30 March 2007

July - August 2004

Check out the Big Dipper's intriguing sights as comet pierces it
Thursday, July 1, 2004
News Staff Reporter

Although fainter now, Comet C/2001 Q4 (NEAT) will pass through the bowl of the Big Dipper this month, making it easier for novice comet seekers to find it. That also provides the perfect excuse to linger longer in the dipper, surely the most well-known group of stars in the heavens.

If you get binoculars out to spy the comet, it's easy to find other intriguing jewels and surprising quirks in the big pot with the long handle.

More "Cosmic Spam?"

Please note that the writer of the following is not a native English speaker. Also note that we offer it with the caveat that it sure sounds like bunkum to us: a bit of truth and a lot of nonsense. What's scary is that this is making the rounds among some semi-scientific circles... Note particularly that the writer seems to advocate the "ETs as "good guys" hypothesis and that they will smack us only because they "love us." Yeah, right.

Will The "Doomsday Asteroid" Toutatis Exterminate Earth Civilization In 2004?

Constantin I. Ivanenko, Ph. D. Independent Inner Space explorer
Founder of Russian Initiative Group for the Defence of Earth
St Petersburg, RUSSIA Via Email

(Hidden exopolitical background of Cosmic Threat)

As there is fast approaching 29 September 2004: calculated by astronomers more than a decade ago fateful moment of most close during entire century approach to Earth of "doomsday asteroid 4179" Toutatis (named by its influenced by ‘mystic apprehensions’ discoverers after dreaded God of Death of ancient Celts), there is activated discussion between informed members of Global Leading Edge community what this approach does portend to inhabitants of Earth.

In Russia there exists an influential group of "politically active Inner Space explorers" (called "The Internal Predictor of Russia", allegedly supported by certain government agencies) which is seriously concerned about possible results of this approach; - which might, in their opinion, bring global-scale disaster similar to that which had destroyed remains of Atlantis about 11 500 years ago.

This opinion is shared by a group of scientifically advanced opponents of unlimited spreading of technologies for production of "free energy" (especially of "free vacuum energy"); - which are basing thei r arguments on data extracted by numerous explorers of Akashic Archives: such as E. Cayce & various authors mentioned by Sh. Andrews in her book "Atlantis: Insights from a Lost Civilization" from ‘Akashic Archives’ of past Atlantean supercivilization.

(However, - as believe competent Russian Inner Space explorers, - most valuable data were obtained in ‘30s-‘40s in Nazi Germany by large highly disciplined & trained team of Ahnenerbe psychics; - which got direct order of Himmler to put as much efforts as possible into psi-investigation of Atlantean technologies of "ultimate extermination".)

According to their version, final destruction of (situated in the region of present Bermuda Triangle) Atlantean metropolis, - which happened about 11 500 years ago, - was brought about by precisely aimed strike of medium-sized "killer asteroid"; - which had been directed at its target by antigravity drives (upgraded variants of Podkletnov’s disk) of battleships of Galactic Spacefleet, which were stationed around Earth.

(Thus data of astronomical calculations made on basis of laws of "conventional" Celestial Mechanics, - which demonstrate that Toutatis, during its coming approach, will pass at a considerable distance (about 1 million of miles) away from Earth, - may be not relevant in this case; - because Toutatis’ trajectory could be "corrected" by ETs - at such moment when it’ll be already too late to rep el it with the help of nuclear missiles or using other methods requiring considerable preparation time.

Besides, use of, eg, controlled from Earth via radiochannels nuclear missiles for defelection of asteroids’ trajectories, - as proposed E. Teller, - might be conterproductive in case of "ET- guided killer asteroids"; - as such missiles could be intercepted by highly technologically advanced ET operators – and directed back to Earth - as it happened with some of Mars probes.)

Destruction of Atlantis hadn’t been an act of unprovoked wanton cruelty (says "official version", received by Russian contactees during seances of mental communications with ETs): this drastic action was undertaken (like US intervention into Iraq) only after numerous warnings & ultimatums; - which demanded Atlantean government to stop unauthorized by Galactic experts research in area of vacuum energies (cf. "Iraqi WMD research").

As said Galactic Ultimatum, "in absence of proper precautions – which could be based only on profound theoretical knowledge about Structure of Universe (which Atlantean scientists did not possess, in opinion of Galactic experts) – blind clumsy tamperings with powers of Cosmic Magnitude could bring disaster of Universal scale, damaging protective armour of vacuum which protects fragile body of physical Universe fr om unimaginable fury of Cosmic Fire".

Regretfully, weak government of decaying Atlantean Empire could not resist concentrated pressure of "populistically oriented partisans of unlimited energy"; – whose tempting (as proposals of con men) slogans of the type: "Unlimited Energy of Space for (limitlessly multiplying: T. Malthus/G. Hardin) starving masses" were enthusiastically supported by uneducated massess, organically incapable to foresee long-term consequences of such decisions. (Russian "ET climate expert" Dr Karnaukhov says that these "partisans of unlimited energy" were abetted & secretly guided by ‘Luciferites’: descendants of fugitives from Venus; - which had been transformed into incandescent hell by careless experiments wi th "free energy" of its former ‘less than truly intelligent’ inhabitants – which, in spite of their technological achievements, lacked common prudency.)

As writes an eminent American climatologist A. Bates in his publ. in ’90 popular book "Climate in Crisis" (with Foreword by Al Gore, Dr Bates’ school friend), this situation is being repeated now with striking similarity.

Thus, - with much regret, as They dislike very much to use physical violence (or at least such is Their official position: cf. official position of US Government Re Iraq), - Representatives of Galactic Government were forced to take recourse to "ultimate arguments" in o rder to save Earth & Universe from "terrible consequences of reckless actions inspired by aggressive ignorance".

"A loving parent might slap a child playing with hand grenade, when there isn’t enough time to act gently" – thus was explained this ancient drama in psi-messages of "Public Representatives of Galactic Government" to Russian ET contactees.

(As a proof of Their basically good intentions Galactic Messengers named the fact that Their spaceships on sentry duty around Earth had no special armaments; - so use of antigravity generators of spacecraft engines for aiming of "killer asteroid" was an ad hoc/last moment improvisation.

Schematic drawings of disk-based antigravity generators which formed key components of engines of Galactic spacecraft are presented on Figs. 22 & 23 of "Two-Thirds" by D. Percy & D. Myers; Aulif Publ., London, 1993.

It’s easy to see similarity of these ET devices to widely publicized after 1999, - see, eg, in publ in 2000 "Hunr for Zero Point" by N. Cook & an article "Going Up" by D. Cohen in 12 Jan 2002 issue of "New Scientist", - disk-based "antigravity generator" of Russian inventor Dr. E. Podkletnov; - which is regarded by experts of US NASA as a possible prototype of drives of interstellar spaceships of the F uture.)

Already in ’96 in St Petersburg Leading Edge magazine "Terminator" there was published my proposition to organize in 2004: "the Year of Advent of Hell on Earth", as say Prophecies of The Great Pyramid (see, eg, in J. Michell’s "A new View over Atlantis" & other sources) Global Internet-based Meditation for the Defence of Earth from Space Threat.

This Meditation will allow to increase the level of inner coherency of Global Psi-Field; - transforming it into an "active psychotronic shield of Earth Defence", - impenetrable both to "gross physical" (such as asteroid strike) & "subtl e level" (such as chaotic turbulent energies of ‘Photon Belt of Pleiades’) attacks.

(In published in ‘30s works of Russian Spiritual teachers N. & H. Roerich and G. Gurdjiev it was said that similar techniques of Defence of Earth from frequent then attacks of "space pirates" were used by ancient global supercivilization whose metropolis was situated in then free from ice Antarctica.

Using ‘Energy of Big Bang’, - which this advanced civilization could extract through ‘South Polar hypertunnel/Time Machine’, - they could transform near-Earth vacuum into a kind of impenetrable ‘vac uum chain mail’: cf. picture on p. 76 of Feb. ’94 issue of "Scientific American".

Also, this energy could be concentrated into sharply focussed psychokinetic ray of irresistible power, capable to repel even most heavily armed spaceships of cosmic aggressors.)

In this connection it might be instructive to mention here data of psychics which are investigating the history of extermination of Martian civilization. Majority of explorers of Akashic Archives of Solar System agree that it was destroyed by a frontal hit of large asteroid, which tore away in a few seconds Martian atmosphere. Russian psychics say that this "killer asteroid", - which had been teleported via hyperspace by profe ssional team of "ET planet killers", - has emerged into "conventional space" in front of Mars just a few fractions of second before impact.

Because of this possessing advanced enough defensive technologies Martians, - which, however, hadn’t yet established reliable enough "Predictor Service", capable to warn them timely about coming threats, - were unable to take necessary measures of self-protection.

Collating data presented in abovementioned "Two-Thirds" & "The Montauk Project" by P. Nichols & P. Moon (Sky Books, 1992), it’s possible to conclude that Martians tried (and almost succeeded – before they were exterminated) to instal inside The Great 5-sided Martian Pyramid (called ‘The Tor’ in "Two-Thirds") so-called ‘Aspis Crystal’; - whose purpose was to defend entire Solar System from unauthorized interventions from outside through altering of ‘crystal lattice of vacuum’ – which’ll become impenetrable to ‘enemy spacecraft’.

(As was demonstrated on abovementioned picture from "Sci. Am.", this crystal lattice has "multispiral" structure resembling that of quartz – or of created with the help of advanced ET nanotechnologies "magic crystal" mentioned in SF novel of f. DIA officer M. Caidin "Dark Messiah").

As guess Russian explorers of history of Martian civilization, Martians’ efforts to realize this project had provoked their extermination; - as "kangaroo court" of said space pirates (which called itself by nobly sounding title of "Government of Galactic Federation") naturally was against this.

Here may be drawn parallels with (unsuccessful, in this case) attempts of British government in 18th century (and later) to thwart gaining of independence by British colonies in America.

In ‘80s Spiritual Guru of Pentagon Meditation Club the late Swami Satchidananda put forward the plan of Spiritual Defence I nitiative, based on creation, – with the help of Global Meditation, - of impenetrable "shield of Spiritual Defence" around entire Earth; - which could prevent attacks of both inner & outer Enemies of Earth, - repelling both nuclear missiles launched by "rogue states" & "killer asteroids" directed by space aggressors.

Such Meditations of Global Defence may be organized, using "Internet-upgraded variant" of developed in ‘70s by Russian defence-oriented psi-explorers computer-aided technique of precise intersynchronization of psi-fields of crews of naval & spaceships.

(Such intersynchronization, - allowing to form "group mind" o f ships’ crews, - helped to increase survival abilities of these ships in emergency/battle situations; - increasing efficiency of crewmembers’ teamwork & raising the level of captain’s precognitive ability.)

Dr Sergeyev: director of Special Advanced Research Group of f. Soviet Navy which had developed these techniques, used in his work research materials of an eminent Russian Inner Space explorer Dr. Barchenko: director of opened in ’25 first in the world government-sponsored psi-research lab; - who had developed, already in ‘20s-‘30s, efficient designs of collective meditations, - whose purpose was establishing of psi-contact with Ascended Masters of Shamballa & advanced cosmic civil izations.

(Hints about these designs - also used by members of Dr Sergeyev’s group - can be found in books of Roerichs’ Teachings. It’s said that Dr Barchenko was ‘telepathically assisted’ in his work by Masters of Shamballa: Spiritual Capital of Earth; - which was called in books of Roerichs "military camp of armed Defenders of Earth".)

After beginning of "perestroika", - when heretofore top secret materials of Dr Sergeyev’s research were partially declassified, - he addressed to his colleagues in other countries (which were aware of his work thanks to ‘70s "international psychotronic bestseller": known to all members of global psi-research community book of S. Ostrander & L. Schroeder "Psychic Discoveries behind The Iron Curtain") with proposition to use developed by his group collective computer-aided ESP training technologies for fast training of entire human crew of endangered Spaceship Earth in difficult but necessary art of Defence of our Common Global Home.

Fireball seen in skies above state
By The Associated Press
Thu July 8, 2004

A large meteor may have been what residents in Oklahoma, Texas and parts of the south-central United States saw Wednesday night, officials said.

The National Weather Service said it had received numerous reports of a fireball in the sky around 9:30 p.m. from central and southwestern Oklahoma to northern Texas and other parts of the South.

After discussions with the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency, the weather service said officials concluded that what residents saw was likely a large meteor.

John Clabes, a regional spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, said there were no reports of missing aircraft in the area.

In Tulsa, John Southern said he saw what he thought was an airplane on fire while driving near U.S. 75 in Tulsa.

"It looked like an airplane going down in flames really hard or fast _ or space debris," said Southern, a freelance photographer. "It was coming from a southwesterly direction."

When he got a closer look, he saw that the object had a definite central mass.

"This was just like a blob," Southern said. "I wouldn't say it was a UFO, but I don't know. I thought surely something had happened."

Southern s aid the object flew to the southeast before he lost sight of it.

"It was just a flash in the pan. It was over in about three seconds," he said.

A similar phenomenon occurred Dec. 1, 2001, when residents in Oklahoma, Texas and Nebraska witnessed space debris breaking up as it entered the atmosphere.

Witnesses reported seeing long streaks of light moving across the sky and breaking into about 30 "little balls with tails."

Meteor blazes across North Texas nighttime skies
01:20 PM CDT on Thursday, July 8, 2004
From Staff Reports

If you saw an unusual object light up the night sky Wednesday, you weren't alone.

Many people – some of whom thought a plane had crashed – notified authorities and media outlets acros s North Texas about 9:20 p.m.

What they saw was a meteor, said Alan Moller of the National Weather Service in Fort Worth.

"Although they're very small objects, they burn like mad," when they enter the Earth's atmosphere, he said.

Jeff Barton, a member of the Texas Astronomical Society, agreed the object might have been a meteor or what's called a bolide, an exploding meteor.

"Bolides tend to be larger and move a little slower," he said. "They will be in the sky for 10 to 15 seconds. Someone at a game can use their vide o camera and capture it. ... If it was a bright, slow-moving bolide, it could have been caught. There's been a spate of bolides recently."

Mr. Barton said the object also might have been space junk, but he noted that the Aquarids meteor shower is visible from mid-July to mid-August.

Although scientists sometimes can predict when meteors will make their entry, this one was unexpected.

Skygazers can expect another spectacular performance later this summer.

According to NASA, the Perseid meteor shower will start in mi d-July and peak Aug. 12. It will be more visible in the Northern Hemisphere.

The shower occurs as Earth travels into the periphery of a cloud of debris from the comet Swift-Tuttle.

Comment: A video of the meteor can be found here along with the insipid commentary of the news crew.

Glimpse at Early Universe Reveals Surprisingly Mature Galaxies
Johns Hopkins University
Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Observations challenge standing view of how and when galaxies formed

Johns Hopki ns University
Wednesday, July 07, 2004

A rare glimpse back in time into the universe's early evolution has revealed something startling: mature, fully formed galaxies where scientists expected to discover little more than infants.

"Up until now, we assumed that galaxies were just beginning to form between 8 and 11 billion years ago, but what we found suggests that that is not the case," said Karl Glazebrook, associate professor of physics and astronomy in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and co-principal author of a paper in the July 8 issue of Nature. "It seems that an unex pectedly large fraction of stars in big galaxies were already in place early in the universe's formation, and that challenges what we've believed. We thought massive galaxies came much later."

Using the Frederick C. Gillett Gemini North Telescope in Mauna Kea, Hawaii, Glazebrook and a multinational team of researchers called the Gemini Deep Deep Survey (GDDS) employed a special technique called the "Nod and Shuffle" to peer into what had traditionally been a cosmological blind spot. Called "the Redshift Desert," this era - 8 billion to 11 billion years ago, when the universe was only 3 billion to 6 billion years old - has remained relatively unexplored until now, mainly because of the challenges inherent in collecting data from the faintest galactic light ever to be dissec ted into the rainbow of colors called a spectrum. In all, the team collected and analyzed spectra from 300 galaxies, making it the most complete sample ever taken from the Redshift Desert.

"This was the most comprehensive survey ever done covering the bulk of the galaxies that represent conditions in the early universe," Glazebrook said. "We expected to find basically zero massive galaxies beyond about 9 billion years ago, because theoretical models predict that massive galaxies form last. Instead, we found highly developed galaxies that just shouldn't have been there, but are."

