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NASA: Planet Jupiter was hit by a large object 

de A.N. transl/adapt. C.B.
Marţi, 21 iulie 2009, 11:38 English | Top News

Punctul stralucitor indica locul impactului
Foto: NASA/JPL/Infrared Telescope Facility
NASA announced on Monday that planet Jupiter had been hit by a large object, most probably a comet or asteroid. Images published by the American spatial agency show a "scar" in the atmosphere, next to the planet's South pole.

The images have been captured by Infrared Telescope Facility in Mauna Kea (Hawaii). The were taken the same day that saw 15 years since Jupiter had been hit by another comet. Jupiter was bombarded with fragments from the Shoemaker-Levy 9 comet in 1994.  
NASA said they took the images after being notified by an Australian amateur astronomer, Anthony Wesley. He made NASA aware of the fact that he had seen a dark "scar" in the atmosphere at the South pole of the planet.

Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena scientists, also working for NASA, used the telescope from Hawaii to photograph the 'impact site', surrounded by glittering particles.

"We were extremely lucky to be seeing Jupiter at exactly the right time, the right hour, the right side of Jupiter to witness the event. We couldn't have planned it better," said Glenn Orton, a scientist at JPL. "It could be the impact of a comet, but we don't know for sure yet," said Orton. "It's been a whirlwind of a day, and this on the anniversary of the Shoemaker-Levy 9 and Apollo anniversaries is amazing", concluded Orton. His team is currently analysing the data collected during the last hours.

According to Reuters, the object that hit Jupiter could have been a comet or a large asteroid. The impact site is the size of planet Earth.  

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