon. Just one little problem. No one noticed until after it hit the planet, so if it was a rogue comet or whatever, it would have been en route for years and it's path was close enough to ourselves to be scary for most of them.

    No.. one.. noticed.. Not exactly comforting given the amount of scare mongering the people that claim to be watching the skies have whipped up in the media. Sounds like someone was playing World of Warcraft on the computer they were supposed to be using to look out for big, fucking asteroids heading our way. However I think I prefer that over crossing their fingers for a very long time because they knew there was absolutely fuck all we'd be able to do about something that big if it was heading to us instead of Jupiter.

  31. Alan Parsons

    Solar forming

    It's the american gvt trying to solar form Jupiter with a very big nuke payload. Like cassini and Saturn

  32. YARR

    Thinking very laterally...

    ... it may be a cloud pattern resulting from a violent volcanic eruption from the solid core thousands of miles below.

  33. Pete 8


    God made the universe etc, he had some crap left over after cleaning the benches down, so he just lobbed the extra handful at ol' Jupe.

    It is all a question of Faith.

    However, DARPA should still mass-produce some Bruce Willis clones for interceptor missions.

    I vote we use stealth-technology coatings on one side of the earth, so that the asteroid/heammaroid/comet cant see us, and try to crash elsewhere.

    Mines the one with no traces of rock from Uranus in the pocket.

  34. Michael Smith

    @Jet Set Willy

    I think that quote was from Isaac Asimov.

  35. weirdcult

    @By Will 22

    they not worms foolish

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Didn't anyone else see it on tuesday morning?

    In the early hours of Tuesday morning around 1-4am I was watching jupiter thinking it was a UFO, the thing was insanely bright to the point where me and my mate who were watching it conclude, that if there had been something that bright in the sky, we'd probably have noticed it at some point in the last twenty odd years...

    Eventually we fired up stellarium and figured out it was jupiter, at that time the top theories we had were the ISS or aliens... We hoped it was aliens, we hoped so very very much!

    I imagine this could have been the impact itself if the earliest photo's come the following day, it wouldn't surprise me.

  37. lorenzo
    Paris Hilton

    Message from Mongo

    Ming the Merciless has despatched war rocket Ajax to bring back the most famous Earhling

    Unfortunately due to difficulties with the conversion of metric and imperial measurements, Ajax has made an unscheduled stop on Jupiter

    Can you kindly strap Miss Hilton to a saturn 5 rocket and send her heavenwards

    Paris -Cos she knows a thing or two about cosmic experiences

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I have been reliably informed by high level contacts in the Mozilla Foundation that unlike Jupiter, we earthlings are safely cocooned in the embrace of the Firefox defence system which when used with the Noscript sub-system renders us invulnerable to attacks and collisions with unidentified flying objects.

    My mum says this is just marketing hype and it's time that I grew up.

    A_man_from_earth, aged 35.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Where's Jeff Wayne when you need him...

    "No one would have believed in the early years of the 21st century that our world was being watched by intelligences greater than our own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns, *they* observed and studied, the way a man with a microscope might scrutinize the creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. With infinite complacency, men went to and fro about the globe, confident of our empire over this world. Yet across the gulf of space, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic regarded our planet with envious eyes and slowly, and surely, drew their plans against us".

  40. Anonymous Coward

    It was amanfromMars

    The culprIT was obviously amanfromMars, displaying his suzerainty over the solar Systems Design by penetration testing of the Jovian Cloud Object. With the motherboard of all waterboard attacks stirring not shaking the Giant Screwdriver, he has planted an illogic bomb on the father of Ares. His conspiracy seeks to lure Ares away from the Roman Ares, a Denial of Service to protect his base station. He hopes that we shall follow the Column of Smoke to a Firewall and a false destination.

    Damn, this is harder than it looks....

  41. Dustin 2


    isn't Dr. Manhattan out there somewhere?

  42. Blade404

    Planetary defences...

    What we need here is some big-honking-space guns.. :-D

  43. Seán


    Space Nazis hate Jupiter

  44. Loki 1


    "As to what exactly might have crashed into Jupiter, Orton admitted to New Scientist he didn't have a clue"

    Vogon battlecruiser coming to make the interstellar bypass. Unfortunately the helmsman was subjected to some Vogon poetry on the way in system and threw himself out of the airlock near jupiter.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A title is required

    Fortunatly for us hollywood scientists (holds for laughter) have shown again and again that only the US of A will ever be hit by anything off worldish. So we here in the real world (Europe) should be relative safe as far as surviving as a race.

  46. Doug Glass

    @Anonymous Coward

    "The War of the Worlds (1898) is an early science fiction novel by H. G. Wells, describing an invasion of late Victorian England by Martians using tripod fighting machines, equipped with advanced weaponry. It is a seminal depiction of an alien invasion of Earth."

  47. Fozzy 1

    Nothing to fear

    It was just one of our IT projects that had veered off course again.

    Your lucky, the disturbance in Jupiter’s atmosphere is nothing compared to the shit storm it created here in the office Should clear up in a couple of days though

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