These findings challenge the dominant theory of galactic evo lution, which posits that at this early stage, galaxies should have formed from the bottom up, with small pieces crashing together to build small and then ever larger galaxies. Called the "hierarchical model," this scenario predicts that normal-to-large galaxies such as those studied by GDDS would not yet exist.

"There are obviously some aspects of the early lives of galaxies that we don't yet completely understand, Glazebrook said. "We do find fewer massive galaxies in the past, but there are still more than we expected. This result is giving us a big clue as to how stars form from invisible gas in the hierarchical model, which is something not well understood under current theories. Some new ingredient is required to make more stars form earlier in the big gala xies. But what that ingredient is, we don't yet know." [...]

Solar storms may have torn away Mars water: NASA
www.chinaview.cn 2004-07-09 12:22:28

BEIJING, July 9 (Xinhuanet) -- NASA scientists say solar s torms might have torn away the water that used to cover parts of Mars.

They monitored the after-effects of a monster solar storm that hit Earth in last October and November. CRIENGLISH.com reported Friday.

They think repeated battering by this kind of space weather could have ripped away Mars' water veil.

According to observations by the Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity, astronomers believe Mars once had enough surface water to support life, but they have not determined where that water went some 3.5 billion years ago.

Scientists think the solar radiat ion events could have affected the surface of Mars because the planet has so little protection.

Unlike Earth, only isolated zones of Mars has a protective magnetosphere that guards the planet against bombardment by high-energy particles during a solar storm.

Sun storms reverberate to Solar System's edge
11:25 09 July 04
NewScientist.com news service

Record-breaking blasts from unseasonable solar storms seen in late 2003 are just now reaching the edge of the Solar System, scientists reported on Thursday.

More than a dozen coronal mass ejections - eruptions of super-heated gas triggered by tangled magnetic fields on the Sun's surface - shot from the star over a period of 20 days last October and November.

In the events, which pointed in different directions because of the Sun's rotation, radiation and high-speed particles surged ahead of gas from the blasts themselves. On 28 and 29 October, that gas reached Earth in record time - about 20 hours, sweeping past the planet at five million miles per hour.

"If you look at the overall speed of the events - the sheer momentum of it - it's the biggest event we've measured in space," University of Michigan astronomer Thomas Zurbuchen told reporters at a NASA teleconference.

An unprecedented number of spacecraft tracked the blasts as they sped outward from the Sun, producing a trove of data that may help scientists predict the effects of future space storms. The blasts produced auroras as far south as Florida in the US, shut down power in a city in Sweden, and forced astronauts aboard the International Space Station to duck into a relatively well shielded service module.

Martian impact

A few hours after reaching Earth, the blasts hit Mars, which has no global magnetic field to shield it from solar storms. The events disabled a radiation-monitoring instrument on the orbiting spacecraft Mars Odyssey. And computer simulations suggest they also blew off part of the planet's upper atmosphere, an effect that may have helped erode the planet's surface water over 3.5 billion years.

"We know there used to be a lot more water than there is right now. Where did it go?" Zurbuchen said. "One of the key ideas people are talking about is the connection to these space storms."

The Ulysses spacecraft near Jupiter and the Cassini spacecraft near Saturn both detected radio waves when the blasts slammed into the planets' magnetic fields.

In April, the blasts - slowed to 1.5 million miles per hour - even caught up with the Voyager 2 probe, which has travelled about 7 billion miles from the Sun since its launch in 1977. And preliminary data suggest they may have reached the Voyager 1 spacecraft, nearly 9 billion miles from the Sun this Tuesday, eight months after erupting from the star.

At those distances, the Sun's magnetic influence begins to wane as solar wind particles come into contact with particles from interstellar space. The blasts are expected to temporarily expand - by 400 million miles - the boundary of this heliosphere, which they will probably reach by early 2005.


[...] The "Halloween" solar storms in October-November 2003 launched billions of tons of electrified gas (plasma) that blasted by Earth within a day and past Mars hours later.

[...] The Halloween storms were the most powerful ever measured. The storms broke all-time records for X-ray intensity and for speed and temperature of the solar wind observed near Earth. About a third of the total particle radiation emitted by the Sun in the last decade in the deadly 30-50 MeV energy range came from these st orms, even though the solar activity cycle was well pas t its maximum.

[...] The shocks created by the storms in the inner solar system not only accelerated electrons and protons to high energy, they also trapped the particles in the inner heliosphere. This resulted in elevated radiation levels everywhere between Venus and Mars that decayed only gradually over a period of weeks. This kind of event will have significant implications for radiation protection requirements for explorers who venture outside of the Earth's protective magnetosphere (magnetic field).

Astronomers discover planet in Orion

DALLAS -- Astronomers have discovered a planet orbiting a star in the constellation Orion - without ever actually seeing it. They watched the star, about 140 light-years or roughly 800 trillion miles away, and deduced the presence of a planet by how much the star wiggled.

The planet, called HD 37605b, is a gas giant at le ast 2.8 times the mass of Jupiter. HD 37605b zips around its star - HD 37605, near the bright star Betelgeuse - once every 54 days.

It is 123rd planet known beyond the solar system.

The astronomers made the discovery, reported in Thursday's online edition of The Dallas Morning News, using the Hobby-Eberly Telescope.

"This will be the first of many planets coming out of the HET," said William Cochran, an astronomer at the University of Texas at Austin and leader of the research team.

The telescop e uses 91 mirrors, each in the shape of a hexagon, to gather light across a surface 30 feet across.

Meteor Shower over Gulf of Bothnia
13.07.2004, 11.13

Boaters at the Gulf of Finland witnessed an unusual light phenomenon in the sky on Monday night. This was due to a meteor shower rarely seen in the area.

Rescue teams across the Gulf of Bothnia were inundated with calls reporting red balls of light in the skies above the towns of Pietarsaari, Kokkola and Himanka in central Finland.

According to the air-sea rescue center in Vaasa, these were not distress rockets sent by boaters, but a type of meteor shower rarely seen in Finland.

Witnesses reported seeing balls of light moving quickly over the area, sending out sparks clearly visible to the human eye. Later they changed into white light balls, leaving a trail of smoke behind them.

Defense against asteroids begins study
By Robert Roy Britt
Tuesday, July 13, 2004 Posted: 9:31 AM EDT (1331 GMT)

SPACE.com -- A mission to smash into a space rock to deflect it and study its structure has been given priority over five other poten tial asteroid projects by the European Space Agency.

The slam-bang 'Don Quijote' mission would help scientists figure out how to deflect or destroy any asteroid in the future that might be found to be on a collision course with Earth. The project uses the Spanish spelling of Don Quixote, the protagonist in Cervantes' novel who has chivalrous ideas that tend toward the impractical.

The lofty modern-day Don Quijote would help solve a practical problem.

Scientists don't know enough about asteroid insides to predict how one would respond to attempts to nudge it off an Earth-impact course or turn it into harmless dust. While no asteroids are curren tly known to be on track to hit the planet, experts say a regional catastrophe is inevitable in the very long run-- over millennia. And run-ins with small asteroids that could incinerate a large city occur ever few thousand years.

"We want to investigate the internal structure of an asteroid, and at the same time develop and test the technology necessary, in a worst case scenario, to deflect a sizeable asteroid," says Andrea Milani, an asteroid expert at the University of Pisa who is helping to plan the mission.

Shanghai to build 'underground city'
May 18, 2004 10:26 IST

China's largest city and the communist gia nt's gleaming business hub, Shanghai has decided to build a 60,000-square-metre multipurpose 'underground city'.

The multi-level 'underground city', four-storeyed in some places, will be equipped with stores, garages, restaurants and all kinds of entertainment centres and facilities, a Shanghai-based newspaper said.

It is scheduled to be completed in 2006 and has been listed as a major scientific and technological programme by the Shanghai municipality, the Jiefang Daily reported.

The construction of the 'underground city' will comprehensively utilise the underground room o f and around the existing subway pivots as well as thei r ground facilities.

The reports quoting experts from the Shanghai municipal government said due to lesser and lesser ground space in big cities, city dwellers have now begun to favour underground stores and garages.

They also said that they will build a sound ventilation system in the 'underground city' and introduce sunlight to build a greenbelt system in places where conditions permit.

Shanghai is China's largest city with a population of over 17 million.

Solar Activity & Fireballs
July 16, 2004
A solar wind gust from the indicated coronal hole could reach Earth on July 16th or 17th. Image credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
Sunspot 649 has produced three X-class solar flares: two on July 15th (0141 UT and 1824 UT) and one, so far, on July 16th (0206 UT).

None of these explosions hurled a coronal mass ejection directly toward Earth, so the chances for bright auroras remain low despite the high solar activity.

Strong solar activity should continue for days to come. Sunspot 649 has a tangled "beta-gamma-delta" magnetic field that harbors energy for more X-class solar flares. Meanwhile, another big sunspot appears to be hidden on the far side of the sun. Solar rotation will carry it over the sun's eastern limb, and into plain view, as soon as July 17th.


Sea-rescuers were on alert in Finland on July 12th when reports of emergency flares poured in from the Gulf of Bothnia. They soon realized that no ship was in distress. The flares were "meteors." Johan Geisor was on a photo-expedition in the Gulf; he saw a bright fireba ll and took this picture of its smoky debris at 9:16 p.m. GMT: (continued below)

News reports of the event (#1, #2, #3, #4) describe a slow-moving fireball, red and sparkling, perhaps shedding fragments. This sounds remarkably like a piece of re-entering space junk--e.g., an old rocket engine or a satellite. Yet no such objects were scheduled to decay over Finland on July 12th. Likewise, no intense meteor showers were due. What was this display? Probably a small space rock disintegrating in Earth's atmosphere.

Comment: There have been two more X class flares today, Friday, including one that clocks in at 3.1. That is five in two days. And they're telling us the solar maximum was three years ago Look at this graph:

Mars probe detects hint of life
Jul. 16, 2004. 09:20 AM

LONDON—An instrument orbiting Mars may have detected a whiff of life on the Red Planet.

Data from a spectrometer aboard the European Space Agency's Mars Express probe appears to have recorded radiation indicating pungent ammonia gas in Mars' atmosphere, BBC News Online reports.

Since ammonia can survive for only a few hours in the Martian atmosphere before breaking down, it must be constantly replenished from one of two possible sources: active volcanoes — of which none have been found on Mars — or microbes.

"Ammonia could be the key to finding life on Mars," a NASA scientist told the BBC. "There are no known ways for ammonia to be present in the Martian atmosphere that do not involve life."

Ammonia is a compound of nitrogen and hydrogen atoms. Nitrogen is rare in the Mars environment, and researchers say the presence of ammonia may indicate that Martian microbes may be hoarding it.

Comment: Slowly, step by step, information about life on Mars is being given to the public. What will be the next "revelation"?

With all of this going on in the heavens, today we received an interesting, unsolicited email from a member of the European Space Agency (ESA). The person in question, Philippe Kletzkine, requested that we were infringing copyright by republishing an article from Rednova.com on the Signs Page of November 6th 2003.

Here is the excerpted article as it appears on the Signs page of 6th November 2003:

Rosetta Ready to Land on Larger Comet

Allied Signal -- Developed and planned over many years, the pioneering Rosetta mission is one of the most challenging ever undertaken in the history of space exploration.

In May 2003, however, engineers were presented with a new challenge when ESA's Science Programme Committee announced that comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko would replace comet 46P/Wirtanen as Rosetta's objective. [...]

The historic touchdown on the pristine surface of comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko is expected to take place in November 2014. "We anticipate a landing on the 'summer' side of the nucleus, where there is maximum illumination," said Philippe Kletzkine.

Mr Kletzkine's email states:

Subject: Article re Rosetta
From: xxxxxxxx
Date: 16/07/2004
To: Signs@cassiopaea.com

Your website contains an article about "Rosetta Ready to Land on Larger Comet".

Your publication infringes on copyrights. In addition, some material you have added is factually incorrect. Other cannot be correctly understood because
you removed key material.

You are requested to remove this article from your publication immediately.

P. Kletzkine
European Space Agency

To which Ark responded:

From: Arkadiusz Jadczyk
To: xxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: Article re Rosetta
Date: 16/07/2004 16:16


I believe you mean http://quantumfuture.net/signs/signs303.htm

In the case that concerns you, there is no "article" to remove. We are quoting representative paragraphs (in this particular case 8 lines), with links to the original publications.

Therefore it is physically impossible to remove "the article". Probably you never heard about "fair use", or you have wrong understanding of what it means.

As for what is factually correct or incorrect, you are invited to send us a correction, and we will publish it and respond to it.


Prof. dr. Arkadiusz Jadczyk

To which Mr Kletzkine responded:

From: xxxxxx
To: Arkadiusz Jadczyk
Subject: Re: Article re Rosetta
Date: Fri, 16 Jul 2004

Namely, Allied Signal has nothing to do with the Rosetta achievement. Quoting "Allied Signal" at the very beginning of the article robs the European Space Agency and the companies that did participate in this achievement of receiving proper credit. This is not "fair use". Therefore I ask you again to remove your item, whether you call it an "article" or whether you call it something else. Besides, the 8 lines that were arbitrarily extracted, because they leave out information contained in the original article, make it sound like it was a sudden whim of the Science Program Committee that changed the target comet and are therefore projecting an inaccurate image of ESA's programs.

P. Kletzkine
European Space Agency

We were a little perplexed to say the least. We had simply reproduced part of an article that gave the gist of the story with a link to the full article. But we see that Mr. Kletzkine beef is with the fact that the original story began with the words "Allied Signal". What Mr Kletzkine fails to realise is that the words "Allied Signal" appear at the beginning of the article because the article was taken from the Allied Signal website. There was no intent to manipulate or deny credit to the ESA. Allied Signal, now merged and renamed "Honeywell", is a large multi-national company specialising in aerospace, automotive and engineering products and designs. Since the merger the original article on the "Allied Signal" has disappeared.

What is really interesting however, is the fact that this little discourse played out today, of all days - the same day that the following article appears on the UK Guardian newspaper.

Crash mission to deflect Earth-bound asteroid
Tim Radford, science editor
Friday July 16, 2004
The Guardian

Project given high priority by Europe's space agency

Europe 's space chiefs have backed a suicide mission which will end in a head-on collision with an approaching asteroid.

Astronomers so far know of about 1,200 objects in space more than half a mile across which might one day collide with Earth.

An impact with a large object from space 65m years ago helped wipe out the dinosaurs. Even a much smaller object could cause widespread devastation. But so far, the in terception of asteroids has happened only in Hollywood disaster movies.

The European Space Agency's near-Earth object advisory panel has recommended high priority for a Spanish mission to smash into a distant asteroid.

"If you think about the chain of events between detecting a hazardous object, and doing something about it, there is one area in which we have no experience at all and that is interacting directly with an asteroid, trying to alter its orbit," said Alan Harris, chairman of the advisory panel.

The mission, named Don Quijote, will use two spacecraft. One, called Sancho, will head for a target asteroid 500 metres (1,540ft) in diameter and go into orbit around it for at least seven months. It will drop detectors to measure the asteroid's internal structure.

The second spacecraft, Hidalgo, will be launched at the same time but approach on a longer orbit - and smash into the asteroid at more than 22,000mph, while the first spacecraft watches the fireworks.

The collision would hardly stop the asteroid in its tracks but it might slow it on what could be a collision course with Earth.

"It is just to test a technique: can we change their orbits by runnin g a kinetic energy impactor?" said Matt Genge, an asteroid expert at Imperial College, London.

"Can we change its orbit by less than a centimetre per second? If we ever find an asteroid that is on collision course with Earth, at some point in the future, whether it is 10 orbits away, or 20 orbits away, just giving it a small nudge will make it miss the Earth."

Last year Dr Genge calculated that a steady push might be more effective in steering an asteroid away from a collision course.

He worked out that a thrust equivalent to that from a Reliant Robin could deflect a 1bn tonne asteroid in just 75 days.

The Don Quijote mission takes its name from Cervantes' novel, and the scene in which Don Quijote tilts at windmills while Sancho Panza watches from a distance.

"In this case, Don Quijote is fighting an asteroid," said José Gonzales of Deimos Space, which planned the mission.

