After astronomers tracked a mysterious object hitting the surface of Jupiter, many suggested the incident was a natural asteroid or some other fragment from a natural source. The strange aspect to the story comes, however, when the object after entering Jupiter’s atmosphere did not impact with the ground afterward. The mysterious object seemingly simply vanished in the gas giant as though it were disintigrated shortly after entering the atmosphere.
The object has not displayed anything that gives any more clues as to what it could have been aside from a brilliant flash as it entered Jupiter’s atmosphere. On the third of June telescopes picked up the object and quickly speculation spread as to what it could be. As observers continue to gather material on the object, it is apparent that the object, whatever it was, is not leaving the typical markings of an object caught in Jupiter’s orbit being sucked in by the planet’s massive gravitational pull and subsequently smashing into its gaseous surface. With no plume there is no way of truly telling the impact, if any, the object is having on the surface of the planet. In July of 2009 a similar object hit Jupiter causing a massive disruption on its surface and making it clear that the impact was of a traditional nature and solid. Furthermore, in 1994 the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 impacted the surface along with 21 miniature fragments. Each left a considerable impact scar on the surface as has been consistent with all other impacts. The mystery only deepens as scientists continue to wait and discover no reason for the lack of a plume.
Jupiter is often referred to as the Solar System’s vacuum cleaner as its immense size and gravity serve to suck in a number of asteroids and comets which end up on its surface and subsequently the inner planets are more protected. The planet itself has a ring of asteroids that orbit the gas giant and eventually are either flung out into space or are sucked in by the immense pull inward. As scientists study Jupiter’s immense gravity they occasionally gain insights into its behaviors and therefore learn more about the mysterious force of gravity itself.
Several forum threads are fielding ideas and explanations about the object, even taking suggestions on the reason for no impact. Suggestions have ranged everywhere around the Internet from the object somehow being intangible enough to create a massive explosion on the surface but being completely consumed by the atmospheric interaction to alien intervention. One group even suggested that a ship that was mostly hollow, if it was destroyed by the entry into Jupiter’s atmosphere would be hollow and therefore could have been destroyed and blown to smaller pieces which would have not left the same impact as a solid rock hitting the surface. Others suggest everyone still doesn’t know enough about the impact of objects on Jupiter’s surface to conclusively determine what the effects of an impact would be in every possible scenario. As time rolls on answers are increasingly scarce.