A Japanese amateur astronomer has captured footage of a fire ball ripping through Jupiter's atmosphere.
At 3:22 AM Saturday, Masayuki Tachikawa was observing the massive planet through his home telescope, when he witnessed a flash of light near the planet's equator. He recorded and reported the occurrence to the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, according to Kyodo News.
"I took it for noise signals at first but I was really surprised because the image of the light remained on the video," Tachikawa said.
"This kind of light is seldom filmed," Junichi Watanabe, a professor at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, told Kyodo News. Since the object left no visible trace on the planet's surface, the meteor may have been less than 1 km wide.
This recent "flash" is similar to a meteor strike that occurred on Jupiter on June 3, Watanabe notes in his blog. While neither strike appears to have impacted the surface of the planet, a massive object (possibly a comet) struck Jupiter in 2009 and left a visible scar.
In Tachikawa's video (below), the small white flash seen in the lower left region of Jupiter is the meteor strike.
WATCH: [via MSN Cosmic Log]
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