The Spanish scientists will now look for partners for the mission. With international cooperation, Don Quijote could be launched between 2010 and 2015. Hidalgo will be the first true attempt at deflecting an asteroid.

But it won't be the first direct assault on one of the solar system's loose cannonballs. In December Nasa will launch Deep Impact, which will fire a copper projectile into a comet, deliberately gouging out a crater.

And a European space mission called Rosetta is on its way to an encounter with a distant comet in 2014.

So we were contacted by a member of the ESA, who is directly involved in the Rosetta mission, on the same day the some of the biggest X-class flares are buffeting the earth, life on Mars appears, suddenly, to be a real possibility and a story shows up in the Guardian that specifically mentions government projects to divert earth-bound asteroids, including the Rosetta mission.

It's just a little too synchronous for suspicious minds like ours.

We find it a little difficult to believe that NASA and the ESA are going to all this bother to find a way to deflect an earth-bound asteroid if there is not some significant and pressing need to actually do so. Which suggests of course that certain people in these agencies know something that the general public does not.

Back in 1986 Laura Knight-Jadczyk wrote the following in her book "The Noah Syndrome" (no longer available) much of which is incorporated into her newly revised, expanded and updated book "The Secret History of the World".

All of these effects describe the actions of a comet upon the earth as described in Velikovsky's Worlds in Collision. The "drying of the Euphrates" probably indicates an alteration of the geography of the earth which will enable the peoples of the Orient to emerge as dominant which, by the implications of this statement taken with the foregoing passage relating to the destruction of Babylon, might be involved in some conflict at the time the comet heads their way, disrupting their conflict at least temporarily.

"And I saw three loathsome spirits like frogs, from the mouth of the dragon and from the mouth of the beast and from the mouth of the false prophet. For really they are the spirits of demons that perform signs. And they go forth to the rulers and leaders all over the world, to gather them together for war on the great day of God the Almighty... And they gathered them together at the place which in Hebrew is called Armageddon." (Rev. 16, ex.)

Now why, one must ask, in the name of all good sense, would the nations of the earth gather together for the long prognosticated war called "Armageddon," in the midst of cosmic upheaval? Maybe it is because Armageddon is not quite what has been thought. We can note the similarity of the descriptions of the frog as "performers of signs" to the description of nuclear war in Chapter 13:

"He performs great signs -- startling miracles -- even making fire fall from the sky to the earth in men's sight." (v.13)

... and thereby make the connection to nuclear armaments. But how are they being used? The connection with the "dragon" relates to lies and deception and the false prophet relates to materialism and political manipulation.

Supposing the earth to be in a state of incredible turmoil due to numerous wars and now, cosmic catastrophe, the deceptive attitude of scientific materialism would be that something can be done to avert further disaster, assuming that a comet is, in fact, on a direct path toward the earth.

I believe that the description in this passage tells us that all the nations will assemble their nuclear armaments and attempt to use them to break the attraction between the earth and another cosmic body, or, deflect its path if it has not, in fact, made atmospheric contact. The implication of this passage is that the armies are gathered together to fight God in his manifestation as extra-terrestrial cosmic catastrophe, and this is reiterated in numerous other passages of scripture.

Experience has taught us to pay attention to these seemingly innocuous synchronicities, because in a world where the truth is closely and jealously guarded by the few, they are often important indicators of what is really going on behind the scenes. Mr Kletzkine has inadvertently renewed our interest in the Rosetta mission and the other NASA and ESA missions which seem extremely interested in possible Earth-bound rocks. In the interest of humanity's right to know, we will of course be watching closely for further developments bringing you all pertinent details as, or rather if, they emerge.

In the meantime, serious 'seekers after truth' can discover for themselves the full story about our past, present, and possible future, by purchasing Laura's excellent 400 page book - "The Secret History of the World".

ESA Considers The Next Step In Assessing The Risk From Near-Ea rth Objects
Paris (ESA) Jul 15, 2004

On 9 July 2004, the Near-Earth Object Mission Advisory Panel recommended that ESA place a high priority on developing a mission to actually move an asteroid. The conclusion was based on the panel's consideration of six near-Earth object mission studies submitted to the Agency in February 2003.

Of the six studies, three were space-based observatories for detecting NEOs and three were rendezvous missions. All addressed the growing realisation of the threat posed by Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) and proposed ways of detecting NEOs or discovering more about them from a close distance.

A panel of six experts, known as the Near-Earth Object Mission Advisory Panel (NEOMAP) assessed the proposals.

Alan Harris, German Aerospace Centre (DLR), Berlin, and Chairman of NEOMAP, says,

"The task has been very difficult because the goalposts have changed. When the studies were commissioned, the discovery business was in no way as advanced as it is now."

"Today, a number of organisations are building large telescopes on Earth that promise to find a very large percentage of the NEO population at even smaller sizes than visible today."

As a result, the panel decided that ESA should leave detection to ground-based telescopes for the time being, until the share of the remaining population not visible from the ground becomes better known.

The need for a space-based observatory will then be re-assessed. The panel placed its highest priority on rendezvous missions, and in particular, the Don Quijote mission concept.

"If you think about the chain of events between detect ing a hazardous object and doing something about it, there is one area in which we have no experience at all and that is in directly interacting with an asteroid, trying to alter its orbit," explains Harris.

The Don Quijote mission concept will do this by using two spacecraft, Sancho and Hidalgo. Both are launched at the same time but Sancho takes a faster route.

When it arrives at the target asteroid it will begin a seven-month campaign of observation and physical characterisation during which it will land penetrators and seismometers on the asteroid's surface to understand its internal structure.

Sancho will then watch a s Hidalgo arrives and smashes into the asteroid at very high speed. This will provide information about the behaviour of the internal structure of the asteroid during an impact event as well as excavating some of the interior for Sancho to observe.

After the impact, Sancho and telescopes from Earth will monitor the asteroid to see how its orbit and rotation have been affected.

Harris says, "When we do actually find a hazardous asteroid, you could imagine a Don Quijote-type mission as a precursor to a mitigation mission. It will tell us how the target responds to an impact and will help us to develop a much more effective mitigation mission."

On 9 July, the findings were presented to the scientific and industrial community. Representatives of other national space agencies were also invited in the hope that they will be interested in developing a joint mission, based around this concept.

Andrés Galvez, ESA's Advanced Concepts Team and technical officer for the NEOMAP report says, "This report gives us a solid foundation to define programmatic priorities and an implementation strategy, in which I also hope we are joined by international partners". With international cooperation, a mission could be launched as early as 2010-2015.

Asteroid Crash Sent "Meteorite Express" to Earth, Study Says
Stefan Lovgren
National Geographic News
July 14, 2004

Small meteorites impact our planet several times a year, and—despite Hollywood's doomsday scenarios—life on Earth survives. Almost all of these meteorites are from asteroid collisions that occurred 3 to 60 million years ago.

A new study suggests, however, that the violent destruction of an asteroid can create a long-lasting rain of meteorites. The space rocks would be delivered to Earth by a "meteorite express," the study says.

Total travel time to our planet: a mere hundred thousand years.

The research, which is described in tomorrow's edition of the science j ournal Nature, was conducted by scientists who studied meteorites preserved in 480- million-year-old sediments in southern Sweden.

The scientists found that the meteorites contained gases produced by cosmic rays that suggest the meteorites' transfer to Earth occurred much faster than for more recent ones.

The data led researchers to conclude that a violent collision in our solar system's distant asteroid belt 500 million years ago produced meteorites that traveled to Earth in a relatively scant hundred thousand years.

"It's the first physical confirmation of unusually short transfer times [of meteorites] after a major asteroid collision,& quot; said Philipp Reza Heck, the report's lead author. Heck studies cosmochemistry at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.

His research was partially funded by a grant from the National Geographic Society's Committee for Research and Exploration.

Diverted by Jupiter

The general term "meteor" comes from the Greek meteoron, meaning "phenomenon in the sky." Meteoroids, in particular, are fragments of asteroids produced by collisions.

Meteoroids in our solar system spend most of their time in the asteroid belt betwee n Mars and Jupiter, unless they encounter a phenomenon known as orbital resonance and change course.

A meteorite is a meteoroid that reaches the surface of the Earth without being completely vaporized by the Earth's atmosphere.

While most meteoroids are rocky in composition, some are almost pure metal.

Intense meteorite showers can only occur after a very large collision between asteroids. Such events have been rare in the last billion years of the solar system's history.

Scientists say that meteorite showers are also r are because Jupiter's titanic gravitational pull diverts much of the space debris before it has a chance to venture toward Earth.

The phenomenon known as orbital resonance plays a key role in the "meteorite express" described in the new study. Resonance occurs when two orbiting bodies exert a gravitational influence on each other.

As Heck explained: "If a [meteoroid] goes into an important orbital resonance with Jupiter, for example the 3:1 resonance, then while Jupiter goes once around the sun, the [meteoroid] circles the sun three times."

"So the small object experiences periodically a gravitational tug from Jupiter, and its orbit gets changed quite fast," he said.

The efficient transfer of asteroid material into the inner solar system—the basis of the so-called meteorite express—only happens when an asteroid collision occurs close to a resonance, however.

"Once the fragments are injected into the resonance, their orbital shape is changed rather quickly until they become Earth-crossing," Heck said. This is what has happened in the distant past, scientists believe.

L Chondrites

Hec k and his colleagues studied meteorites that measured several centimeters in diameter. They were found in Thorsberg, a rock quarry in southern Sweden.

Around 500 million years ago the meteorites, of a type known as chondrites, fell into a shallow sea. There, they were covered with fine-grained marine sediments and well preserved.

A chemical analysis showed the meteorites were all of the same class, the so- called L chondrites class. Scientists believe that L chondrites come from a precursor to the Flora family of asteroids, a prominent group of asteroids circling the sun near the inner edge of the asteroid belt. Most L chondrites experienced a major gas loss 500 million years ago, which is best explained by a violent collision in space.

"The transfer time [of these meteorites] to Earth is around a hundred thousand years, consistent with a long-lasting rain of meteorites after the destruction of an asteroid and the existence of at least one trajectory [in which] material was flung towards the inner solar system," Heck said.

The findings do not contradict present scientific thinking about the rate at which meteoroids can travel. But the short transfer times suggested by the new study are at the very low end of theoretical predictions.

"This analysis shows again what happened hundreds of millions of kilometers away can eventually make for a real bad day on Earth," said Bruce Betts, director of projects at the Planetary Society in Pasadena, California.


July 19, 2004

The sunspot number soared this weekend when sunspot 652 and its companion 'spot 653 emerged over the sun's eastern limb. Sunspot 652 is big, about the size of the planet Jupiter, and easily seen from Earth. Both sunspot 652 and, especially, sunspot 649 pose a threat for powerful X-class solar flares.

NOAA forecasters estimate a 40% chance of such a flare during the next 24 hours. Warning: Don't look directly at the sun

Blazes Start 'Balls of Fire' Rumors
Mon Jul 19

CAIRO (Reuters) - A series of f ires in the southern Egyptian province of Sohag has destroyed some 160 houses, giving rise to rumors that spirits are at work or mysterious balls of fire are falling from the sky, a local official said Sunday.

But the causes are mundane -- kerosene stoves, cigarette butts and electrical short circuits, Brigadier Ezzat Aboul Kassem told Reuters. Flaming pigeons, their feathers set alight in the blazes, may explain talk of balls of fire, he added.

Two children have died in the fires, which started last month, and about 30 people have been injured, either from burns or from smoke inhalation, security officials said.

Aboul Kassem, who is director of police investigations in Sohag, said the number of fires was higher than usual this year, at 25 for the first half of July against 15 in the same period last year, possibly because the weather has been hotter.

"Investigations have shown that there are burned pigeons on top of some of the burned houses and it's probable that they fell there after catching fire at other houses," he said. "Maybe that explains the rumors of balls of fire falling from the sky."

Comment: "Burned Pigeons"??

Sunspot Grows to 20 Times Size of Earth
By Robert Roy Britt
Senior Science Writer
posted: 05:10 pm ET
23 July 2004

A sunspot group aimed squarely at Earth has grown to 20 times the size of our planet and has the potential to unleash a major solar storm.

The amorphous mix of spots, together called Number 652, has been rotating across the Sun and growing for several days. On Friday, it sat at the center of the solar disk.

Sunspots are areas of intense magnetic energy, cooler and darker than the surrounding surface of the thermonuclear furnace. Sometimes the magnetic fields let loose and huge amounts of radiation and charged particles are hurled into space.

The Sun's last bout of intense storminess occurred last fall, when a string of 10 major flares over two weeks knocked out satellites, damaged others, and forced the FAA to reroute airlines away from exposed polar routes.

No one can say if this sunspot group will let loose with a major storm, but it has the characteristics of a potentially big event.

"The implications of this spot have scientists on the edge of their seats," NASA said in a statement Friday. "If the active region generates coronal mass ejections (CMEs), massive explosions with a potential force of a billion megaton bombs, it w ill be a fairly direct hit to Earth and its satellites and power grids."

The Sun is now in a generally quiet period of a well-known 11-year cycle of activity. But sunspots and flares can occur at any time. Scientists do not fully understand why the spots appear or how they erupt.

Comment: Whoa Last fall we had a 10 day period of major flares, and we have just seen a series of X class flares in July. Yet the journalist would have us believe that this is "normal" in a solar minimum, that "sunspots and flares can occur at any time". Sure, they can. But having so many X class flares in the period of a solar minimum is not "business as usual". During the 17th century, the sun passed through a 75 year solar minimum. The "normal" 11 year solar cycle was repressed. We believe this occurred when the Sun's dark star companion passed through the Oort cloud. The solar minimum was caused by the gravitational effect of the companion star. For more information, check out the article "Independence Day".

Shooting Stars: Preview of Summer Meteor Showers
By Joe Rao
SPACE.com NightSky Columnist

Summer is the season for shooting stars, and this year could be among the best as the annual Perseid meteor shower promises to be better than usual.

Anyone gazing at the summer night sky for even a short length of time now through the end of August is likely to spot a few streaks of otherworldly light. In general, the Earth encounters richer meteoric activity during the second half of the year.

The best meteor display of the summer comes during the second week of August, during the Perseid event. At its peak around the nights of Aug. 11 and 12, the shower can produce 50 to 100 fast, bright meteors per hour for any observer with a wide-open view of a dark sky.

Great prospects

This year will be a n excellent one to watch for the Perseids, partly because bright moonlight will not interfere as in past years, and also because Earth might encounter a heavier concentration of meteoric debris, astronomers predict, leading to better than normal meteor activity.

Meteor In The Sky Over Southern Austria?

In the southern Austrian province of Carinthia, a "very bright" appearance of light has been observed on 2.35 on Monday, 26. July. According to local astronomers at the observatory in Klagenfurt, the phenomenon was, "with high degree of probability", an unusually large meteor.

Several eyewitnesses claim that the size of the apparition was comparable to the full moon.

The article claims that meteors burning in the atmosphere can be expected to be observed two or three times per year at most. However, the article goes on that on 2.17 (correct time?) another "unusual light apparition" has been seen in the sky. The astronomer of the observatory explains that this was caused by one of the 70 satellites belonging to the telephone system "Iridium", which fly at a height of 300 km above ground and can be "as bright as the street light of a car" when the sun's light is caught on its surface.

Meteor lights up c entral Victorian sky
Last Update: Thursday, July 29, 2004. 8:37am (AEST)

A huge meteor has been seen in the skies over central Victoria.

There have been reports of a big red and blue light streaking over the Castlemaine area just after 1:00am AEST today.

Policewoman Senior Constable Sharon McEachern says she was on patrol duty with a colleague in Maldon when she saw the light in the sky.

She says it was a spectacular sight that lasted about 15 seconds.

"A bright blue light going across the sky...not coming straight down and it just had a large blue tail and a bright red ball and then as it went across it just exploded into pieces, so I'm not sure whether it was a comet, or a meteor, or what it was," she said.

High Quality Meteor Spectrum Caught By Chance
2 August 2004

Astronomers were lucky enough to record the spectrum of a bright meteor when it happened - by sheer chance and against all reasonable odds - to cross the narrow slit of the FORS1 instrument on the ESO Very Large Telescope in Chile.

