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Jovian impacts detection software

Overview of the Jupiter bolides detection project

Background: The Giant planet Jupiter has been hitted by small objects (5-20 m in size) several times in the last decades. Objects of this size are too small to leave any observable feature in the atmosphere but when they collide with the planet they produce short flashes of light of 1-2 seconds that can be seen using small telescopes and recorded in video observations of the planet. Studying these object we hope to learn about the potential of Jupiter in protecting the Earth from impacts with small asteroids and comets and also about the population of small objects in the outer solar system. You can learn about this impacts by reading one of the many articles freely available in the internet. Here are a few links.

  • Sky and Telescope (June 2010): June 2010 impact in Jupiter
  • Sky and Telescope (August 2010): August 2010 impact in Jupiter
  • Space.com (September 2012): The September 2012 impact in Jupiter
  • Asteroid Day Blog (March 2016): New impact on Jupiter
  • Sky and Telescope (May 2017): Yet another impact on Jupiter

  • These impacts have also been covered in the scientific literature in two scientific analysis detailing their characteristics.

  • Hueso et al., First Earth-based detection of a Superbolide on Jupiter, The Astrophysical Journal, 721, 2, L129 (2010).
  • Hueso et al., Impact flux on Jupiter: From superbolides to large-scale collisions, Astronomy and Astropysics, 560, A55 (2013).
  • Aim of this page: Our goal is to increase the effectivity whith which impacts are found in Jupiter. Impact flashes are so short than in many cases they can be skipped by image processing software or a casual visualization of a long video observation. In order to maximize the capacity to find impacts a software tool able to detect faint impacts may improve the detectability of these events. This page features software tools (JID and DeTeCt2.0 and DeTeCt3.0) for inspection of video observations of Jupiter with the aim of recovering impacts of small objects producing bright and short fireballs in the atmosphere of Jupiter. In particular DeTeCt3.0 has been built as part of the Detection activities of the Planetary and Space Weather Services of the Europlanet-2020 research infrastructure with funds from the European Comission.

    We recommend continuing using DeTeCt2.0. DeTeCt3.0 is an experimental version of a better software that will be relased as DeTeCt3.1 in January-February 2018.

    Status of impacts in Jupiter: Five bolides have been identified on video observations of Jupiter obtained by amateur astronomers in June and August 2010, in September 2012, in March 2016 and in May 2017. Here you can find open source software programs released to the large community of amateur astronomers who obtain video observations of Jupiter. You will also find information about the impacts observed, the original observations of these impacts and statistics of the search of impacts from analysis of several thousands of video files (statistical analysis courtesy of Marc Delcroix).

    Acknowledgement: This project is part of VESPA (Virtual European Solar and Planetary Access), which is part of Europlanet 2020 RI. Europlanet 2020 RI has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 654208. We sincerely acknowledge help from Marc Delcroix and many other relevant members of the community of amateur astronomers.

    Site Links:


    Software Developers: Luis Calderon and Ricardo Hueso (first basic algorithms), Juan Carlos Moreno (JID), Marc Delcroix (DeTeCt, all versions) and Jon Juaristi (DeTeCt3.0).

    Scientific Coordination: Ricardo Hueso, Agustin Sanchez-Lavega and Josep Maria-Gomez (Grupo de Ciencias Planetarias, UPV-EHU, Spain)

    Acknowledgements: Emil Kraaikamp, John H. Rogers. We are also very gratefull to all the observers who identified and shared their observations of impacts in Jupiter. The following is a list of all observers with a successfull detection:

  • June 3, 2010 | Anthony Wesley (Australia) and Christopher Go (Phillipines).
  • August 22, 2010 | Masayuki Tachikawa, Kazuo Aoki, Masayuki Ishimaru (Japan).
  • September 10, 2012 | Dan Petersen (USA) and George Hall (USA).
  • March 17, 2016 | Gerrit Kernbauer (Austria) and John McKeon (Ireland).
  • May 26, 2016 | Sauveur Pedranghelu (France), Thomas Riessler (Germany), Andre Fleckstein (Germany).

    Write your comments / suggestion to: Ricardo Hueso .

    Last updated: 02 August 2017