September 21, 2012

Jupiter’s Big Impact

I’ve been busy traveling – but some interesting things have been happening lately, and to find them you just have to do one thing: look up!

 

Jupiter Impact

Image credit: George Hall

 

An impact flare/explosion – likely caused by an asteroid colliding into Jupiter – was observed early on the morning of September 10th. It wasn’t nearly as devastating as the Shoemaker-Levy 9 collisions several years ago – it didn’t even leave an impact scar, much to the dismay of the watchful astronomers everywhere.

But what moved me wasn’t the collision, it wasn’t the astounding pictures or the flurry of discussion and organized response from the crowd, it was the fact that a single passionate astronomer lit the spark that lead to the story of Jupiter’s most recent impact.

Just a few pair of eyes and a few earthbound telescopes witnessed something amazing and wholly unique – with the help of a strong community, they captured an astounding piece of footage. My hat’s off to Dan Petersen and George Hall – your fascination, wonder, and studious observation of the cosmos has given the world something to marvel at.

Inspiring as it is, one thing keeps popping up in my mind as I read this story:

How interesting would the world be if we had more than a few pair of eyes, and an entire fleet of Arkyd’s in orbit shared and used by the kind of people who helped bring this discovery to light?

What sights would we see?

What would we learn?

What adventures would we embark on?

If YOU had the Arkyd and could point it anywhere into the deep ocean of the cosmos, where would you look? A beautiful nebula? A planet? A distant star?

What do YOU hope to find out there in space? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Peter