At the time of this unlikely event, the telescope was performing a series of 20-minute spectroscopic exposures of a supernova in a distant galaxy in order to establish constraints on the dark en ergy content of the Universe. Thanks to its enormous light-collecting and magnifying power, the VLT recorded the spectrum of the meteor trail perpendicular to its path on one of these exposures. "We really hit the jackpot", says ESO astronomer Emmanuel Jehin: "The chances of capturing a meteor in the narrow slit of the FORS1 spectrograph are about as big as for me winning the national lottery."

Meteor spectra have on occasion been obtained serendipitously during photographic star spectra surveys. But this is now perhaps the only meteor spectrum recorded with a large telescope and a modern spectrograph. The spectrum covers the wavelength range from 637 to 1050 nm, which is dominated by emission s from air atoms and molecules in the meteor path and t each us about the collision processes in the wake of a meteoroid.

The rapid motion of the meteor across the sky resulted in a very brief exposure while crossing the narrow spectrograph slit - only 1/50 of a millisecond - and despite the relative brightness of the meteor it was only thanks to the VLT's great light-gathering power that any record was procured. The meteor was estimated at magnitude -8, or nearly as bright as the first-quarter Moon.

Although it is not possible to be sure from which shower this meteor belongs, a possible candidate is the Southern May Ophiuchid shower which appears from a direction just east of the bright star Antares. The shower contributes only one or two meteors per hour but was one of the stronger showers of that night.

Meteorite seen over southern North Island
03 August 2004

A meteorite which streaked across the lower North Island sky in the ea rly hours of this morning is believed to have gone into the sea off the east coast in the southern Wairarapa area.

The police central communications centre said the meteorite had been seen by pilots from several aircraft.

It had been described as quite bright, white and green, breaking up as it crossed the lower North Island, a spokesman said.

Police had received five reports from people who had seen the meteorite from Hawke's Bay to the upper South Island.

National Radio reported pilots had narrowed the landing point of the meteorite to the sea northeast of Cape Palliser in southern Wairarapa.

Sergeant Paul Lee of Masterton police said he had seen a bright orange line in the sky, brighter in the front and fading away towards the back.

"It was a flash in the sky, a definite line."

Fireballs may be from Perseid meteor shower

Fireballs reportedly seen in New Zealand skies early today are thought to possibly be from the Perseid meteor shower. [...]

There was also a report of a meteorite in Waitakere City around 6.35am.

Alan Barlow, a 32-year-old IT worker from Auckland, said he was driving east on Hobsonville Rd when he saw a bright object about the size of a softball cross the sky in front of him.

"It was probably a thousand feet high, and had a tail about 20-feet long that was a bright luminous green."

Mr Barlow said the meteorite was visible for 5-8 seconds, and he presumed it had landed in the Hobsonville air force base.

Cosmic blast is in a class by itself
Bigger than supernova, but smaller than typical gamma-ray burst
By Patricia Reaney
Aug. 4, 2004

A new type of cosmic explosion that occurred late last year could shed light on the death of massive stars, astronomers say.

It was more powerful than supernovae, explosions marking the death of a huge star, but weaker than gamma-ray bursts, the mysterious and most brilliant blasts in the universe.

"I was stunned that my observations ... showed that this event confirmed the existence of a new class of bursts," said Alicia Soderberg, of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif., who reported the finding in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature. "It was like hitting the jackpot."

Scientists had thought all gamma-ray bursts had a standard energy and the same intrinsic brightness until the discovery of the cosmic blast that occurred on Dec. 3, 2003, and is known by its date of birth, GRB 031203.

"With this new event we realize it is not true. There are sub-energetic bursts that are less luminous with fainter emission, which means there is not a standard energy," Soderberg said in an interview. "Perhaps there is some sort of continuum between the two explosions that we didn't realize before."

Closer and weaker
The new blast occurred about 1.6 billion light-years away. A light-year is about 6 trillion miles (10 trillion kilometers), the distance light travels in a year. It was also much closer than other gamma-ray bursts and about a thousand times weaker.

Astronomers do not know what causes gamma-ray bursts. They are thought to occur when stars collapse possibly to become a black hole, or even when two black holes merge.

Such objects are thought to have a huge gravitational pull from which nothing can escape. But just last month, cosmologist Stephen Hawking said he believes some material oozes out of black holes over billions of years through irregularities on their surface.

Past and future bursts

Scientists from the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, in Moscow, who also observed the cosmic blast and reported it in Nature, believe other similar blasts have occurred but have not been detected. In 1998, astronomers reported an extremely faint gamma-ray burst called GRB 980425.

NASA's Swift mission, which is due for launch in autumn and will study gamma-ray bursts, could provide more information about the explosions.

"This is an intriguing discovery," said Shrinivas Kulkarni, a pr ofessor of astronomy and planetary science at the California Institute of Technology and a co-author of one of the reports.

"I expect a treasure trove of such events to be identified by NASA's Swift mission," he said in a statement. "I am convinced that further discoveries and studies of this new class of hybrid events will forward our understanding of the death of massive stars."

Scientists Make Case For Life On The Red Planet

By Charles Arthur
Technology Editor
The Independent - UK
Ten million years ago it was awash with oceans of water. Now it is desert dry. But research published today shows that organic life could still be lurking on Mars.

Scientists will be poring over a slew of papers published by the teams from the US space agency Nasa reporting the results garnered from the two rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, that landed at the beginning of this year and are still exploring oppos ite sides of the Red Planet.

Even bef ore today's formal publication in the journal Science, many scientists were abuzz over the earliest of the findings, which suggested that water once flowed all over the surface, and is now sequestered beneath it, probably still in liquid form. Furthermore the gas methane, normally associated with biological activity, has been detected in the atmosphere.

"Their findings such as sedimentary rocks [which indicate oceanic activity] are very exciting," said Professor Colin Pillinger, of the Open University, who led the team that developed the European Space Agency's Beagle 2 lander.

"And they are also saying that there's methane in the atmosphere there - which must mean a continuous supply, or it would disappear. My preference is that [methane] is generated through a biolo gical supply - even the reprocessing of already-dead biological material by another living source."

For Professor Pillinger the findings lend extra frustration to the loss of the Beagle 2 lander, last heard of heading towards the Martian atmosphere on Christmas Eve. But he declined to express regret: "We'll get there one day," he said. "I wrote a letter to Nasa three weeks ago suggesting a Beagle 3 lander as a stand-alone element to be included with their 2009 Mars Science Laboratory mission. " He has yet to hear back from the agency.

The work represents the most thorough geological examination ever of a planet other than Earth, offering key insights into how its development resembled and departed from that of our own.

The key surprise, said Dr Karl Miller, of the planetary science group at Lancaster University, was the discovery of rock outcrops - which in turn indicated how the planet's surface was eroded. He said: "Most of Mars is covered with a thin veneer of dust, from millions of years of wind erosion. That means you can't see much of what's been going on, geologically speaking."

But seeing an outcrop told scientists what they needed to know: that the rocks were formed by water action, and that huge volumes of water must have flowed over the surface.

"Currently, the surface of Mars is incredibly dry," Dr Miller said. "But we think there's water in the poles, as ice, and underground. It must have been driven to the surface by volcanic activity until relatively recently - about 10 million years ago. That's only 1 per cent of Mars 's lifetime, because it is 4.5 billion years old. If it could happen then, it could happen again."

The deep-lying water had to be liquid, because it would be impossible for a volcano to melt enough ice quickly enough to flood the areas shown to have been affected. "It would require about one million cubic metres per second, which would be devastating on Earth," Dr Miller said.

The plethora of findings has deepened understanding of Mars, and justified the $820m (£510m) cost of the landers - which are still working, having long outlasted their planned mission of 90 Martian days, 92 Earth days. Funding to run the landers runs out at the end of September.

However, Dr Miller said it was still important eventually to send humans to investigate the planet. "A geologist can notice things and react in a way a machine can't," he said. "But right now you can't get humans out there, and robots are becoming extremely impressive - what these ones did wouldn't have been possible a few years ago."

Professor Pillinger cautioned: "I don't think it would be responsible to send people until we're sure that there's life there. And we should be very careful about bringing it back."

SpaceWeather .com
August 9, 2004

Sunspot 649, which unleashed five X-class solar flares in July, has returned, and it's growing again. Witness this 3-day (Aug. 6th - 8th) animation from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory: [Link]

Sunspot 649 is the one on the left. If the active region continues to develop, it could soon pose a renewed threat for strong solar flares.

Sky explosion investigated; airplane blowup ruled out; probably not a UFO

BULLHEAD CITY -- It likely was not a UFO that crashed in the desert east of the city Thursday night, but it also was not an airplane as initially reported to authorities.

Firefighters and law enforcement officers were called to the area of Landon Drive and Highway 68 at about 9 p.m. with a report of an airplane that crashed into the desert.

Bullhead City Fire Marshal Jim Dykens said the reporting party met with authorities and said they saw what appeared to an airplane exploding and crashing in the desert somewhere between the highway and Oatman. It was also reported the explosion was followed by three smaller bursts that appeared to be emergency flares.

With assistance from the Department of Public Safety Ranger helicopter, the Bullhead City Fire Department searched the area from the north and the Oatman Fire Department looked from the south, b ut found nothing.

"The outcome was they really believe that it was a large mortar that was shot off and then some other bottle rockets or other type fireworks," Dykens said.

The peak of Perseid meteor shower is expected in the Arizona skies around Aug. 11 or 12, said Steele Wotkyns, public relations manager at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff

Comment: Note that there is no mention of it being a meteorite, apart from a strange little reference at the end to the Perseids.

Horseflies and Meteors
Huntsville AL (SPX) Aug 11, 2004

Splat There goes another bug on the windshield. Anyone who's ever driven down a country lane has seen it happen. A fast moving car, a cloud of multiplying insects, and a big disgusting mess.

The next time that happens to you, instead of feeling grossed out, try thinking of the experience as an astronomy lesson. Your car is Earth. The bugs are tiny flakes of comet dust. The carnage on your windshield ... it's a meteor shower

Kids love the analogy: Earth, like a speeding car, races around the Sun sweeping up everything in its path. There are no insects in space, but there are plenty of meteoroids, little flakes of dust from comets and asteroids. They hit Earth's atmosphere--splat--and disintegrate as fiery streaks of light called meteors.

Fiery meteor streaks across predawn Monday sky here
Published August 17, 2004
They're called bolides--flaming meteors that race across the sky at tremendous speed and explode. They aren't terribly common. Yet, such a meteor caught the attention of many around 1 a.m. Monday as it st reaked above the Chicago area, initiating a sonic boom. The bolide was observed by an air traffic controller at O'Hare and by the pilots of incoming aircraft, according to FAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory. Ground-based observers called police in Park Ridge, Norridge and Chicago to report the event. Area astronomers suggested the fiery meteor may have been part of the annual Perseids display, which peaked a week ago. But, it may also have been a piece of earthbound space junk or a "sporadic"--a single isolated meteor--added astronomer Dan Joyce, who says bolides can travel at speeds up to 150,000 m.p.h. 50-60 miles above earth, but slow and heat up as they enter the denser lower atmosphere.

NASA Cassini Spacecraft Finds Two New Saturn Moons
17 August 2004

The Cassini spacecraft has discovered two new moons at Saturn that may be the smallest bodies seen so far around the ringed planet, according to a NASA press release.

The moons, provisionally named S/2004 S1 and S/2004 S2, are 3 kilometers and 4 kilometers across and 194,000kilometers and 211,000 kilometers from the planet's center. They are between the orbits of two other saturnian moons, Mimas and Enceladus. The August 16 press release says one moon, S/2004 S1, may be an object spotted in a single image taken by NASA's Voyager spacecraft 23 years ago, at that time called S/1981 S14.

The moons were first spotted by Dr. Sebastien Charnoz, a planetary dynamicist working at the University of Paris. "Discovering these faint satellites was an exciting experience, especially the feeling of being the first person to see a new body of our solar system," Charnoz said. "I had looked for such objects for weeks while at my office in Paris, but it was only once on holiday, using my laptop, that my code eventually detected them. This tells me I should take more holidays."

The smallest previously known moons around Saturn are 20 kilometers across. Scientists expected that moons as small as S/2004 S1 and S/2004 S2 might be found in gaps in the rings and perhaps near the F ring, so they were surpri sed that these small bodies are between two major moons . Small comets careening around the outer solar system would be expected to collide with small moons and break them to bits.

The fact that these moons exist where they do might provide limits on the number of small comets in the outer solar system, a quantity essential for understanding the Kuiper Belt of comets beyond Neptune, and the cratering histories of the moons of the giant planets.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. [...]

Woman hurt in 'meteorite' strike
Wednesday, 18 August, 2004, 10:42 GMT

A woman believes she was struck by a meteorite while hanging out washing.

Pauline Aguss, 76, from Lowestoft, Suffolk, felt a sharp pain in her arm and when she looked down there was a one-inch gash along her forearm .

She blamed a peg bag but the next day husband Jack, 76, spotted a walnut-shaped metallic rock on a garden path.

"We've made inquiries and are pretty certain it was a meteorite fragment. I knew a linen peg bag couldn't have caused a cut like that," he said.

The metallic sheen and shape of the rock gave clues to its true identity.

Mr Aguss said: "It's rusty coloured and you can see a few crystal pieces in it.

'Extremely lucky'

"They mentioned on TV that a meteorite shower was due and that's when I first thought that that is what the piece of rock could be.

"I dread to think what could have happened if it had hit her on the head - she was extremely lucky," he added.

One meteorite makes it through the atmosphere and falls to Earth each week on average, according to David Fagg, secretary of Norfolk Astronomers.

But there is a only one in a billion chance that anyone will be hit by one and there are no records of anyone being struck before, he said.

"This is an extremely rare event. One hit a car in America a few years ago but, as far as anyone knows, that was the closest a meteorite has come to a human," said Mr Fagg.

Scientific tests would have to be carried out on the suspect meteorite before anyone could say for certain that it did fall from the sky, he said.

Meteorites often resembled pieces of rock left over from an industrial smelting process.

Woman hanging out washing 'hit by meteorite' 
By Mark Prigg, Evening Standard
17 August 2004

A woman believes she was hit by a meteorite fragment while hanging out her washing.

Pauline Aguss was in the garden when she felt a searing pain and noticed a cut on her arm . She said: "It looked black and peculiar. I went indoors and put a plaster on."

It was not until the next day that her husband Jack found a walnut-sized rock on the path. Mrs Aguss, 76, of Lowestoft, Suffolk, said: "It was an odd shape and you could see a few small crystals in it.

"That is when we realised it might have been a meteorite and now, after talking to people who know about these things, we are 99 per cent certain." The odds against being hit by a meteorite are billions to one. On average one a week falls to earth but most are burned up as they enter the atmosphere at 40,000mph.

Norfolk Astronomical Society chairman Mark Lawrick-Thompson said: "There is a good chance this is a meteorite. It is very rare indeed to find one."

Comment: Note the "billions to one" comment which has become standard in reports of meteorite sightings or impacts. The real problem is that no one seems to be chronicling these events and looking at them in terms of frequency. Over the past year and half there have been literally dozens of meteorite sightings and impacts, and now someone has actually been hit by one - we mean, what are the odds? While, until now, the chances may have been in the "billions to one", the evidence suggests that those odds are slimming fast.

Neptune's new moons 'irregular,' astronomers say
Last Updated Wed, 18 Aug 2004 21:28:30 EDT

LONDON - An international team of astronomers has described five new moons around Neptune.

The satellites may be captured asteroids, the researchers say in T hursday's issue of the journal Nature.

Planetary scientist J.J. Kavelaars of the National Research Council of Canada in Victoria, B.C., and his colleagues first announced the discovery in 2003.

Now the researchers have described the orbit of the five outer satellites.

Scientists say the moons orbiting giant planets fall into two classes:

* Large moons, orbiting close to the parent planet and in a prograde manner, meaning they follow the rotational direction of the planet.

* Irregular, often small mo ons, distant from the planet and orbiting in inclined, eccentric and often retrograde or opposite direction to the planet.

Neptune's largest moon, Triton, was discovered in 1846 and is as large as Pluto. Titan follows a retrograde orbit.

Nereid, discovered in 1949, is small with an eccentric orbit.

The Voyageur 2 spacecraft identified six more tiny moons in 1989. Since then, moons were found orbiting other giant planets, but the absence of discoveries for Neptune had led scientists to theorize Triton's violent capture destroyed the planet's outer satellite system.

