|What Will The End Of Society Be Like?|
|By Ted Twietmeyer |
This is full of doom and gloom, and disturbing facts. Don't blame me if you have nightmares tonight.
WHAT IT WILL BE LIKE
|City-Sized Asteroid to Pass Earth This Fall|
|By Robert Roy Britt |
Senior Science Writer
posted: 06:30 am ET
03 May 2004
A minor rumor has hatched on the Internet that a large and deadly asteroid will strike Earth this fall. Bulletin board discussions cite a 63 percent chance of impact, while concerned readers have e-mailed SPACE.com wondering if it is true.
Astronomers know of no such impending doom.
The rumors are likely rooted in a real event, however. On Sept. 29, 2004 an asteroid the size of a small city will make the closest known pass of such a very large space rock anytime this century.
Computer model based on radar data reveals different views of Toutatis.[...]
The orbit of Toutatis is pinned down with better precision than any other large asteroid known to cross Earth's orbit. Toutatis' 4-year trek around the Sun ranges from just inside the Earth's path out to the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. The asteroid visits us every four years.
This fall, it will zoom by our planet within a million miles, or about four times the distance to the Moon.
That's close by cosmic standards for an object that could cause global devastation . Toutatis hasn't been so near since the year 1353 and won't be that close again until 2562, NASA scientists have calculated. No other asteroid so large is known to have come so close in the past, though accurate tracking of space rocks is a fairly recent, high-tech skill that still leaves wide margins of error for many objects.
Toutatis is about 2.9 miles long and 1.5 miles wide (4.6 by 2.4 kilometers).
Many smaller space rocks have passed by much closer, well inside the Moon's orbit. Other asteroids in the size range of Toutatis have surely navigated that window, too, but were unseen in eras when the skies were not scanned so fully as today.
And throughout history, several asteroids and comets have hit the planet. In fact, an object the size of Mars hit Earth when it was very young, creating the Moon, scientists believe. But experts say the odds of a major collision in any year are extremely small. Any other near-Earth asteroid as big as Toutatis would almost surely be spotted decades or centuries before any possible impact.
The prediction of any such event would make huge news rather than small rumors.
|Meteor lights up Perth|
|Sunday, 2 May 2004|
Residents across Perth have reported seeing a huge meteor across the north west skies overnight.
The Mundaring observatory says people from Armadale, south-east of the city, to The Vines in the north-east reported the event which is said to have happened close to 10 o'clock AWST last night.
Some reported seeing a huge glow once the object hit the horizon.
Paul Chester from Dianella told the ABC it looked like a giant fireball.
"I just saw this really bright meteor coming down probably about a 30 degree angle heading across the north-west, then it disappeared behind some houses and there was a really bright flash," he said.
"It was sort of brilliant white with an orange tail but it was really large, I mean much bigger than any I've seen before."
|First Civilizations Wiped Out …|
|Telegraph.co.uk Nov. 4, 2001|
"Meteor clue to end of Middle East civilizations"
"Comets, Meteors & Myth: New Evidence for Toppled Civilizations and Biblical Tales"
Atlantis, the Great Flood, the Old Kingdom in Egypt, the Epic of Gilgamesh, and the Akkadian culture of Iraq -- what do they have in common? Whether real or imagined, all involve the disappearance of advanced civilizations by unexplained or catastrophic events prior to 2,000 B.C. New clues may explain all these civilization-ending Bronze Age mysteries as the result of an attack from outer space: while still speculative, the clues point to meteors and comets wiping out the "first" civilizations and empires on the planet.
Recent examination of satellite imagery reveals a 3-km crater near the junction of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in Iraq. This region is historically known as Mesopotamia and formed part of the larger Fertile Crescent -- a region that stretched to the Nile River. Access to water and irrigation techniques led to the rise of many of the first recorded civilizations along the banks of these rivers.
The age of the sediments in the Iraq region indicates a crater age less than 6,000-years old. Mesopotamia was populated 7,000-years ago and many of the ancient civilizations in the area died out 4,300-years ago. This makes whatever formed the crater a prime suspect in disappearance of ancient cultures and the appearance in ancient writings of stories of cataclysmic destruction.
