Not just one but two veteran planetary imagers caught the shots of a lifetime on June 3rd, when they both videorecorded a tiny, brilliant flare on Jupiter swelling and fading around 20:31 Universal Time. The flare brightened and faded in less than two seconds. Its progress is recorded on many frames of each video.
The flare may have looked small from Earth, but it must have been titanic to be seen at all from Jupiter's distance — and on Jupiter's daylit side. It was presumably the impact of an asteroid or comet nucleus.
So amateur astronomers have observed another impact of something entering Jupiter’s atmosphere.
It is always dangerous to place emphasis on numbers when the numbers are few and far between, but these numbers are interesting.
The number of observable impacts on Jupiter has changed from none, to once in a lifetime, and then to once every ten years, and now to once every year.
This certainly may be random numbers at work. Or random numbers coupled with more and more amateur astronomers getting good equipment capable of seeing and photographing these impacts.
Or something may have perturbed the asteroid belt or the Kuiper belt and we might be observing a scattering of small objects with Jupiter—as the largest planet in the system—showing the most visible effects of the scattering.
But if something has been perturbed that increases the chances of impacts throughout the solar system.
That would mean the Earth might be more at hazard than expected.
Time and observations and calculations will tell.
If you want to search
for Atlantis, search before
pushes us farther
away from where it is at.
If you want to sing
a song that was lost,
sing it before an impact
composes a track
of pure percussion
that will be pure crescendo.
It is possible
the cosmic iPod
is an iPod shuffle with
a new song coming.