“…and there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring.” (Luke 21:25)
“…and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood.” (Revelations 6:12)
Tomorrow, July 22, 2009, there will be a total eclipse of the sun visible from a large portion of the earth. On July 19, 2009, Anthony Wesley, an amateur astronomer, detected a new impact on Jupiter.
Impact mark on Jupiter, 19th July 2009
“Image captured by Anthony Wesley on 19th July 2009 at 1554UTC from Murrumbateman AustraliaI’ve been slashdotted, and my web server crushed. Now moved this to jupiter.samba.org provided by Tridge – thanks mate, you saved my a$$, you’re a legend.
Preliminary image showing a black mark in Jupiters South Polar Region (SPR) which is almost certainly the result of a large impact – either an asteroid or comet – similar to the Shoemaker-Ley impacts in 1994.
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Date and Time of Report
Dark impact mark first noted at approximately 1330UTC on 19th July 2009 from my home observatory just outside Murrumbateman NSW Australia.
Inspection of earlier images shows the impact visible on the planets limb at 1411UTC.”
Update (20th July 1100UT) Glenn Orton from JPL has imaged this site using the NASA Infrared Telescope on Hawaii and confirms that it is an impact site and not a localised weather event.
I started this imaging session on Jupiter at approximately 11pm local time (1300UTC). The weather prediction was not promising, clear skies but a strong jetstream overhead according to the Bureau of Met. The temperature was also unusually high for this time of year (winter), also a bad sign.
The scope in use was my new 14.5″ newtonian, in use now for a few weeks and so far returning excellent images.
I was pleasantly surprised to find reasonable imaging conditions and so I decided to continue recording data until maybe 1am local time. By about midnight (12:10 am) the seeing had deteriorated and I was ready to quit. Indeed I had hovered the mouse over the exit button on my capture application (Coriander for Linux) and then changed my mind and decided instead to simply take a break for 30 minutes and then check back to see if the conditions had improved. It was a very near thing.
When I came back to the scope at about 12:40am I noticed a dark spot rotating into view in Jupiters south polar region started to get curious. When first seen close to the limb (and in poor conditions) it was only a vaguely dark spot, I thouht likely to be just a normal dark polar storm. However as it rotated further into view, and the conditions improved I suddenly realised that it wasn’t just dark, it was black in all channels, meaning it was truly a black spot.
My next thought was that it must be either a dark moon (like Callisto) or a moon shadow, but it was in the wrong place and the wrong size. Also I’d noticed it was moving too slow to be a moon or shadow. As far as I could see it was rotating in sync with a nearby white oval storm that I was very familiar with – this could only mean that the back feature was at the cloud level and not a projected shadow from a moon. I started to get excited.
It took another 15 minutes to really believe that I was seeing something new – I’d imaged that exact region only 2 days earlier and checking back to that image showed no sign of any anomalous black spot.
Now I was caught between a rock and a hard place – I wanted to keep imaging but also I was aware of the importance of alerting others to this possible new event. Could it actually be an impact mark on Jupiter? I had no real idea, and the odds on that happening were so small as to be laughable, but I was really struggling to see any other possibility given the location of the mark. If it really was an impact mark then I had to start telling people, and quickly. In the end I imaged for another 30 minutes only because the conditions were slowly improving and each capture was giving a slightly better image than the last.”