The addition of five new moons of Neptune may cause scientists to cast aside the theory.

"Here we report the discovery of five irregular moons of Neptune, two with prograde and three with retrograde orbits," the researchers wrote. "These exceedingly faint ... moons, with diameters of 30 to 50 km, were presumably captured by Neptune."

The researchers theorize the moons may have formed from collisions.

The team said the next step is to study the colour of the faint satellites and look for more satellites to determine the origin of the moons.

Comment: First it was two new "moons" around Saturn, and now five around Neptune...

Antarctic craters reveal asteroid str ike
Paul Brown
Thursday August 19, 2004
The Guardian

Scientists using satellites have mapped huge craters under the Antarctic ice sheet caused by an asteroid as big as the one believed to have wiped out the dinosaurs 65m years ago.

Professor Frans van der Hoeven, from Delft University in the Netherlands, told the conference that the evidence showed that an asteroid measuring between three and seven miles across had broken up in the atmosphere and f ive large pieces had hit the Earth, creating multiple craters over an area measuring 1,300 by 2,400 miles.

The effect would have been to melt all the ice in the path of the pieces, as well as the crust underneath. The biggest single strike caused a hole in the ice sheet roughly 200 by 200 miles, which would have melted about 1% of the ice sheet, raising water levels worldwide by 60cm (2ft).

But the climatic conditions were different at the time of the strike - about 780,000 years ago - from when the asteroid that is believed to have wiped out the dinosaurs struck Yucatan in Mexico.

That impact created dust storms and fires that, by blocking o ut the sun, cooled the Earth's atmosphere so much that the dinosaurs could not survive. The Antarctica strike occurred during an ice age, so even tidal waves would have been weakened to mere ripples by the calming effect of icebergs on the ocean.

Prof Van der Hoeven first realised that there may have been a giant asteroid strike in the Antarctic while on an expedition across the continent in 1960 when he noticed severe anomalies in the gravity from the rocks below, indicating a crater. By coincidence another scientist had concluded that a giant event must have occurred around 780,000 years ago somewhere in the southern hemisphere, probably Antarctica.

But it was not until this year, when two satellites operating above Antarctica began to map the anomalies in the gravity, that the scale of the crater emerged. The mapping showed that the holes in the rock created by the strike had refilled with a mixture of ice, rock and other debris far less dense. This material, called breccia, shows where and how deep the craters are.

Prof Van der Hoeven said: "The extraordinary thing about this meteor strike is that it appeared to do so little damage. Unlike the dinosaur strike there is no telltale layer of dust that demonstrates the history of the event. It may have damaged things and wiped out species but there is no sign of it."

One thing that did happe n at exactly the same time was the reversing of the Earth's magnetic field. There is no other explanation as to why this took place and Prof Van der Hoeven believes it was caused by the impact.

Mystery rocks may be meteorites
Saturday, August 21, 2004

A few mysterious rocks were found on Tuesday at a resident’s home in Turlock. Home owner’s Albert and Lisa Darmousseh believe that the rock fell from the sky. The couple thinks the fist-sized rocks are meteorites, possibly from Mars, but it has not been confirmed the small boulders are anything other than ordinary rocks.

Many people were watching the Olympics on Monday night, including the Darmoussehs, until Lisa was disrupted by a loud noise that she described as a thump.

“I thought a tree fell in my backyard because the noise was so loud so I went outside and didn’t see anything. The n ext day I went in the backyard to walk my dog and disco vered the first meteor. At first I thought it was left over from my dog but then I noticed it was smoking, Lisa Darmousseh said.

“I was not expecting this at all. I am very excited and I feel lucky that it happened here. Something like this to happen to us is amazing, Albert Darmousseh said. At first I was shocked and didn’t know what it was. I never saw anything like it. I thought it was a mushroom or poop but then I saw that is was smoking and when I picked it up, it was hot so then I thought maybe it came from the sky.”

Comment: Damn meteorites. They're popping up all over the place these days. They're gonna give the game away. Fortunately, the sheeple have faith in their leaders. There are millions of Americans who think Bush wouldn't lie to them

Till next time, keep the faith, baby


Asteroid shaves past Earth's atmosphere
13:59 23 August 04
NewScientist.com news service

The closest observed asteroid yet to skim past the Earth without hitting the atmosphere, was reported by astronomers on Sunday.

The previously unknown object, spanning five to 10 metres across, has been named 2004 FU162. It streaked across the sky just 6500 kilometres - roughly the radius of the Earth - ab ove the ground on 31 March, although details have only now emerged.

The MIT Lincoln Laboratory's asteroid-hunting LINEAR telescope in Socorro, New Mexico,US, observed the new object four times over a 44-minute period, several hours before its closest approach in March.

Lincoln astronomers, who have discovered over 40,000 asteroids and comets since 1980, quickly recognised the object came exceptionally close, and posted their findings for confirmation on a web page run by the Minor Planet Center at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

However, by the time it was posted the object had moved into the daytime sky, so follow-up observations were impossible and the listing was quickly removed. A search for prior observations yielded no results.

Comment: Curious that details about this close fly-by are only emerging now. Have you noticed that meteors, meteorites, and other things that go boom from the sky are in the news in many different ways?

Jupiter's comet impact leaves mystery
By Robert Roy Britt
Monday, August 23, 2004

(SPACE.com) -- Jupiter's atmosphere still contains remnants of a comet impact from a decade ago, but scientists said last week they are puzzled by how two substances have spread into different locations.

The new study also discovered two previously undetected chemicals in Jupiter's air.

Grasping what chemical compounds are in and above the Jovian clouds and how they move about could help scientists understand planets outside our solar system, too, said the researchers who produced the work.

From July 16 through July 22, 1994, more than 20 fragments of Comet P/Shoemaker-Levy 9 collided with the gaseous planet, all coming in at about the same latitude, 45 degrees south. Fragments up to 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) sent plumes of hot gas into the Jovian atmosphere. Dark scars lasted for weeks.

Shocks created by the impacts led to high-temperature chemical reactions that produced hydrogen cyanide, which remains in the air but has been spread around a bit in the years since. The comet also delivered carbon monoxide and water, which through an interaction with sunlight, scientists suspect, was converted to carbon dioxide.

The Cassini spacecraft, now at Saturn, examined Jupiter as it swung by. The new study draws on infrared data from Cassini collected in 2000 and 2001.

The hydrogen cyanide has diffused some both north and south, mixed by wave activity, explained Michael Flasar of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. Jupi ter's cloud bands carry material around the planet swif tly, but the bands do not mix easily. Not surprisingly, hydrogen cyanide is most abundant in a belt at the latitude where the comet was absorbed. At five degrees of latitude change in both directions, its presence drops off sharply.

The highest concentration of carbon dioxide, however, has shifted away from the latitude of the impact. It is most prevalent poleward of 60 degrees south and decreases abruptly, toward the equator, north of 50 degrees south. Another smaller spike in its presence occurs at high northern latitudes, around 70 to 90 degrees north.

Perhaps the two chemicals got distributed at different altitudes, and are being moved around by different currents, Flasar said. Or maybe the formation of the carbon dioxide was more complex than thought. He said it might have involved carbon monoxide first moving away from the impact area and then interacting with other substances at higher latitudes before being converted to carbon dioxide.

"At high latitudes, precipitation of energetic oxygen ions probably occurs, associated with Jupiter's magnetically induced lights, known as aurora," Flasar explained. "These energetic ions could react with Jupiter's atmosphere to produce hydroxyl, which can oxidize carbon monoxide to produce carbon dioxide."

If all that sounds complicated, you're not alone in wondering what's going on.

"We're scratching our heads, and we need to work through these, and perhaps other, scenarios," said Flasar, who is principal investigator for Cassini's Composite Infrared Spectrometer.

The study, led by Virgil G. Kunde of the University of Maryland, was published Thursday in the online version of the journal Science.

The work also uncovered two new compounds, diacetylene and a so-called methyl radical, which are products of the breakup of methane by ultraviolet radiation from the sun. These were expected but had not been observed at Jupiter before.

So far as astronomers know, the more than 100 giant planets found outside our solar system might be something like Jupiter. Only one has had its atmosphere probed. Better knowledge of the substances in Jupiter, and how things move around, should help set the stage for grasping the formation and evolution of gaseous extrasolar planets, the researchers say.

"An understanding of the processes governing the composition and distribution of chemical species in Jupiter's atmosphere is required to successfully understand the chemical composition of extrasolar planets," they write in the journal.

Well-preserved layer of material ejected from Chesapeake Bay meteor-strike discovered

People in Georgia's Dodge and Bleckley counties have for years picked up small pieces of natural glass called "Georgiaites," which were produced by an unknown asteroid or comet impact millions of years ago. Just where these small, translucent green objects came from, however, was unclear.

Now researchers at the University of Georgia, studying a kaolin mine in Warren County, have found a layer of tiny grains, which indicate that the grains and the Georgiaites were products of a recently discovered impact that left a huge crater beneath the waters of the Chesapeake Bay. "We knew we had these tektites here, but we'd never found them in place," said Michael Roden, a geologist and part of the research team. "We believe this layer is further evidence that the Chesapeake Bay impact was an enormous event with widespread consequences."

The research was published in the August issue of the journal Geology.

The work was spearheaded by UGA g raduate student Scott Harris (now with Brown University) in collaboration with Roden, Paul Schroeder and Steven Holland of UGA, Ed Albin of Fernbank and Mack Duncan of J.M. Huber Corporation.

Tektites are brown to green glassy objects, generally small and rounded, and thought to be of extraterrestrial origin. The only other state in the United States where tektites have been found in abundance is Texas. Some 1,700 have been found in Georgia to date, and potassium-argon geochronology has dated them to around 35 million years of age.

The Chesapeake Bay impact crater was only discovered about a decade ago, but before the current discovery, there was no known dep osition layer from it extant, and it was unclear whether Georgiaites were the result of the cataclysmic collision of the Chesapeake Bay bolide with the Earth. ("Bolide" is a generic term for an impacting body.)

The now-unused kaolin mine in Warren County where the discovery was made was near the sea's edge in ancient times. This former shore, now across the central part of Georgia, is more or less coincident with the Fall Line, and marks the place where ancient seas lapped the land. The impact in the Chesapeake Bay clearly caused a huge amount of material, both from the Earth and the asteroid, to become airborne, and the layer -- discovered at a depth of 25 feet in the kaolin mine -- was probably laid d own by the event.

It was an active time: In the period between 34 million and 37 million years ago, at least five comets and/or asteroids collided with the Earth. Since some of the events may have caused climate alterations and caused at least regional disruptions of ecosystems, knowing more about the ejecta from the impacts is important.

The layer reported in Geology is perhaps the most easily accessible, undisturbed layer of materials that probably came from the Chesapeake Bay impact and can therefore add knowledge about that event. The search for the layer, led by Harris, led to the discovery of so-called shocked quartz -- grains whose physical "thumbprint" mark them as having originated from the extremely high pressures characteristic of an impact event.

Just how big the explosion was when this celestial visitor hit the Earth is unclear, but Roden said it was many times bigger than such events as the explosions of Mt. St. Helen's or even Krakatoa.

Impact of giant meteor felt in Georgia
Associated Press

ATLANTA - A layer of quartz grains found in an east Georgia kaolin mine have been traced to the impact of a giant asteroid that crashed near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay 35 million years ago.

The 54-mile-wide crater left by the meteor, the sixth-largest in the world, has previously been identified as the source of a rare mineral called Georgiaite. Small, glassy, olive-green beads of it have been found for decades in more than a dozen middle Georgia counties.

They are a type of impact-produced natural glass called tektite.

Ed Albin, a tektite expert at Fernbank Science Center in Atlanta, steered research into the substance toward the open kaolin mines that dot the center of the state. Sandwiched between layers of clay in an abandoned kaolin mine in Warren County, a team of researchers headed by University of Georgia graduate student Scott Harris, found traces of the impact.

Microscopic analysis, reported in the curren t issue of the journal Geology, revealed a 3-inch-thick layer of "shocked quartz" - a form of the mineral produced only under intense pressure like that of an impact - that dated to 35.5 million years ago, when a space rock slammed into the Earth about 120 miles southeast of present-day Washington.

The asteroid, believed to be about two miles wide, was traveling at tens of thousands of miles an hour when it struck on what is now the Chesapeake's Eastern Shore.

Scientists estimate that the debris from the blast rose more than 30 miles into the air, spreading melted bits of sand and sediment - including Georgia's tektites and the newly discovered layer of sho cked quartz - for thousands of miles.

Although the Warren County discovery is the first known deposit of its kind, scientists say the diagnostic layer of glassy quartz grains - which probably blanketed much of the East Coast - could, with the discovery of deposits in other locations, become a valuable yardstick for geologic measurement.

Comment: If time loops are a real possibility, it makes you wonder about the possibility of a meteor strike close to Washington. Wonder what the president was like 35.5 million year s ago?

Meteor sighting resembles fireworks display
Thursday, August 26, 2004. 10:26am (AEST)

There were reports of a meteor in the skies over central and southern New South Wales and Victoria last night.>

Police stations from the New South Wales central coast to Shepparton in Victoria received calls about the object.

Sergeant Joe Fitzpatrick from Goulburn Police saw the object at 11.30pm AEST while on patrol.

"To the north of the town, I saw a very bright light in the sky - similar to a very large flare. It just illuminated the entire sky for a very brief time and disappeared," he said.

Sergeant Fitzpatrick says it looked like a fireworks display.

"Well it had a slight tail.. .it was like a skyrocket, but extremely large."

Comment: Yup. Another one. Must just be a late Perseid, right? Nothing to worry about, after all, it was in Australia. Don't want to hurt no kangaroo, but better it fall there than some place really important. Heck, they're all descendents of criminals, right?

Space junk lights up skies
By Amy Coopes
August 26, 2004

IT may have caused a stir on earth, but a bright light over south-western NSW last night was not a meteor, an astronomer said today.

Police stations from Mount Druitt to Goulburn received dozens of phone calls reporting an extremely bright light and two explosions about 11.3 0pm (AEST) yesterday.

Goulburn police sergeant Joe Fitzpatrick was on patrol in his police car when he saw an intense light in the sky to the north-west.

"It was a bluey-green colour ... certainly bright enough to attract the attention of all those around me," Sgt Fitzpatrick said.

The moving light brightened for several seconds and then burned out, he said.

"When I first saw it I thought it was a firework or a flare. I'd compare it to the PolAir helicopter turning its light on," he said.

The light was most likely caused by nothing more than space junk burning up, said astronomer Vince Ford, from Canberra's Mount Stromlo Observatory.

"Sounds like a bit of space junk, a piece of old rocket casing or a fuel cell," Mr Ford said.

"My best guess: a small bit of aluminium rocket casing, causing an extremely bright blue-green light as it burned (out)."

He said the metal was unlikely to have made a sound entering the atmosphere 30km above Earth.

With tens of thousands of pieces of discarded shuttle materials congesting earth's atmosphere such sightings were becoming more frequent, Mr Ford said.

"What many people believe to be shooting stars are actually stray nuts and bolts burning up on re-entry," he said.

Although up to 10 meteors were visible in an hour in a dark sky, spotting a piece of space junk as large as last night's sighting was still reasonably rare, he said.

Comment from a reader: This second published report on the sightings in south eastern Australia seems to be an odd one. Firstly it says witnesses reported their sighting with an extremely bright light and two explosions about 11-30pm Wed, 25th, and further down quotes an astronomer on the government payroll in Canberra saying it was most likely space junk who then says that metal was unlikely to make a sound from 30km above the earth after he already said "it sounds like a bit of space junk". Odd dismissal especially after witnesses reporting "two explosions". Gosh, isn't it reassuring to have a government astronomer's final word on the matter. "not a meteor".

To which we add, yesterday they said it was part of a minor meteor show er. Nothing to get worked up about. Today it isn't even that. Back to sleep, people. There is nothing to worry about. You've already forgotten about Vesuvius and earthquakes in Europe and Tokyo. After all, they're all at least 50 years away

Strange Doings on Tunguska
Thursday, Aug. 26, 2004

Amazingly, some people still believe the devastating Siberian event was caused by space aliens

Thursday, Aug. 26, 2004

If any people are more gullible about Unidentified Flying Objects than Americans, it's the Russians. And if any group of professionals is more gullible than Russians about UFOs, it's the journalists. This truism was confirmed again this month when, around the world, wire services and other press outlets straight-facedly reported a new claim that a UFO had been involved in the great Tunguska catastrophe.

