Amateur Astronomers Capture Flash From New Impact on Jupiter

A bright spot on May 26, 2017, was first reported by amateur astronomer Sauveur Pedranghelu, who lives in Corsica, France. He was taking a CCD “movie” of Jupiter through his 203mm (8-in) Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope, using a ZWO ASI224MC camera.

The sudden white flash, at 19.24 UT, was captured on 43 frames in the “movie”. It appeared at a latitude of around 51° in Jupiter’s bands and belts. News of the event quickly spread around the internet thanks to another noted observer Damian Peach, fellow enthusiasts Marc Delcroix and Ricardo Hueso Alonso, and astronomy commentator Daniel Fischer in Germany.

Within hours, the possibility that the flare might have been caused by an artefact or flashing satellite was ruled out when two other amateur astronomers found that they had also caught the event in their own images of Jupiter taken at the same time.

German amateurs Andre Fleckstein and Thomas Riessler both recorded a brief flash at the right moment in their own CCD movies of Jupiter. Reports of their observations, together with enhancements by Marc Delcroix to show the flash more clearly, can be found on the Astrosurf and Astrotreff forums.

The May 26, 2017, impact flash recorded by Thomas Riessler, from Germany, 
and processed by Marc Delcroix. Click for full image details. 
Image credit: Thomas Riessler/Marc Delcroix

Four previous flares on Jupiter have been caught by amateur astronomers since 2010, as well as a dark “bruise” in Jupiter’s clouds in 2009 that appeared to be the scar left by an unseen impact.

The impact flash recorded by Anthony Wesley in June 2010