Recent video footage captured a small comet or asteroid colliding with Jupiter - and this isn't the first time errant space rocks have crashed into the gas giant.
This celestial event was witnessed by two amateur astronomers in different parts of the world on March 17. One Gerrit Kernbauer in Austria was filming Jupiter and its moons using his 20cm telescope when he caught what appears to be evidence of a collision between Jupiter and a small celestial object, likely a comet or asteroid.
Hesitant to post the video, Kernbauer didn't even bother to process the footage for several days because visibility "was not the best." But when he finally did, he noticed a strange light spot that appeared for less than one second on the edge of the planetary disc.
"My only explanation for this is an asteroid or comet that enters Jupiter's high atmosphere and burned up/explode [sic] very fast," Kernbauer said.
On that same night, miles away in Ireland, John McKeon was recording the transit of Jupiter's moons Io and Ganymede using his 11-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope and an ASI12mm camera when he witnessed the event.
"The original purpose of the imaging session was to get this time-lapse, with a happy coincidence of the impact in the second, last capture of the night," McKeon wrote.
As the largest planet in the solar system, Jupiter is used to getting whacked by space rocks, as its gravitational field is an interplanetary vacuum of sorts. This means any asteroid or comet that strays too close will be ripped to shreds and pulled into Jupiter's thick atmosphere.
In terms of the latest Jupiter impact, researchers are still working out all the details. However, the celestial object - most likely an asteroid - wasn't very large, probably measuring only a few hundred feet in diameter.
In 1994, Jupiter was hit by a series of rock fragments, when the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 broke apart. Since then, scientists have documented five other cosmic collisions on Jupiter. For example, the Hubble Space Telescope captured images of two bright-flash events in 2010 and another bright-flash event in 2012.