Anthony Wesley

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Anthony Wesley (born 1966)[1] is an Australian computer programmer and amateur astronomer, known for his discoveries of the 2009 and 2010 Jupiter impact events.

Background[edit]

Wesley was born in Murrumbateman, Australia in 1966.[2] At as early as ten years old, he was given a small telescope, which sparked his interest in stargazing.[3] By 2003 Wesley had become involved in planetary photography, following the Mars approach hoax. Over time his work became more focused on Jupiter, leading to his discoveries of the 2009 and 2010 impact events.[1] Prior to these discoveries, scientists did not believe impacts of this relatively small size could be observed from Earth.[2] Wesleys' work also brought to light the vital role amateur astronomers play in space discovery.[1][4]

Impact discoveries[edit]

2009[edit]

On 19 July 2009 at approximately 13:30, Wesley found fame after discovering a scar near Jupiter's south pole the size of the Pacific Ocean.[1] Wesley discovered the impact at approximately 13:30 UTC on On 19 July 2009 (almost exactly 15 years after the Jupiter impact of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9, or SL9), Wesley discovered an impact on Jupiter that caused a black spot in the planet's atmosphere. He was at his home observatory just outside Murrumbateman, New South Wales, Australia, using stacked images on a 36.8-centimetre (14.5 in) diameter reflecting telescope equipped with a low light machine vision video camera attached to the telescope.[5]

2010[edit]

On 3 June 2010, Wesley was away from his home visiting a friend, when with a 37-centimetre (15 in) telescope he took an image of a small celestial object burning up in the Jupiter atmosphere.[2] The observed flash lasted about two seconds.[1] The object was believed to be an asteroid, making it the first image of a meteorite hitting a planet.[4]

The find was praised by NASA and fellow astronomers, who were under the impression that after the 1994 collision another would not be expected for several hundred years.[1][4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f "Australian amateur astronomer Anthony Wesley films Jupiter impact". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 21 September 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c Cook, Jia-Rui C. "Caught in the Act - Fireballs Light up Jupiter". NASA. Retrieved 21 September 2013. 
  3. ^ O'Loughlin, Toni (21 July 2009). "Amateur astronomer spots Earth-size scar on Jupiter". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 February 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c Moskvitch, Katia. "Jupiter collision 'was asteroid'". BBC. Retrieved 22 February 2015. 
  5. ^ Mackey, Robert (21 July 2009). "Amateur Finds New Earth-Sized Blot on Jupiter". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 July 2009.