- An amateur astrophotographer accidentally took a video of a massive collision on the southern equatorial belt of Jupiter.
- Ethan Chapel said he was "lucky to be there at the time" when his monochrome camera caught a bright flash on the largest planet in our solar system, an event the chapel only discovered after watching the video.
- If the collision is confirmed, it would be the seventh between Jupiter and a celestial body visible from Earth since 1994.
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When Ethan Chapel recorded a video of the night sky on the night of August 7, he was unaware of what he was just capturing – an extraordinary moment happening over 40 light years away.
Just as the amateur space photographer brought Jupiter into focus, another celestial body collided with our solar system's largest planet, producing a bright flash that Chapel only noticed after dealing with the film.
"Recording videos is a normal part of my routine. I was lucky to be there at the right time. When I went back to the video and saw the flash, my instinct was to immediately place the footage," Chapel told Business Insider.
Read more: The worst storms on Earth are nothing compared to the weather on other planets
Chapel says the flash that occurred at the southern equatorial belt of Jupiter is similar to a bolide impact, an event not necessarily considered rare in space. Bolids, meteors that explode in the atmosphere are also often seen in the Earth's atmosphere. Chapel was unable to confirm how large the celestial body making the impact was.
He also told Business Insider he hopes the collision can be confirmed by further footage. Meanwhile, there was no visible sign of a stroke.
If astronomers can confirm the effect, this would be the seventh collision between Jupiter and a celestial body visible from Earth since 1994.
Read more: What would happen if people tried to land on Jupiter?
The best-known impact on Jupiter so far occurred in 1994, when fragments of the Shoemaker Level 9 comet hit the outside of the giant gas planet. The energy generated by this collision was approx. 6 trillion tonnes of TNT, the Associated Press reported at the time. This explosive force is comparable to about 50 million Hiroshima bombs. The collision was the first observed from Earth, and the dark spots in Jupiter's atmosphere left behind by the enormous impact were still visible months after the collision.
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