Amateur! Yo, I’m talking to you.
Aren’t we all amateurs at one thing or another at any given point in time? Being an amateur can be a very good thing. What I like about using the word amateur is that right from the door, you admit that you don’t know everything. For some of us, making the admission alone is hard to do. We use the term “rocket scientist” to describe someone we consider to be really smart, a master at whatever it is they do. Yet it’s a beautiful thing when the student can show the master a trick or two. Like in the case of amateur astronomer Anthony Wesley who on July 19, 2009 saw something that none of the experts at NASA or ESA (European Space Agency) were paying attention to, simply because they weren’t looking. Anthony made a major discovery because he realized that a new dark “scar” that appeared on the surface of Jupiter meant that something had hit the gas giant.
Since no one else was watching, we still don’t know if it was a comet or an asteroid or something else entirely. We may never know. They speculate that if an object of similar size smashed into the Earth “there would be serious regional devastation or a tsunami if it hit the ocean”.
I don’t know Anthony, yet I am so very proud of him. Lil’ ol’ Anthony sitting in his backyard in Australia with his 14.5 inch telescope, watching Jupiter, only the biggest planet in our solar system.
It just goes to show the tremendous impact we amateurs can have on the universe.
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