Throughout the world, there are a dozen impact craters that formed within the past 10,000 years. Two large ones formed in Argentina within the past 5,000 years. Because of the extent of the oceans, it is reasonable to believe that for every crater found on the ground there are several under water.
If the craters all formed around the same time, then ancient civilizations world-wide suffered a fate that was once thought to be a problem only for modern society: explosions with the force of hundreds of nuclear bombs destroying settlements locally and affecting climates globally. Analysis of sediments on land and ocean, as well as tree ring data indicates abrupt climatic changes did happen around the time of the crater impacts. And it may not have been a one-time event.
A large comet may have broken up and created a cloud of meteors that the Earth repeatedly passed through every year for a decade. The debris in our atmosphere would have made it hard for the Sun to shine through and caused global cooling.
|Comment: What?? Civilisations wiped out less than 6,000 years ago? Were the dinosaurs around then? Is that what they mean? But wasn't that 65 million years ago? We mean, aren't all of our independent and impeccably principled scientists telling us that we have nothing to worry about, that any major earth-wide disasters are thousands, if not millions of years away? Just what is going on here? We seem to be experiencing some sort of new sensation, what could it be? Is it...yes...we think it might just be a disturbance in our complacency Oh my God Imagine that Luckily however, we know better than to believe the alarmist notions of reports such as the above which suggest that the earth periodically experiences cyclical catastrophes.|
|… It Could Happen Again|
|Princeton University |
Nov. 10, 2001 Press Release:
"Survey Lowers Estimate of Asteroid Impact Risk"
A small asteroid -- 1-km in diameter -- could ruin the day for one-quarter of the Earth's population if it hit our planet. Bigger space rocks, like the 10-km-wide "mountain" suspected of causing the extinction of the dinosaurs, 65-million years ago, could end civilization altogether. So scientists are eager to learn: What are the odds of a 1-km or larger object striking our planet in any 100-year period? The answer to this question requires knowledge of the size distribution of large asteroids in our area of space and the historical record of collisions with Earth.
Historical evidence let's researchers assume that 10-km "dino-killing" events happen every 100-million-years. Discovering the distribution of asteroid sizes is problematic. At distances of hundreds of kilometers, even a "dino-killer" is dim and hard to spot from Earth.
That's where the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) comes in handy. As a survey to chart the large, faint objects outside our galaxy, it naturally discovers many dim asteroids that float through the field of being imaged. Software automatically detects these asteroids and determines their color signature and distance. Color indicates composition, which determines how much light the asteroid reflects from the Sun. These factors can be used to derive a size estimate for the object.
SDSS categorization of 10,000 asteroids within our Solar System's asteroid belt yields an estimated 700,000 rocks bigger than 1-km. This population of "main belt" asteroids feeds a smaller population of "near Earth" asteroids -- the kind that are a threat to Earth.
Calculations indicate that there is a 1:5,000 chance that one of these will strike the Earth in a 100-year period. This is actually good news because prior estimates placed the odds of such a collision at three times higher. The SDSS odds are also in agreement with a study to be published by the Spacewatch Project at the University of Arizona. That group studied actual near-earth asteroids to reach their conclusion.
|Comment: So we have a one in 5,000 chance that one a steroid will hit the earth, well thank the lord That mea ns we can all sleep easy in our beds tonight. Forget the fact that the odds of winning the lottery are 30 million to one, yet someone still wins it every week. Statistics are very useful for confusing the masses and putting them back to sleep.|
|Streaks in the sky over Prince Albert|
May 16 2004 09:09 AM CDT
PRINCE ALBERT - The skies were alive over Prince Albert Saturday afternoon.
Gord Harding isn't sure what he saw; he thinks it might have been five or six meteorites. He believes they were travelling too fast to have been aircraft.
Harding was at Birch Hills, about 40 kilometres southeast of Prince Albert, when a loud noise overhead caught his attention.