Tunguska? T hat's the then-uninhabited region in Siberia where in 1908 a mammoth explosion leveled and charred trees and killed wildlife over an area of 800 square miles. That night in northern Europe and western Russia, the skies glowed with an eerie light and in London, for example, it was light enough outside to read a newspaper. The lone human being in the area, a trapper living near the periphery of the blast, was blown off the porch of his shack, but survived. Had the explosion occurred over London, say, or New York, the casualties would have been counted in the hundreds of thousands.

Most scientists today believe that the Tunguska event was caused by an asteroid or a comet that heated so rapidly upon plunging into the atmosphere that it blew up some five miles above the surface with an explosive force of 10 to 15 megatons. But that conclusion is far too rational for Russians like scientist Yuri Lavbin, who heads the Tunguska Space Phenomenon public state fund. It was Lavbin who in July announced that he would lead an expedition to Siberia and stated, "We intend to find proof that not a meteorite but an extraterrestrial spaceship crashed with the Earth."

Some might suggest that Lavbin was predisposed to making a remarkable discovery. And that is precisely what happened. A Russian scientific team headed by Lavbin scoured the Tunguska site early in August and breathlessly announced that it had found the remnants of an extraterrestrial spacecraft, in the form of a large metallic block. After sending a 50 kilogram chunk of the block to a laboratory for testing, Lavbin chose not to await the results. "I can make an official announcement that we were saved by some forces of a superior civilization," he proclaimed. "They exploded this enormous meteorite headed toward us with tremendous speed. Now this great object that caused the meteorite to explode is found at last."

His announcement was greeted by loud raspberries from reputable scientists. Interviewed by Space.com, British researcher Benny Peiser, who runs the CCNet website, a scholarly forum devoted largely to asteroid impacts and other potential natural threats, called the Russian report "a rather stupid hoax." He was equally critical of the press: "It's a rather sad comment on the current state of anything-goes attitudes among some science correspondents that such blatant rubbish is being reported."

All this came as no surprise to science writer James Oberg. In his 1982 book, "UFOs and Outer Space Mysteries," he had traced the origins of the Russian Tunguska UFO obsession to a science fiction writer named Kazantsev, who wrote a story attributing the mighty blast to an exploding nuclear power plant of a spaceship from Mars. Other Russians took the bait. Astronomy lecturer Feliks Zigel, who was also a flying saucer enthusiast, became a spokesman for the "spaceship" theory of Tunguska, and a scientist named Aleksey Zolotov, be gan claiming, almost annually but without proof, that h e had found radioactivity at the blast site.

Oberg predicted that the Tunguska spacecraft story, in various forms, would endure and that gullible members of the press would continue to be hoodwinked by Russian UFOlogists. More than two decades later, his prediction stands unchallenged.

Comment: This little article is quite interesting in that it reminds us of a remark made by Charles Fort as follows:

There's a wretch of an ultra-frowsy thing in the Scientific American, 7-298, which we cond emn ourselves, if somewhere, because of the oneness of allness, the damned must also be the damning. It's a newspaper story: that on June 5, 1852, a powerful blast, in Dorchester, Massachusetts, cast out from a bed of solid rock a bell-shaped vessel of an unknown metal: floral designs inlaid with silver; "art of some cunning workman." The opinion of the Editor of the Scientific American is that the thing had been made by Tubal Cain, who was the first inhabitant of Dorchester. Though I fear that this is a little arbitrary, I am not disposed to fly rabidly at every scientific opinion.

We are not disposed to fly rabidly at the scientific opinion expressed in this piece for the simple reason that we, too, are convinced that the Tunguska explosion was "caused by an asteroid or a comet that heated so rapidly upon plunging into the atmosphere that it blew up some five miles above the surface with an explosive force of 10 to 15 megatons."

In fact, we are rather convinced that such events have happened at many points in the history of the earth. Laura Knight-Jadczyk has written in her book, The Secret History of the World:

On the outskirts of Brno, Moravia, there is a quarry where workers uncovered the bones of a wooly mammoth. There, in the quarry, was discovered a 160 foot deep sequence of multiple soil cycles. Each climate cycle from warm to cold was expressed as a sequence of gradational soil types reflecting the change from a moist, deciduous forest to an arid, frozen tundra, cracked by deeply penetrating permafrost. Midway through each cycle, there are numerous bands of fine windblown dust delivered in what must have been monstrous storms of continental scale. Expert speculations suggest that this dust must have shrouded the earth for weeks or months at a time and must have produced a refrigerating effect on Europe's climate. In the colder part of each cycle, the environment had become so dry that even large rivers dried up.

It seems that the ice sheets that repeatedly advanced southward were accompanied by the development of vast, but temporary deserts thr oughout Russia and Ukraine, even extending into southeast Europe and to the shores of the Black Sea. Every passage back from freezing cold to warm was abrupt in every cycle.

Oceanographers from Turkey, Russia, Bulgaria and the United States teamed up to explore the Black Sea. Using sound waves and coring devices, they discovered that the Black Sea was once a vast freshwater lake. Glenn Jones of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution dated the samples from the bottom of the Black Sea and confirmed that around 7,500 years ago, the seas had burst through the Bosporus valley and the salt water of the Mediterranean poured into the lake with unimaginable force. What was evident was that it had happened suddenly and almost instantaneously. What was also noted was that the massive amounts of salt water pouring into the Black Sea had been deficient in Oxygen.

While searching for the answers to this mysterious event, cores of coral were drilled from the ocean in order to determine the rates of growth on a year by year basis going back 20 thousand years. Apparently, ice melt affects the rate of coral growth. The results of these cores showed that there was a huge spurt of ice-melt around 12,000 years ago. The meltwater from this event was enormous. It filled up dozens of lakes that no longer exist - lakes formed by the sag in the Earth's crust caused by the weight of the huge ice dome. Immediately following this melt, the ice age returned for a brief period called the Younger Dryas. [...]

Otto Muck's book - The Secret of Atlantis - is based on his ideas about the causal relationship between isotherms and favorable climate in northwestern Europe, and the unobstructed flow of the Gulf Stream across the Atlantic. Muck attempts to use this flow to make a case for the prior existence of a large body of land in the Atlantic whose subsidence changed the ocean currents and warmed the British Isles about 10,500 years ago, give or take a day or two. Based on a varied and interesting collection of hard data, Muck suggests that the submarine massif of the Azores was once above water and could have blocked and deflected the Gulf Stream, preventing the circulation of the warmer waters, and thus contributing to the freezing temp eratures of the British Isles. Muck writes:

If we then date the transition from the Quaternary to the Quinternary Age at 12,000 years ago, or around 10,000 BC, we are doing so on the authority of contemporary geologists and paleontologists. We are at the same time fixing the date when Barrier Island X, which had hitherto prevented the Gulf Stream from reaching the coasts of Europe, sank beneath the Atlantic ... a point in time ... when the warm water and rain-bearing winds brought by the Gulf Stream were no longer deflected back to the west by the Atlantic island barrier, but flowed freely eastward because the barrier had sunk beneath the waves. We have uncovered the traces of the greatest cataclysm on Earth that has been experienced by man. For there can be no doubt that this catastrophe of 12,000 years ago is the most terrible event that has ever taken place in all the dramatic history of mankind.

Essentially, what Muck did was to note that the geologically recorded isotherms moved significantly at this point in time. I still think his book is one of the better ones on the subject because he assembles a lot of interesting hard data, even if I don't necessarily agree that there was a big island that "sank beneath the Atlantic." There are other solutions to the problem of the isotherms including current day research showing that this can result from global warming. While we don't deny that it's possible for such severe lithosphe re disruption as Muck suggests to occur, and we aren't playing soft with the idea of mass destruction of species, it just seems that an event that would produce the sinking of so vast a body of land so completely would be an event from which absolutely nothing on the earth would survive.

Nevertheless, Otto Muck draws our attention to the meteor craters in the Carolinas. The Carolina bays are mysterious land features often filled with bay trees and other wetland vegetation. Because of their oval shape and consistent orientation, they are considered by some authorities to be the result of a vast meteor showe r that occurred approximately 12,000 thousand years ago . What is most astonishing is the number of them. There are over 500,000 of these shallow basins dotting the coastal plain from Georgia to Delaware. That is a frightening figure.

Unlike virtually any other bodies of water or changes in elevation, these topographical features follow a reliable and unmistakable pattern. Carolina Bays are circular, typically stretched, elliptical depressions in the ground, oriented along their long axis from the Northwest to the Southeast. [T]hey are further characterized by an elevated rim of fine sand surrounding the perimeter. [...]

The last twenty years have seen an explosion of evidence that earth has often encountered objects that profoundly alter our environment. For instance, it is now commonly accepted that an impact with a large object in the Gulf of Mexico caused the extinction of large dinosaurs - a theory considered bizarre and irresponsible at the time Kacrowski studied the Bays.

Robert Kobres, an independent researcher in Athens, Georgia, has studied Carolina Bays for nearly 20 years in conjunction with his larger interest in impact threats from space. His recent, self-published, investigations have profound consequences for Carolina Bay study and demand research by academia as serious, relevant and previously unexamined new information. The essence of Kobres' theory is that the search for "debris," and the comparison of Bays with "traditional" impact craters, falsely and naively assumes that circular craters with extraterrestrial material in them are the only terrestrial evidence of past encounters with objects entering earth's atmosphere.

Kobres goes a logical step further by assuming that forces associated with incoming bodies, principally intense heat, should also leave visible signatures on the earth. And, finally, that physics does not demand that a "collision" of the bodies need necessarily occur to produce enormous change on earth. To verify that such encounters are possible outside of the physics lab, we need l ook no further than the so-called "Tunguska event."

On June 30, 1908, in the vicinity of the Tunguska River deep in Siberia, a tremendous explosion instantly leveled 2000 sq. km. of tundra, felling trees by the millions, all left pointing outward from a central area. News accounts of the day told of Londoners being able to read newspapers from the glow of the night sky for days afterward. Seismographs worldwide recorded an apparent cataclysm in Siberia. Unfortunately (or fortunately as the case may be) the explosion had occurred in an area so remote, and during a time of such political turmoil, that no researcher pinpoi nted or even managed to travel to the suspected impac t site for more than two decades. Not until pioneer Russian meteoritic researcher Leonard Kulik managed to gain entry to the inhospitable area in 1927, did anyone but local tribesmen view the devastation and its peculiar nature.

At the epicenter of the explosion lay not a large crater with a "rock" in it, as might be expected, but nothing more than a number of "neat oval bogs." The Tunguska literature generally mentions the bogs only in passing, since Kulik failed in digs there to locate any evidence of a meteorite and went on to examine other aspects of the explosion. [George A. Howard, The Carolina Bays] [.. .]

Tunguska site viewed from the air in 1933.

The most widely used method for determining the age of fossils is to date them by the "known age" of the rock strata in which they are found. At the same time, the most widely used method for determining the age of the rock strata is to date them by the "known age" of the fossils they contain. In this "circular dating" method, all ages are based on uniformitarian assumptions about the date and order in which fossilized plants and animals are believed to have evolved. Most people are surprised to learn that there is, in fact, no way to directly determine the age of any fossil or rock. The so called "absolute" methods of dating (radiometric methods) actually only measure the present ratios of radioactive isotopes and their decay products in suitable specimens - not their age. These measured ratios are then extrapolated to an "age" determination. The problem with all radiometric "clocks" is that their accuracy critically depends on several starting assumptions, which are largely unknowable. To date a specimen by radiometric means, one must first know the starting amount of the parent isotope at the beginning of the specimen's existence. Second, one must be certain that there were no daughter isotopes in the beginning. Third, one must be certain that neither parent nor daughter isotopes have ever been added or removed from the specimen. Fourth, one must be certain that the decay rate of parent isotope to daughter isotope has always been the same. That one or more of these assumptions are often invalid is obvious from the published radiometric "dates" (to say nothing of "rejected" dates) found in the lite rature.

One of the most obvious problems is that several samples from the same location often give widely divergent ages. Apollo moon samples, for example, were dated by both uranium-thorium-lead and potassium-argon methods, giving results, which varied from 2 million to 28 billion years. Lava flows from volcanoes on the north rim of the Grand Canyon (which erupted after its formation) show potassium-argon dates a billion years "older" than the most ancient basement rocks at the bottom of the canyon. Lava from underwater volcanoes near Hawaii (that are known to have erupted in 1801 AD) has been "dated" by the potassium-argon method with results varying from 160 million to nearly 3 billion years. It's really no wonder that all of the laboratories that "da te" rocks insist on knowing in advance the "evolutionary age" of the strata from which the samples were taken -- this way, they know which dates to accept as "reasonable" and which to ignore.

More precisely, it is based on the assumption that nothing "really exceptional" happened in the meantime. What I mean by "really exceptional" is this: an event theoretically possible, but whose mechanism is not yet understood in terms of the established paradigms. To give an example: a crossing of two different universes. This is theoretically possible, taking into account modern physical theories, but it is too speculative to discuss its "probability" and possible conse quences.

Could such an event change radioactive decay data? Could it change the values of some fundamental physical constants? Yes, it could.

Is it possible that similar events have happened in the past? Yes, it is possible. How possible it is? We do not know. We do not know, in fact, what would be an exact meaning of "crossing of two different universes." In addition to considering the idea of cataclysms that could have destroyed ancient civilizations more than once, there is another matter to consider in special relationship to radioactive decay: that ancient civilizations may have destroyed themselves with nuclear war.

Radiocarbon dates for Pleistocene remains in northeastern North America, according to scientists Richard Firestone of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and William Topping, (Terrestrial Evidence of a Nuclear Catastrophe in Paleo-Indian Times):

are younger-as much as 10,000 years younger- than for those in the western part of the country. Dating by other methods like thermo-luminescence (TL), geoarchaeology, and sedimentation suggests that many radiocarbon dates are grossly in error. For example, materials from the Gainey Paleoindian site in Michigan, radiocarbon dated at 2880 yr BC, are given an age by TL dat ing of 12,400 BC. It seems that there are so many ano malies reported in the upper US and in Canada of this type, that they cannot be explained by ancient aberrations in the atmosphere or other radiocarbon reservoirs, or by contamination of data samples (a common source of error in radiocarbon dating). Assuming correct methods of radiocarbon dating are used, organic remains associated with an artifact will give a radiocarbon age younger than they actually are only if they contain an artificially high radiocarbon keel. Our research indicates that the entire Great Lakes region (and beyond) was subjected to particle bombardment and a catastrophic nuclear irradiation that produced secondary thermal neutrons from cosmic ray interactions. The neutrons produced unusually large quantities of Pu239 and substantially altered the natural uranium abundance rations in artifacts and in other exposed materials including cherts41, sediments, and the entire landscape. These neutrons necessarily transmuted residual nitrogen in the dated charcoals to radiocarbon, thus explaining anomalous dates. [...]

The C14 level in the fossil record would reset to a higher value. The excess global radiocarbon would then decay with a half-life of 5730 years, which should be seen in the radiocarbon analysis of varied systems. [...]

Sharp increases in C14 are apparent in the marine data at 4,000, 32,000-34,000, and 12,500 BC. These increases are coincident with geomagnetic ex cursions. [...]

The enormous energy released by the catastrophe at 12,500 BC could have heated the atmosphere to over 1000 C over Michigan, and the neutron flux at more northern locations would have melted considerable glacial ice. Radiation effects on plants and animals exposed to the cosmic rays would have been lethal, comparable to being irradiated in a 5 megawatt reactor more than 100 seconds.

The overall pattern of the catastrophe matches the pattern of mass extinction before Holocene times. The Western Hemisphere was more affected than the Eastern, North America more than South America, and eastern North America more than western North America. Extinction in the Great lakes area w as more rapid and pronounced than elsewhere. Larger animals were more affected than smaller ones, a pattern that conforms to the expectation that radiation exposure affects large bodies more than smaller ones.

The evidence that Firestone and Topping discovered is puzzling for a lot of reasons. But, the fact is, there are reports of similar evidence from such widely spread regions as India, Ireland, Scotland, France, and Turkey; ancient cities whose brick and stone walls have literally been vitrified, that is, fused together like glass. There is also evidence of vitrification of stone forts and cities. It seems that the only explanation for such anomalies is either an atomic blast or something tha t could produce similar effects...[...]

