Skip to main content

Search Is on Jupiter Impact Scar: How to Watch Live Online Tonight

Photo of impact on Jupiter on Sept. 10, 2012, by amateur astronomer George Hall of Dallas, Texas.
Amateur astronomer George Hall captured this image of an apparent impact on Jupiter while recording video telescope observations of the planet on Sept. 10, 2012, from Dallas Texas. (Image credit: George Hall/<a href="http://georgeastro.weebly.com/jupiter.html">George's Astrophotography</a>)

Astronomers and amateur observers are keeping a close eye on Jupiter to see if a surprising impact on the planet Monday (Sept. 10) has left a visible scar, and you can join the search online.

Tonight, the online night sky observing website Slooh Space Camera will stream a live telescope view of Jupiter from its Canary Islands Observatory off the west coast of Africa in hopes of spotting any evidence from Monday's space rock impact.

On Monday, amateur astronomer Dan Peterson of Racine, Wisc., reported seeing an impact on Jupiter in the form of a bright flash while observing the gas giant planet through a telescope. His sighting was confirmed by another amateur astronomer, George Hall of Dallas, Texas, who recorded a video of the Jupiter impact as it happened.

The Slooh Space Camera's live Jupiter viewing session tonight will begin at 10 p.m. EDT (7 p.m. PDT, 0200 Sept. 12 GMT) and last about 30 minutes. You can watch the Jupiter webcast live here: http://www.slooh.com

It is unclear if Monday's impact was caused by a wayward asteroid or comet, but follow-up observations may reveal if the Jupiter strike was large enough to leave a visible scar in the planet's upper atmosphere similar to ones seen after impacts in 2009 and 2010.

The Slooh Space Camera provides live views of the night sky from telescopes at different sites around the world, allowing members to observe the cosmos remotely. The website's members are eagerly reserving time on Slooh telescopes to take fresh looks at Jupiter after its latest impact, company officials said.

"Slooh members have already scheduled the Slooh telescopes to image Jupiter for the remainder of the week in search of any impact scars left in Jupiter’s atmosphere," Slooh engineer Paul Cox said.

Editor's note: If you have a photo of Monday's impact on Jupiter, or any other amazing night sky photo that you'd like to share for a possible story or image gallery, please contact managing editor Tariq Malik at tmalik@space.com.

You can follow SPACE.com Managing Editor Tariq Malik on Twitter @tariqjmalik and SPACE.com on Twitter @Spacedotcom. We're also on Facebook & Google+.

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at: community@space.com.

Tariq Malik

SPACE.COM EDITOR IN CHIEF — Tariq joined the Space.com team in 2001 as a staff writer, and later editor, covering human spaceflight, exploration and space science. He became Space.com's Managing Editor in 2009. Before joining Space.com, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Google+, Twitter and on Facebook.