"First I thought it was a plane", says Harding. "And then I looked and there were five, and they were all just roaring when they went over top."
Harding took photographs of the objects as they streaked northwestward, toward Prince Albert. One of the photographs actually shows six trails of smoke or vapour in the sky.
After taking the photos, Harding called his wife in Prince Albert, and she looked out and watched as they passed over the city.
Meanwhile, police in Prince Albert say they did not received any calls from people wondering what was in the skies overhead.
|Salt-loving microbes and outer space|
|Wednesday 19 May 2004, 2:13 Makka Time, 23:13 GMT|
Utah's Great Salt Lake is teeming with a life form that may turn out to be inhabiting other planets.
This inland sea is home to dozens of species of salt-loving micro-organisms called halophiles that thrive in one of the most inhospitable environments on Earth.
[...] The Salt Lake discovery may have extra-terreristrial consequences. Many scientists have argued for some time that if bacteria can survive such conditions there, then it is quite possible on other planets such as Mars.
As NASA's Opportunity has proved bodies of open water did once exist, the Red Planet may well be home to microbes a lot like the halophiles of the Great Salt Lake.
The space agency certainly thinks so. Suddenly, sample-return missions are back on the agenda and Meridiani Planum is being spoken of as a prime destination to go and fetch rocks for study back on Earth.
|MHS students photograph meteor explosion|
|By RON BAIN |
The Daily Sentinel
Grand Junction, Colorado
MONTROSE — A meteor cruising through the night skies over Montrose on Friday morning couldn't take the atmospheric heat buildup and blew up into pieces, an event that was caught by a digital camera mounted on the roof of Montrose High School.
“It appears to be descending directly down upon the Montrose area,” said Mike Nadiak, earth-and-space science teacher at MHS. Locals might find blackened chunks of the meteorite lying in their backyards or agricultural fields, he said.
“We’re hoping to get the word out to get people to keep their eyes open for possible meteor fragments,” Nadiak said.
A similar fireball exploded above the Black Canyon around Thanksgiving of 2002, Nadiak said, but no fragments of that meteorite were found.
|Comets make rare joint appearance|
|By Chris Herde |
May 19, 2004
STARGAZERS have been witnessing a rare cosmic event this month with two comets appearing in the sky together.
In what is believed to be the first on record in Australia, two comets – Neat and Linear – are in the inner solar system and visible to the naked eye.
[...] "There are millions of comets out there but we don't see them very regularly in the inner solar system," Ms Morgan said from Charleville in western Queensland.
"But to actually get two at the same time is a really rare event.
"Looking through the records to date I have not found anything where there has been two in the sky together.
"So to be that close together and observable is really quite amazing."
[...] "Everyone is just talking about these two great comets and how fabulous it is and aren't we lucky to be here on the planet when it actually happens," she said.
|New Object is 2nd Rock from the Sun|
|By Robert Roy Britt |
20 May 2004
Astronomers announced Thursday the second known asteroid whose orbit is completely inside that of Earth. It supplants Venus as the second rock from the Sun.
Most asteroids orbit the Sun between Mars and Jupiter. But a handful cross the path of Earth on elliptical trajectories. One had previously been found to move completely inside the annual path of our planet.
The newfound rock, named 2004 JG6, is currently between Earth and Venus and orbits the Sun every six months. But its elliptical path takes it well inside the circle of Venus and even inside Mercury's path. On average, it is closer to the Sun than Venus. [...]
|Unexplained incident on Oak Street b ridge sends woman to hospital|
May 23, 2004
Vancouver Police are investigating a bizarre incident early Sunday that sent a woman to hospital.
A car was driving southbound across the Oak Street Bridge around 3 am when the front and back windshields were shattered by an unknown object.
Police say a "small, hard object" hit the window but they aren't sure exactly what it was.
A bullet has been ruled out.
A female passenger was taken to hospital with undetermined injuries.
The bridge was closed to traffic for about half an hour.
