Suspected Asteroid Smashes into Jupiter

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Amateur astronomer George Hall sure was looking at the right place at the right time on Monday.

The Dallas skywatcher caught a fireball in Jupiter’s atmosphere, most likely a small asteroid or comet snared by the giant planet’s gravity. Similar impacts were observed in June and August 2010.

BIG PIC: Hubble: June 2010 Jupiter ‘Flash’ Caused by Meteor, Not Fireball

“An analysis of those earlier events suggests that Jupiter is frequently struck by 10 meter-class asteroids — one of the hazards of orbiting near the asteroid belt and having such a strong gravitational pull,” Spaceweather.com writes.

Hall has posted a 4-second video of the explosion on Flickr.

Image: Incoming! Credit: George Hall/Spaceweather.com