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An earth-sized hole in Jupiter discovered by an amateur

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The large impact on Jupiter's south polar region as captured by Nasa's infrared telescope facility in Mauna Kea, Hawaii. Image Credit: Nasa

LONDON (BNS): An amateur Australian astronomer has spotted a giant hole, the size of the Earth, on planet Jupiter a finding corroborated by US space agency Nasa.

Anthony Wesley, 44, a computer programmer who lives in a small town outside the capital, Canberra, discovered a large scar on Jupiter when he was photographing the giant gaseous planet.

He informed Nasa about his discovery, and images taken by the US space agency's infra-red telescope in Hawaii show a scar in the atmosphere near the south pole of the planet.

Wesley emailed scientists at Nasa's jet propulsion laboratory in Pasadena, California. Using Nasa's infrared telescope facility at the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii, they gathered evidence indicating an impact.

"We were extremely lucky to be seeing Jupiter at exactly the right time, the right hour, the right side of Jupiter to witness the event. We couldn't have planned it better," said Glenn Orton, a scientist at the Pasadena lab.

Bright upwelling particles in the upper atmosphere were detected in near-infrared wavelengths, while a warming of the upper troposphere with possible extra emission from ammonia gas was detected at mid-infrared wavelengths.

"It could be the impact of a comet, but we don't know for sure yet," Glenn Orton said.

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