Anthony Wesley

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Anthony Wesley (born 1965)[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 Glen Innes, Australia in 1965.[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. 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.