Jovian Impact A Lucky Strike For Science

A space rock smashed into Jupiter earlier this week, leaving a dark scar about the size of Earth. Australian backyard astronomer Anthony Wesley recounts his discovery of the impact, and planetary scientist Leigh Fletcher talks about what he hopes to learn by studying it.

Australian Spies Giant Hole On Jupiter's South Pole

An amateur astronomer in Australia saw something remarkable the other night: a hole the size of the Pacific Ocean near Jupiter's south pole.

Anthony Wesley wasn't expecting much as he was looking at Jupiter; the weather predictions weren't great for observation. He had just about decided to call it quits, when he decided to go just a little bit longer — and saw a big spot on the planet.

He first thought it was a shadow cast by one of Jupiter's moons. It turns out he was the first person to see what is likely a massive comet strike.

Linda Wertheimer talks with Wesley, of Murrumbateman in New South Wales, Australia.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.