Jupiter got smashed by a speeding space rock
Jupiter just took one for the team. The gas giant appears to have experienced a pretty significant impact event and the flash of the extraterrestrial meteor was caught by amateur astronomers who just happened to be videoing Jupiter and its moons.
As the biggest and most massive planet in the solar system, the gas giant king isn’t unfamiliar with being hit by errant space rocks — Jupiter’s gravitational field is an interplanetary vacuum of sorts and is often viewed as the inner solar system’s protector. Any asteroid or comet that strays too close will be ripped to shreds and pulled into Jupiter’s unforgiving thick atmosphere at high speed.
According to Bad Astronomer Phil Plait, this latest Jupiter impact was reported by two amateur astronomers located in Austria and Ireland who saw the suspect flash on Jupiter’s limb at approximately the same time. It is unknown whether the flash was caused by an asteroid or a comet.
Scientists just found more evidence that Planet Nine exists in our Solar System
Back in January, the astronomer who led the charge to have Pluto demoted to dwarf planet status announced that he’d just found evidence that a huge, icy planet could be lurking on the edge of the Solar System, just past Neptune.
Mike Brown, a planetary astronomer at Caltech University, estimated that the hypothetical ‘Planet Nine’ appears to be circling the Sun on a super-elongated orbit that takes an incredible 10,000 to 20,000 years to complete. And now, thanks to a newly detected Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) that’s acting really strange, Brown says the case for Planet Nine just got a whole lot stronger.
Lockheed Martin begins probing Space Fence’s radar tech at new test facility
An overhaul of the system that tracks space junk orbiting the Earth has taken another stride forward, with Lockheed Martin opening a new test site for its Space Fence system. The New Jersey facility will be used as a testbed for the radar array’s new technologies, which are expected to boost our awareness of orbital debris by a factor of 10 once they enter operation.
The US Air Force’s Space Fence program has been a long time in the works, and will replace the now defunct Air Force Space Surveillance System (AFSSS). Construction of the new Space Fence is currently ongoing at the Kwajalein Atoll site, around 2,100 mi (3,380 km) southwest of Honolulu, Hawaii.
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