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New Mexico Astronomers Tracking Jupiter Impact

Magdalena Ridge ObservatoryALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Astronomers at New Mexico Tech’s Magdalena Ridge Observatory will be looking at Jupiter tonight (Fri. 6/4) for signs of the effect of what appears to have been an asteroid or comet strike yesterday.



The impact was seen by amateur astronomers (Ars Technica has the video), and planetary scientists around the world are racing to get telescope time to follow up. Prelininary observations show little evidence of after effects, but scientists hope to do more detailed observations to try to tease out details of what hit the giant planet, or what else might have caused the flash caught on video by amateur astronomers.


MRO tried to observe last night, according to Eileen Ryan, the observatory’s director, but could not operate because of smoke from a controlled burn happening in the area.

(image of MRO courtesy New Mexico Tech)