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First Earth-based Detection of a Superbolide on Jupiter

Hueso, R. and Wesley, A. and Go, C. and Pérez-Hoyos, S. and Wong, M. H. and Fletcher, L. N. and Sánchez-Lavega, A. and Boslough, M. B. E. and de Pater, I. and Orton, G. S. and Simon-Miller, A. A. and Djorgovski, S. G. and Edwards, M. L. and Hammel, H. B. and Clarke, J. T. and Noll, K. S. and Yanamandra-Fisher, P. A. (2010) First Earth-based Detection of a Superbolide on Jupiter. Astrophysical Journal Letters, 721 (2). L129-L133. ISSN 2041-8205.

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Cosmic collisions on planets cause detectable optical flashes that range from terrestrial shooting stars to bright fireballs. On 2010 June 3 a bolide in Jupiter's atmosphere was simultaneously observed from the Earth by two amateur astronomers observing Jupiter in red and blue wavelengths. The bolide appeared as a flash of 2 s duration in video recording data of the planet. The analysis of the light curve of the observations results in an estimated energy of the impact of (0.9-4.0) × 10^(15) J which corresponds to a colliding body of 8-13 m diameter assuming a mean density of 2 g cm^(–3). Images acquired a few days later by the Hubble Space Telescope and other large ground-based facilities did not show any signature of aerosol debris, temperature, or chemical composition anomaly, confirming that the body was small and destroyed in Jupiter's upper atmosphere. Several collisions of this size may happen on Jupiter on a yearly basis. A systematic study of the impact rate and size of these bolides can enable an empirical determination of the flux of meteoroids in Jupiter with implications for the populations of small bodies in the outer solar system and may allow a better quantification of the threat of impacting bodies to Earth. The serendipitous recording of this optical flash opens a new window in the observation of Jupiter with small telescopes.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Hueso, R.0000-0003-0169-123X
Pérez-Hoyos, S.0000-0002-2587-4682
Fletcher, L. N.0000-0001-5834-9588
Sánchez-Lavega, A.0000-0001-7355-1522
de Pater, I.0000-0002-4278-3168
Orton, G. S.0000-0001-7871-2823
Djorgovski, S. G.0000-0002-0603-3087
Hammel, H. B.0000-0001-8751-3463
Additional Information:© 2010 American Astronomical Society. Received 2010 July 26; accepted 2010 August 25; published 2010 September 9. This work was supported by the Spanish MICIIN project AYA2009-10701 with FEDER and Grupos Gobierno Vasco IT-464-07. L.N.F. was supported by a Glasstone Science Fellowship at the University of Oxford. G.S.O. and P.A.Y.-F. acknowledge support from NASA grants to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology. S.G.D. acknowledges a partial support from the NSF grant AST-0909182 and from the Ajax Foundation. We thank J. Harrington for discussions and A. Stephens, C. Trujillo, J. Radomski, T. Greathouse, M. Richter, and C. Tsang for obtaining part of the groundbased observations. This work was partially based on observations from the following telescopes. (1) HST (program GO/DD-12119), with support provided by NASA through a grant from the Space Telescope Science Institute,which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under NASA contract NAS 5-26555. (2) TRECS and NIRI at the Gemini Observatory, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under agreement with the NSF on behalf of the Gemini partnership: the National Science Foundation (United States), the Science and Technology Facilities Council (United Kingdom), the National Research Council (Canada), CONICYT (Chile), the Australian Research Council (Australia), Ministério da Ciéncia e Tecnologia (Brazil) and Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovaci´on Productiva (Argentina). (3) VLT/VISIR at the European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere, Chile. (4) NIRC2 at the W. M. Keck Observatory, which is operated as a scientific partnership among the California Institute of Technology, the University of California and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The Observatory was made possible by the generous financial support of the W. M. Keck Foundation. (5) TEXES at the Infrared Telescope Facility, which is operated by the University of Hawaii under Cooperative Agreement n∞ NNX-08AE38A with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Science Mission Directorate, Planetary Astronomy Program.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación (MICIIN)AYA2009-10701
University of Oxford Glasstone Science FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
Ajax FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:planets and satellites: atmospheres; planets and satellites: general; planets and satellites: individual (Jupiter)
Issue or Number:2
Classification Code:PACS: 96.30.Kf; 95.85.Mt; 95.85.Jq; 96.30.Ys; 96.15.Hy;
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20101029-100056391
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:R. Hueso et al 2010 ApJ 721 L129 doi: 10.1088/2041-8205/721/2/L129
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:20599
Deposited By: Jason Perez
Deposited On:29 Oct 2010 21:51
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:19

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