Firestone and Topping propose that this evidence of nuclear radiation is a result of "cosmic ray bombardment" from, perhaps, a supernova. D.S. Allan, a biologist at Cambridge, and J. B. Delair, coauthor of Cataclysm, published in 1995 in the U.K, also like the supernova hypothesis. Evidence of a supernova explosion, in the form of aluminium 22 (along with other scientific and mythological evidence), found in concentration at the edge of our solar system, helped Allan and Delair conclude that a stellar blast probably caused the massive destruction. Iron ore in the earth from about 11,000 years ago shows that its magnetic polarity violently reversed. This certainly suggests an extraterrestrial encounter with a magnetically po werful agent at that period. The supernova explanation, however, does not account for all the evidence, most particularly the mythic and geological evidence of massive bombardments of comets.

Dr. Paul LaViolette, author of Earth Under Fire, claims that he has discovered evidence of a different sort of cataclysm, a volley of cosmic waves resulting from an explosion in the galactic core. Entering our solar system, this galactic super wave (the most powerful energetic phenomenon in the galaxy) would have interrupted the solar wind's ability to repel most intruding cosmic dust particles.

LaViolette builds a mythological foundation for his scientific theory, the shakiest part of which is that he suggests that galactic core explosions are a cyclical event, recurring every 26,000-year cycles, a period that relates to the precession of the equinoxes. He claims that this is a great clock, and that the precessional cycle is the duration of one Great Year recognized by the ancient Greeks, Zoroastrians, and Chinese. La Violette's theory is weak because galactic core explosions, like other nuclear phenomena, are only statistically probable. Further, the record shows a frequency greater than every 26,000 years, and his attempts to introduce "mini-explosions" to account for this come across as so much prestidigitation of the data. Also his theory does not account for all of the evidence, most particularly the geological evidence of massive bombardments of cometary bodies. What is more, La Violette's claim that the p recessional cycle is the "great clock," assumes that the current polar orientation has remained stable for eons, and the very mythic evidence he tries to use as his foundation contradicts this[...]

In all of this searching high and low for Atlantis, and comparing the paleontogical records and geological records and archaeological records with the story of Plato, the one major thing that everybody seems to be forgetting is this: Plato's tale was about a war followed by cataclysm.

According to Plato's story, Atlantis was the center of a country of extreme economic wealth and military power that sought to enslave all of Europe. The Atlanteans were quite successful in defeating ma ny European countries; however, the great civilization of Athens repelled their attacks and eventually succeeded in driving them back out of Europe. Unfortunately, almost all records of this great achievement were lost due to a very powerful flood that wiped out most of Athens and the whole continent of Atlantis in one day and one night. Over and over again, what we see is the fact that something terrible happened on the earth around 12,000 years ago. This time period comes up over and over again in many disciplines having to do with the study of the past. And it just happens to be the period designated by Plato's characters as the time of the destruction of Atlantis following a terrible war in which Atlantis was defeated after attempting to conquer the entire world at the time of what is remembere d as the greatest deluge in human history: The Flood of Noah. [...]

Plato described Atlantis as an "island empire" that "in a single day... disappeared in the depths of the sea." But he also tells us that this "island" was bigger than Libya and Asia Minor combined. Right away we perceive that his terms are a bit different from what we would use. We might think that his term "island," meant simply that this body of land was not connected to Eurasia or Africa - that it was a distinct body of land surrounded by water - except for something else he added: Plato also told us that Atlantis was "the way to other islands, and from these you might pass to the whole of the opposite continent.& quot; This suggests to us an unusual land formation - a n isthmus.

His expression that it "disappeared into the depths of the sea" may have been meant to suggest that it was swept by vast tsunamis as the result of some cataclysmic event. So, considering these clues - its vast size, the definition of the term "navigable," and the idea that "disappearing into the depths of the sea" may have meant swept by terrifying walls of water, let take a peek through the Pillars of Hercules. What do we see? Well, we see the Americas. We see North and South America connected by an isthmus. We also see a lot of little islands in the Caribbean.

Another clue that Plato gives us is that Atlantis had a l ot of elephants.

Something catastrophic happened to the large mammals roaming the world during the Pleistocene Epoch. Woolly mammoths, mastodons, toxodons, sabre-toothed tigers, woolly rhinos, giant ground sloths, and many other large Pleistocene animals are simply no longer with us. The fact is, more than 200 species of animals completely disappeared at the end of the Pleistocene approximately 12,000 years ago in what is known to Paleontologists as the "Pleistocene Extinction."

At the same time that the paleontologists are dealing with the unsettling notion of such a recent mass death, geologists are confronted with the evidence of terrifying geol ogical changes which took place: extensive volcanism an d earthquakes, tidal waves, glacial melting, rising sea levels, and so on. The Pleistocene Epoch didn't end with a whimper, for sure. It went out roaring and thundering.

We already know that Geologists and Paleontologists don't like catastrophism - it keeps them up at night. They fought long and hard against the Catastrophists. But in the present day, scientists in both fields have to face the fact that the Catastrophists were mostly right from the beginning - even if they might have gone overboard and explained everything in terms of catastrophe. It is evident that there are "gradual" changes, but that most of what happens on the Big Blue Marble in terms of significant changes is catastrophic.

One of the major facts that both paleontologists and geologists and archaeologists have had to face is the stupendous number of frozen carcasses in Canada and Alaska in the western areas, and in Northern Russian and Siberia in the eastern areas - all dated to about 12000 years ago. This suggests, of course, that something dreadful happened on the planet, and its effect on the Northern hemisphere was more severe than on the Southern hemisphere. [...]

Back in the 1940s Dr. Frank C. Hibben, Prof. of Archeology at the University of New Mexico led an expedition to Alaska to look for human remains. He didn't find human remains; he found miles and miles of icy muck just packed with mammoths, mastodons, and several kinds of bison, horses, wolv es, bears and lions. Just north of Fairbanks, Alaska, the members of the expedition watched in horror as bulldozers pushed the half-melted muck into sluice boxes for the extraction of gold. Animal tusks and bones rolled up in front of the blades "like shavings before a giant plane". The carcasses were found in all attitudes of death, most of them "pulled apart by some unexplainable prehistoric catastrophic disturbance."

The evident violence of the deaths of these masses of animals, combined with the stench of rotting flesh, was almost unendurable both in seeing it, and in considering what might have caused it. The killing fields stretched for literally hundreds of miles in every direction. There were trees an d animals, layers of peat and moss, twisted and tangled and mangled together as though some Cosmic mixmaster sucked them all in 12,000 years ago, and then froze them instantly into a solid mass.

Just north of Siberia entire islands are formed of the bones of Pleistocene animals swept northward from the continent into the freezing Arctic Ocean. One estimate suggests that some ten million animals may be buried along the rivers of northern Siberia. Thousands upon thousands of tusks created a massive ivory trade for the master carvers of China, all from the frozen mammoths and mastodons of Siberia. The famous Beresovka mammoth first drew attention to the preserving properties of being quick-frozen when buttercups were found in its mouth.

What kind of terrible event overtook these millions of creatures in a single day? Well, the evidence suggests an enormous tsunami raging across the land, tumbling animals and vegetation together, to be finally quick-frozen for the next 12,000 years. But the extinction was not limited to the Arctic, even if the freezing at colder locations preserved the evidence of Nature's rage.

Paleontologist George G. Simpson considers the extinction of the Pleistocene horse in North America to be one of the most mysterious episodes in zoological history, confessing, "no one knows the answer." He is also honest enough to admit that there is the larger problem of the extinction of many other species in America at the same time. The horse, giant tortoises living in the Caribbean, the giant sloth, the saber-toothed tiger, the glyptodont and toxodon. These were all tropical animals. These creatures didn't die because of the "gradual onset" of an ice age, "unless one is willing to postulate freezing temperatures across the equator, such an explanation clearly begs the question."

Massive piles of mastodon and saber-toothed tiger bones were discovered in Florida. Mastodons, toxodons, giant sloths and other animals were found in Venezuela quick-frozen in mountain glaciers. Woolly rhinoceros, giant armadillos, giant beavers, giant jaguars, ground sloths, antelopes and scores of oth er entire species were all totally wiped out at the sam e time, at the end of the Pleistocene, approximately 12,000 years ago.

This event was global. The mammoths of Siberia became extinct at the same time as the giant rhinoceros of Europe; the mastodons of Alaska, the bison of Siberia, the Asian elephants and the American camels. It is obvious that the cause of these extinctions must be common to both hemispheres, and that it was not gradual. A "uniformitarian glaciation" would not have caused extinctions because the various animals would have simply migrated to better pasture. What is seen is a surprising event of uncontrolled violence. In other words, 12,000 years ago, a time we have met before and will come across again and again, something terrible happened - so terrib le that life on earth was nearly wiped out in a single day.

Harold P. Lippman admits that the magnitude of fossils and tusks encased in the Siberian permafrost present an "insuperable difficulty" to the theory of uniformitarianism, since no gradual process can result in the preservation of tens of thousands of tusks and whole individuals, "even if they died in winter." Especially when many of these individuals have undigested grasses and leaves in their belly. Pleistocene geologist William R. Farrand of the Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory, who is opposed to catastrophism in any form, states: "Sudden death is indicated by the robust condition of the animals and their full stomachs ... the animals were robust and healthy when they died." Unfortunat ely, in spite of this admission, this poor guy seems to have been incapable of facing the reality of worldwide catastrophe represented by the millions of bones deposited all over this planet right at the end of the Pleistocene. Hibben sums up the situation in a single statement: "The Pleistocene period ended in death. This was no ordinary extinction of a vague geological period, which fizzled to an uncertain end. This death was catastrophic and all inclusive."

The conclusion is, again, that the end of the Ice Age, the Pleistocene extinction, the end of the Upper Paleolithic, Magdalenian, Perigordian, and so on, and the end of the "reign of the gods," all came to a global, catastrophic conclusion about 12,000 years ago. And, as it happens, even before this evidence was brought to light, this is the same approximate date that Plato gave for the sinking of Atlantis. [...]

Over and over again we find these odd clues that point to an ancient civilization that existed something over 12,000 years ago. There has been a raging controversy for generations between pro-Atlanteans and anti-Atlanteans about this. There seem to be sufficient archaeological remains to justify a serious scientific study based on such a hypothesis but so far, there are no "takers" in the mainstream scientific community. Archaeology and ethnology, being observational sciences, and not experimental sciences, have built their entire framework u pon the study of those remains. And when we look closely at the array of discoveries in those fields, we note bits and pieces of cultures of almost unspeakable age. The fact that uniformitarian science barely allows the idea of cataclysmic destruction to be part of the hypothesis cripples archaeologists and, in the end, may make fools of them all.

Without the algorithm of cyclic cataclysm, archaeologists cannot fully understand what they observe, nor can they explain the anomalies here and there, and the lack of other evidence that ought to be here and there (if one assumes great antiquity of civilization with no cataclysms). The fact seems to be that, what does continue to exist in terms of archaeological remains from times before 7,000 or more years ago, have been subjected to geo logical and cosmic cataclysms of almost incomprehensible violence and few major relics remain for perusal. Those few, however, are cast aside as the anomalies of archaeology and ethnology, and their very existence is buried or denied in efforts to avoid toppling the house of cards so laboriously established by those sciences.

Nevertheless, we find that all over the globe, with few exceptions, these studies break down almost completely right around 7,000 to 10,000 BC, at which point they meet with what mathematicians call a "discontinuity." Immediately after this discontinuity, all of the hot-spots of ancient civilization that archaeologists accept as valid suddenly appear with no indication of gradual, uniformitarian development. What is more, there seems to be considerab le indication that these developments were degenerate remnants of something already lost in the mists of antiquity.

Entire libraries of books have been written demonstrating this antiquity of man and his civilizations, but it has not yet been accepted, even in principle, by any branch of modern science. The scientific thought police oppose any type of cataclysmic change in the structure of the earth and will go to any extremes to avoid coming to grips with its evidence. And yet, as we will see, science breaks down again when it is forced to contemplate the origin of man's intellectual development. [...]

On the basis of the evidence of an antiqu ity, we postulate the ancient development of some kind of science. In either case, it is of great importance to consider these matters in terms of the how's and why's and who's. Most books on these subjects approach the matter from one of these assumptions or the other, with little regard to what might be behind it all when considered in light of present day observations. For us, the most telling thing about this is that either angle is abhorrent to science and to most religions.

In the end, nothing but the existence of an extremely ancient high civilization answers all of the problems presented by observed and recorded facts. And that is what led us to ask the questions about what is the wellspring of our beliefs, what is the source of our denial and rejection of what is observab le in favor of an imposed belief system? [...]

When we consider ancient archaeological evidence, most of which consists of fragmentary bits and pieces of skeletons or stone tools, we do not get the idea of an ancient worldwide, advanced civilization. However, there is something about this that we need to consider before we discard such an idea.

The first thing to think about is the fact that our own "history" is a mere 5,000 years old. When we talk about the possible existence of man on the earth for literally millions of years, many, many civilizations could have come and gone, leaving little more than fragmentary remains. If the rea der will have a look at some books that show pictures of the ancient structures whose history we know, and think, for a moment, about what might remain of our own civilization after a period of ten thousand years, it becomes evident that even under the best of conditions, little would remain that would be recognizable as the works of man. I have tried to imagine what the structures of our civilization would look like after thousands of years of abandonment. I had to admit that we have not created a very substantial environment. The prospects of providing future archaeologists with such elegant ruins are indeed remote And, to assume that societies which did leave sophisticated metropolitan centers were primitive in their technologies, and backward, compared to our own, seems to be the ultimate in absurd conceit.

In fact, in these terms, metal is the least substantial element of all. Many gravesites have been dug up after only a few hundred years, and metal objects, aside from precious metals, have tended to simply disintegrate into powder. So, as a matter of fact, the things that would be preserved the longest are objects of stone. So, just because the only remains we find are stone does not prove that technology of metals was not known. In fact, there is considerable evidence of metals mining all over the earth far into dim antiquity. Further, during those inter-civilizational periods when we might conjecture that man was forced to use whatever implements he could to survive, stone is always there, always handy, and always works. Thus it is that repeated periods wherein pri mitive stone tools are evidence, in no way contradicts the idea of other periods of high civilization.

There is another thing we need to consider about the possible survival of artifacts: cataclysm. The evidence that repeated worldwide cataclysms have occurred tells us that it is very likely that, during such events, the forces of the earth itself would grind up, pulverize, and bury the works of man so completely that the fact that we find any traces at all is practically a miracle. You could say that such artifacts have a very short "shelf life" [...]

Thus it is that we may find that our religious myths and rites are remnants of narratives - a me ssage in a bottle - designed to explain these phenomena , and that the monotheistic versions, declaring a Final End, or a Judgment Day of a final end, are merely distortions of the myth designed to establish a Control System on our planet. These distortions are beneficial to those who seek power and wealth, who are under the control of archetypal forces of another realm of which our own reality is but a shadow or a reflection. Let me reiterate: I do not mean, here, to suggest that this other realm is "astral" or ephemeral or non-material. I am suggesting that it is an intermediate realm of para- physical, hyper-dimensional beings whose existence and nature has been carefully concealed from us for millennia - for a reason that is not to our benefit. [...]

According to Plato' s story, Atlantis was the center of a country of extreme economic wealth and military power that sought to enslave all of Europe. The Atlanteans were quite successful in defeating many European countries; however, the great civilization of Athens repelled their attacks and eventually succeeded in driving them back out of Europe. Unfortunately, almost all records of this great achievement were lost due to a very powerful flood that wiped out most of Athens and the whole continent of Atlantis in one day and one night. Let's look at an more interesting item from Frank Joseph's book: The Lost Pyramids of Rock Lake. While reading, keep in mind our dating problem that was identified since Joseph wrote his book, so we very likely will have to push the early dates way back.

Someone took an awful lot of raw copper from North America a very long time ago. Who was responsible for this and what they did with it represent an enigma of vast proportions that investigators have been puzzling over for more than a century, although most Americans are unaware of the story.