Comment: Very strange, we wonder what it was that fell from the sky? Whatever it was, one thing is certain, it wasn't, we repeat, it WASN'T a meteorite. How can we know this? Why because our good scientists tell us that the chances of a large meteorite hitting the earth is somewhere in the millions to one. So if a large meteorite is very unlikely to hit, then of course small ones do not hit either, certainly not the dozens that have been reported by alternative news sites over the past year, some of them called "massive" or "the size of a house". Also, disregard this from a CNN report on September 9, 2002:
|Flashback: Five hurt as meteorite crashes to earth in India||ABC Radio Australia |
Officials in eastern India say five people were injured and two houses gutted when a meteorite crashed to earth.
The meteorite hit a remote village near the Bay of Bengal in the state of Orissa.
The local media said five people were sent to hospital with injuries.
A local resident said the meteorite lit up the sky and caused windows to rattle as it passed overhead, sending hundreds of people rushing outside.
|Flashback: 'A meteorite smashed through my roof'|
|6 October, 2003|
The chances of being hit by a chunk of space rock are measured in the billions-to-one. Roy Fausset, 59, had the closest of escapes last month when what scientists now say was a meteorite crashed through his New Orleans home.
I walked through my front door and it was like a mortar bomb had fallen on my house.
|Flashback:'Meteorite' narrowly misses Perth boy|
|August 10, 2003|
Fragments of what could be a meteorite which narrowly missed a 10-year-old boy when it smashed into his driveway would be scientifically tested in Perth, the youngster's mother said today.
Anthony Elliss-Galati saw an odd-shaped object in the sky, heading towards him on Thursday as he played outside his Safety Bay home, about 50km south of Perth. Anthony told his mother Jennifer Elliss he hid behind her car and watched the bird-sized object smash a hole in the driveway and shatter.
"I heard something hit the bitumen and then Anthony came inside and said there were rocks coming out of the sky," Ms Elliss said. "He then handed me a piece and it didn't look like a normal rock - it was dull on the inside and silver on the outside and looked as if it had melted."
|Flashback: A Chicago Meteorite Fall|
|Credit & Copyright: Ivan and Colby Navarro |
|If you wait long enough, a piece of outer space itself will come right to you. As Colby Navarro worked innocently on the computer, a rock from space crashed through the roof, struck the printer, banged off the wall, and came to rest near the filing cabinet. This occurred around midnight on March 26 in Park Forest, Illinois, USA, near Chicago. The meteorite, measuring about 10 cm across, was one of several that fell near Chicago that day as part of a tremendous fireball.[...]|
|Flashback: Meteorites Fall on Chicago Suburbs|
|March 27, 2003 |
by Vanessa Thomas
Pieces of extraterrestrial rock crash-landed near Chicago after a bolide exploded in Midwestern skies early Thursday morning.
The early morning display of noise and light was produced by a small asteroid that entered Earth's atmosphere and broke apart over the Midwest, showering dozens of rock fragments upon homes and other buildings approximately 30 miles south of downtown Chicago.
|Flashback: Did meteorite slam Oakland?|
|By Tom Greenwood |
The Detroit News
August 12, 2003
DAVISBURG -- Live long and prosper -- and duck!
The Road Commission for Oakland County may have had a close encounter of t he shooting-star kind when what appears to be a meteorite hit one of its maintenance facilities over the weekend. [...]
|TOP STORY: Meteor 'just a baby'|
|MARTY SHARPE |
11 .06.2004 - Hawkes Bay Today
The explosion heard over Hawke's Bay early yesterday morning was probably caused by a fist-sized fragment of an asteroid entering the Earth's atmosphere, says Carter Observatory astronomer Richard Hall.
Mr Hall said reports that the light was an orange colour suggested it came from a meteor of metallic material. That meant it was probably a fragment of asteroid that had originated from somewhere between Jupiter and Mars, Mr Hall said.
There were "about a handful" of reports each year of meteors of a similar size. Smaller meteors would cause light, but not the sonic boom, he said.
"Every now and then Earth will plough into the path of material left behind by comets or asteroids. There have been a few reports of similar events in the Northern Hemisphere over the last week or so," Mr Hall said.
