Last updated on April 19, 2014 at 12:41 EDT

Latest Anthony Wesley Stories

2011-01-26 14:10:07

A hurtling asteroid about the size of the Titanic caused the scar that appeared in Jupiter's atmosphere on July 19, 2009, according to two papers published recently in the journal Icarus. Data from three infrared telescopes enabled scientists to observe the warm atmospheric temperatures and unique chemical conditions associated with the impact debris. By piecing together signatures of the gases and dark debris produced by the impact shockwaves, an international team of scientists was able to...

2010-09-09 14:40:00

Amateur astronomers working with professional astronomers have spotted two fireballs lighting up Jupiter's atmosphere this summer, marking the first time Earth-based telescopes have captured relatively small objects burning up in the atmosphere of the giant planet. The two fireballs "“ which produced bright freckles on Jupiter that were visible through backyard telescopes "“ occurred on June 3, 2010, and August 20, 2010, respectively. A new paper that includes both pros and...

2010-06-12 06:30:00

On June 3rd, 2010, something hit Jupiter. A comet or asteroid descended from the black of space, struck the planet's cloudtops, and disintegrated, producing a flash of light so bright it was visible in backyard telescopes on Earth. Soon, observers around the world were training their optics on the impact site, waiting to monitor the cindery cloud of debris which always seems to accompany a strike of this kind. They're still waiting. "It's as if Jupiter just swallowed the thing whole," says...

2010-06-04 12:00:00

An amateur astronomer in Australia reported witnessing a bright flash from an object hitting Jupiter and apparently burning up in the atmosphere. "When I saw the flash, I couldn't believe it," said amateur astronomer Anthony Wesley. "The fireball lasted about 2 seconds and was very bright." Wesley, a computer programmer with a good reputation among professional astronomers, recently made professional and amateur sky-gazers aware of the cosmic collision.  Another amateur astronomer in...

2010-05-20 13:15:33

Lost: A giant belt of brown clouds big enough to swallow Earth twenty times over. If found, please return to Jupiter. In a development that has transformed the appearance of the solar system's largest planet, one of Jupiter's two main cloud belts has completely disappeared. "This is a big event," says planetary scientist Glenn Orton of NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab. "We're monitoring the situation closely and do not yet fully understand what's going on." Known as the South Equatorial Belt (SEB),...

2010-04-29 11:20:00

With the help of amateur astronomers, the composite infrared spectrometer instrument aboard NASA's Cassini spacecraft has taken its first look at a massive blizzard in Saturn's atmosphere. The instrument collected the most detailed data to date of temperatures and gas distribution in that planet's storms. The data showed a large, turbulent storm, dredging up loads of material from the deep atmosphere and covering an area at least five times larger than the biggest blizzard in this year's...

2009-08-03 06:40:00

It began with a furrowed brow, a moment of puzzlement, quickly dismissed. The date was July 19, 2009. Amateur astronomer Anthony Wesley was photographing Jupiter from his backyard observatory in Murrumbateman, Australia, when something odd caught his eye. "My attention was fixed on the Great Red Spot, which was setting beautifully over Jupiter's horizon," recalls Wesley. "I almost didn't notice the dark blemish near Jupiter's south pole, and when I did, I put it out of my mind." It's just...