Beginning around 3,000 BC, in excess of 500,000 tons of copper were mined in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, with most activity taking place at Isle Royale, an island in Lake Superior on the Canadian border. The mines abruptly and inexplicably shut down in 1200 BC, reopening no less mysteriously 2,300 years later . Until 1320 AD, some additional 2,000 tons were removed, destination unknown. As before, operations were suddenly suspended for no apparent cause. Tools - mauls, picks, hammers, shovels and levers - were left by their owners in place. Octave Du'Temple, a foremost authority on early Michigan, asks, "Why did these miners leave their operations and implements as though planning on taking up their labors the next day, and yet mysteriously never returned." William P.F. Ferguson writes, "The work is of a colossal nature," and "amounted to the turning over of the whole formation to their depth and moving many cubic acres - it would NOT be extravagant to say cubic MILES - of rock."

The prehistoric mines were NOT crude holes in the ground, but incredibly efficacious operations to extract staggering masses of raw material as quickly as possible. An average of 1,000 to 1,200 tons of ore were excavated per pit, yielding about 100,000 pounds of copper each. [...]

The ancient enterprise was a mind-boggling affair, including about 5,000 mines mostly along the Keweenaw Peninsula and the eastern end of Lake Superior above the St. Mary's river. On the northern shore, the diggings extended 150 miles, varying in width from four to seven miles... The pits ran in practically a contiguous line for 30 miles through the Rockland regions...

Estimates of 10,000 men working the mines for 1,000 years seem credible, as does the conclusion that they were not slaves, bec ause the miners carried away their dead. No ancient graves nor evidence of cremations have been found in the Upper Peninsula. Indeed, virtually all they left behind were their tools, literally millions of them. As far back as the 1840s, 10 wagonloads of stone hammers were taken from a single location near Rockland. The mauls appeared to be mass produced in various sizes and types to serve different tasks.

W.H. Holmes succinctly writes, "It is unlikely, however, that any considerable amount of the shaping work was conducted on the island. It seems to me more likely that the pieces of metal obtained were carried away to distant centers of population to be worked by skilled artisans a nd we may justly assume that a considerable trade exi sted in the raw material." Those "distant centers of population" were Rock Lake and Aztalan, which were connected to the Great Lakes mining areas by a belt of similar mounds. One upper Peninsula temple-mound was 10 feet tall, 15 feet long at the sides and virtually identical to Aztalan's Pyramid of the Moon. As we shall see, the ancient copper miners and the inhabitants of Rock Lake-Aztalan were one and the same people.

America's ancient copper mines represent the key to unlocking Rock Lake's deepest secrets. The grandiose mining enterprise began suddenly around 3,000 BC and terminated just as abruptly 1,800 years later. [...] When prehistoric America's copper mining ceased all at once in 1200 BC, the Michigan pits were abandoned for the next 21 centuries. They were suddenly opened in 900 AD, an event that can only mean that, despite the virtual abandonment of the Rock Lake area for thousands of years... [somebody KNEW about it - and came back]. [...] Alliance with another mound building people at Spiro, Oklahoma, near the Arkansas River, provided portage to Mesoamerica Trade Centers. [...] Roy Ward Drier writes, "That the copper from which tools, scattered over such a vast area of country, were manufactured, came from the ancient mines of Lake Superior, does not admit of doubt. Although large and numerous deposits of copper ore are scattered through Arizona, New Mexico, Mexico and Central and South America, there is no evidence that the aborigines had s ufficient metallurgical knowledge or skill to reduce the ores to refined copper. The shores of Lake Superior have the only known workable deposits of native copper in the world. The term virgin copper is well used to denote its purity. In this latter day, it outranks all others in the markets of the world." [...] Archaeological excavations in the 1930s at Aztalan discovered the remains of a large rectangular building containing an abundance of unworked copper, establishing the site's identity as a mining town. [...]

Frank Joseph found some very strange pyramidal type structures in Rock Lake, Wisconsin. They were different from other pyramidal structures - being conical - and he was astounded some years later to see identical, unusual, pyramidal structures in the Canary Islands.

The original inhabitants of the Canary Islanders referred to themselves as "Canari" long before the Romans arrived. The name appears to have had a similar meaning in both Latin and the native speech, which was a mixed Indo-European language with at least several Latin cognates.

Previous to the 1st century AD, the Atlantic group was known throughout the Mediterranean World as the Blessed Isles, the Fortunate Isles, the Hesperides, or the Isles of the Blessed. Forgotten for all of classical civilization, they were isolated from outside contact for almost 1,000 years until their rediscovery by Portuguese sailors in the 14th century. The Canari more commonly referred to themselves as Guanches (men) a once civilized race that had slowly degenerated over millennia of interbreeding, while their level of society slid back, quite literally, into the caves...

Before their virtual elimination, some studies were made of the Guanches, a white people, fair complected and with red, auburn, and occasionally blond hair. Despite their genetically debased condition, they preserved traditions from long gone ages of civilized greatness and still gathered at the ruined stone monuments of their ancestors for special events. Some of these cyclopean walls, called tagora, survive as crumbling rectangular enclosures, circles, and even pyramids.

At Santa Cruz, capital of Tenerife, largest of the islands, I was surprised to learn that regular, ancient contacts between the Canaries and North America were generally acknowledged by the academic community. Talk of possible pre- Columbian visitors from Europe is taboo throughout professional circles in the United States, but Tenerife's leading historical scholar, Professor Lopez Herrera, writes: "One fact about which we may be certain is that there existed a relation in ancient times between the people of Canarian origin and the inhabitants of America." [...]

From Tenerife I took a ferry to Lanzarote, which is 125 miles closer to North Africa than any of the rest of the seven islands. After docking at the capital port of Arrecefe and checking into my hotel, I walked through the ocean-front park, intent only on some casual sightseeing, when I was thunderstruck to confront the very object that had been sought in the depths of Rock Lake for more than 50 years: a 20 foot conical pyramid. It exactly matched the sunken structure seen in the lake in 1937. [...]

In all my travels throughout Europe and studies of classical and preclassical societies, I had never found so much as a reference to a conical stone pyramid such as this one, and, as far as I knew, nothing of the kind existed anywhere else except under the waters of Rock Lake, Wisconsin.

Are Rock Lake and the copper mines remnants of the civilization known by Plato as Atlantis? Adding 10,000 years to Joseph's dates, as suggested by Firestone and Topping, would put these sites into the timeframe indicated by Plato.

The evidence that Firestone and Topping discovered is puzzling for a lot of reasons. But, the fact is, there are reports of similar evidence of possible Nuclear War from such widely spread regions as India, Ireland, Scotland, France, and Turkey; ancient cities whose brick and stone walls have literally been vitrified - fused together like glass. There is also evidence of vitrification of stone forts and cities. It seems that the only reasonable explanation for suc h anomalies - taken in conjunction with the rest of the evidence - is an atomic blast. This fits with Plato's story of a war between the Atlanteans and "Athens."

If the Americas were "Atlantis," and if there was a war going on prior to the cataclysm, it seems that - fitting the descriptions together - North America was the hardest hit. There is not only the evidence of the nuclear activity, but the massive bombardments of exploding cometary bodies which blasted away nearly all traces of civilization. [...]

We have looked at the Americas as the possible ancient empire of Atlantis. It is now time to reiterate certain observati ons. We have noted earlier that the practice of human sacrifice seems to have originated and spread in the Southern Hemisphere. We have also noted that human sacrifice was most closely associated with Solar deities. The further north you go, the less importance the Sun had, the more importance the Moon was given, and the incidence of human sacrifice diminished. At certain points, where the two "types" mingled, it was not uncommon to find Moon worship associated with human sacrifice, or Sun worship divorced from Human Sacrifice. But what is evident from tracking the myths and folktales and artifacts, is that Human Sacrifice was primarily a Southern Hemisphere production. It would be almost impossible to track the ancient peoples with firm accuracy, but the point is that there is evidence that the religion of the Jews came from South America via India to the Middle East, bringing its bloodthirsty, flesh flaying, genital mutilating god along. [...]

It's easy to look back on history and see where this or that group was "misled" in their beliefs and this distorted their thinking, which then led them to perpetrate unspeakable horrors. We can point to the genocide advocated by the God of the Hebrews, whether it was actually committed or not, or the religious- zeal-run-amok of the Catholic church when it instituted the Inquisition and the Crusades. We can see the twisted version of the desire to create a "genetic superman" that led to the holocaust. It's easy to discern these errors of the past, because we "know more now."

We know more now. How much more can we learn? Can we be certain that the current beliefs of our reality are not similar manipulations? How much more will we know in the future about our own present situation? Do we have any clues around us pointing out that something is dreadfully amiss as were present in the years preceding the Holocaust? How many people at that time ignored all the warning signs until it was too late? How many people didn't "get it" until they were bombed back to the Stone Age? Can we compare any of our present reality to such a scenario? After all, a smart man learns from his mistakes; a genius learns from the mistakes of others.

At the present ti me, there are, indeed, indicators that we are being man euvered into a certain mind-set, a certain belief system. The "reality game" has just gotten more and more complex, but the same essential errors keep getting repeated. What is at the root? Will our descendants look back on our own time and shake their heads in dismay at how ignorant we were, how manipulated our thinking was, and how great an error we made because of our beliefs? As the reader will discover, it seems that we are presently facing just such a grand illusion; one that may be the grandest of them all, and if we do not find our way to the light whereby our eyes can be healed, we shall be, indeed, the householder who lost all he possessed because he was bound and blinded by "demons." And if we are blind, and follow the blind, we will most certainly all fall into a pit; one that we may not be able to get out of for a very long time.

We know that this question, "why is life the way it is?" is one that we don't like to face. But, when we awaken late at night, alone in our thoughts, with no distractions of daily life to fill the void, we are face to face with our existential dilemma. And it is a terrible silence. In those moments of cold clarity, the bleakness and futility of our existence in cosmic terms rises up to confront us as it has confronted all of humanity throughout millennia.

Looking back at history, we see that, to escape this monstrous "dark night of the soul," human beings will accept any answer-any religious belief or philosophy-that may be off ered, because the cold, abyssal silence that follows the question must be filled at any cost. The sad fact is, there are plenty of people willing to try to convince us that they have "the answer to all our questions." These blind leading the blind can be found in the pulpits of nearly every church across the land, and in the seminars and lecture circuit of the New Age. But, these answers generally consist of confusing the discernment of reality with personal opinion which results in a judgment upon reality by refusing to acknowledge it as it really is. Those parts of reality that are not acknowledged have a way of biting us. "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it."

Could a meteorite or comet cause all the fires of 1871?
By Dale Killingbeck, Cadillac News
August 23, 2004

CADILLAC - The skies around Sherman and the village of Clam Lake undoubtedly turned from blue to black.

In Chicago, flames were racing through the city and in Peshtigo, Wi s., people were running for their lives. Flames from the woods near Manistee invaded the town on a quiet Sunday - and people fought for their homes.

Within three days of the fires, thousands were homeless, hundreds from Chicago, Wisconsin and Michigan dead, and many pioneers faced the winter without a home or crops to eat.

In the month of the Perseid Meteor shower, it is interesting to ponder - could a disintegrated comet be the cause of the fires?

An Upper Peninsula systems design engineer thinks so, as does a former physicist with McDonnell Douglas Corp.

Consider a statement by the Detroit Post on Oct. 10, 1871: "In all parts of the state, as will be noticed by our correspondence during the past few days and also today, there are numerous fires in the wood, in many places approaching so near to towns as to endanger the towns themselves."

In Holland, fire destroyed the city, in Lansing flames threatened the agricultural college and in the Thumb, farmers trying to establish homesteads soon would be diving into shallow wells to escape an inferno some newspapers dubbed: "The Fiery Fiend." Many did not escape.

Fires threatened Muskegon, South Haven, Grand Rapids, Wayland and reach ed the outskirts of Big Rapids. A steamship passing the Manitou Islands reported they were on fire.

A horror story? Yes. And so real that historic markers to the event can be found at Manistee and in the Thumb. Lots has been written about the storm of fire that killed 2,000 in Peshtigo, Wis., and the Great Chicago Fire and the fires that devastated the Lower Peninsula of Michigan.

Theories for the fires are many - but one thing is certain, the devouring flames showed up at the same time.

Most historians point to the dry weather of the summer and the poor logging practices of the day for creating conditions ripe for a hot dry wind from the southwest that blew into the area whipping up small fires already s moldering and carrying destruction through the state.

Theories for the Chicago and Michigan fires include Mrs. O'Leary's cow knocking over the lantern and then firebrands from Chicago being driven across the lake to ignite Michigan. But there is another interesting theory th at continues to make the rounds on the Web and in at least one presentation by a retired physicist who worked for McDonnell Douglas Corp.

In 1871, fire erupted in Chicago, Wisconsin and northern Michigan at the same time. Some believe a mete orite or comet was to blame.

The Discovery Channel reported on its Web site in March a presentation by Robert Wood, a retired McDonnell-Douglas physicist, who theorizes fragments of a comet discovered in the early 1820s possibly caused the fires.

Wood theorized that small pieces of frozen methane, acetylene or other high combustive materials hit the earth sparking the flames.

That theory also resounds with Munising's Ken Rieli who believes he found a chunk of meteorite in the waters off the Port Sanilac shore a few years ago.

"We started doing an investigation on where the meteorite came from," he said. His investigation also took him back to the Comet Biela that was discovered in 1821 and returned every six years and nine months. It was last seen in 1866 and never showed up in 1872.

"It was supposed to recycle and it wasn't there," Rieli said. He questions how fires could start simultaneously in Chicago, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Ontario. He also notes how dry summers and strong winds since have never produced a similar result in America's history.

"If these are coming down like buckshot with real dry conditions ..." Rieli theorizes how flaming space rocks could have ignited fires in many places. He said he's been contacted by relatives of survivors of the Peshtigo fire who shared stories from their ancestors about seeing fire falling from the sky.

Physicist Wood in his report cited eyewitness reports of spontaneous ignition and "fire balloons."

Rieli said Canadian geologists found a huge impact crater 200 feet below Lake Huron in the Port Huron area in the early 1990s. He said he has a relative who participated in drilling for a water pipeline to serve the Detroit in the same area at the same depth. He said crews discovered meteorite-like rock as they bored a hole for the pipeline.

"They were bringing it out and piling it up," he said. He said the rock was reformulated and either was volcanic or a meteorite.

"It's another piece of evidence that the Michigan area and parts of Canada, Illinois are ground zero for an active meteor strike zone."

Michigan State University's David Batch, director of the Abram's Planetarium, said he had not heard the theory before and is skeptical that a comet or meteorite could have caused the fires.

Batch said meteorites that have come through the atmosphere and hit the ground are never hot when people have had the opportunity to run over to the piece of space rock immediat ely.

"When they run over to them, there is a frost to them," he said. "There's no known evidence of a comet or a meteorite causing a fire in history."

Batch said comet particles are mostly ice and would not survive to hit the ground while the meteorite only glows hot in the very outer surface as it passes through atmosphere.

"It's only heated to those temperatures for a very short time," he said. "It's like the outer millimeter that is heated up. The rest of it stays cold."

Rieli counters that if the meteorite chunk exceeds one pound and has enough mass, it will not cool by the time it hits the ground.

"That's only true under a certain mass of rock," he said.

He said the Comet Biela had to have hit an asteroid belt when it broke up around Jupiter and likely the debris carried a mixture of rock and ice when the Earth plowed through the field in October 1871. The result was hundreds of hot rocks flying through the atmosphere and in many cases striking tinder-dry woods.

While residents around the state battled flames, information about the area around Cadillac, then Clam Lake, is fuzzy. The first newspaper did not start until 1872.

The village began the same year as the firestorm and by October of that year there was a sawmill, hotels, a general store some boarding houses, along with other buildings, according to Judge William Peterson's "The View from Courthouse Hill."

Peterson recounts near Sherman, the area between Mesick and Sherman Hill, there were numerous fires at the same time Manistee and Chicago were burning down.

"It was said sparks from the fires in Wisconsin that summer or the great Chicago fire in October or the conflagration that destroyed Manistee at the same time, started a large number of fires in the Sherman area," Peterson wrote.

Among the losses were a sawmill and the prosecutor's house.

Rieli acknowledges his theory is controversial. His Web site is meant to spark conversation - but he believes his chunk of carbonaceous chondrite meteorite bolsters his theory. Any certainty would require more research.

"It's just a present thing we are doing," he said. "People need to expand their minds."

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