There was no telling when an asteroid might hit the Earth. Last year, astronomers in America and Europe observed an asteroid with a 10km diameter that narrowly missed Earth.
"If that had hit it would have had the force of a 100-tonne hydrogen bomb," M r Hall said.
Michelle Baines and Michael Stonestreet were probably the closest people to the meteor.
Ms Baines, a flight nurse, and Mr Stonestreet, a pilot, were flying to Wairoa to pick up a patient at about 3.40 am yesterday when the sky lit up.
They were above the ocean about 15km south east of Wairoa when it occurred.
"I thought there must have been a helicopter above us with its light on. We looked up and there were two or three orange things moving through the sky. It lasted just a couple of seconds," Ms Baines said.
The object was "high above us, and between us and the coast" and was travelling in a northerly direction, Ms Baines said.
Ms Baines and Mr Stonestreet were wearing headsets and did not hear anything over the Piper Seneca's two engines.
"When we landed, the ambulance officer told us there was a huge noise. At the hospital they thought something must have hit the top of the building," Ms Baines said.
Jason Vercoe was driving from Taupo to Hastings and was about 4km north of the Mohaka river when the sky lit up
"The whole place lit up. It was kind of like the light a city makes behind a ridge. It was incredible, really hard to describe. It almost made my highbeams useless at 3.30am in the morning. That's how bright it was."
Mr Vercoe, 30, said he leaned over his steering wheel and looked skyward, where he saw a "bright shooting star". His car clock said it was 3.39am.
There were no other vehicles near him when he saw the light, although he had seen several trucks on the road earlier.
"I half thought to stop and pull over to see if they saw it too," Mr Vercoe said.
He found out about the story of the meteor in yesterday's Hawke's Bay Today, after telling his girlfriend of his experience.
"If I hadn't leaned over my steering wheel and seen the star I would have thought there was something wrong with my eyes," Mr Vercoe said.
Poraiti man Robin McKee was having a "fitful night's sleep looking after a child who was sick" when he saw the light.
"It was like a lightbulb had popped in front of my eyes," Mr McKee said.
Trevor Cook, from Napier, heard a "boom sound" and felt his house creak.
"Two thoughts went through my mind. It might have been hooligans letting off a homemade bomb, or as the Carter Observatory suggested, a meteor entering the Earth's atmosphere, and creating a sonic boom," Mr Cook said.
Wairoa senior sergeant Chris Flood said there had been few calls about the event, but "no one's come in with a piece of rock yet".
|Comment: Ho hum. Just another large explosion combined with a burst of light in the sky. Happens all the time, right? Well, now it is. Spain and India last year. There was the fellow in New Orleans who found one at home. Remember that old tune from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, "Raindrops keeps fallin' on my head..." First a few drops, and then...|
|Alberta farmer finds Canada's newest meteorite|
|June 10, 2004|
An intriguing rock found south of Fort MacLeod, Alta., has been identified by a University of Calgary researcher as Canada's newest meteorite.
Gerald GoldenbeldMr. Gerald Goldenbeld found the rock in 1992 when he stopped his tractor while baling straw in a field on the west bank of the Belly River opposite the Belly River Buttes. Recently, he sent the heavy, black-and -rust-coloured stone to the U of C, and tests confirmed it is a new discovery and not part of a previously found meteorite. [...]
|Meteorite touches down in NZ home|
A meteorite has crashed through the roof of a house in Auckland, much to the surprise of the home' s owners.
Scientists were sceptical about the report but have now confirmed the 1.3 kilogram rock has fallen from space.
It is only the ninth meteor to land in New Zealand.
Its rarity makes it valuable to collectors as well as scientists.
Joel Schiff, from Auckland University, says the circumstances of the meteor's discovery also add to its value.
"Falling through a roof is really an exceptional event that rarely happens, and this is a beautiful large specimen," he said.
Scientists plan to analyse the chemical composition of the meteorite to find out more about where it came from.
|Comment: We don't know whether this was the same meteor that passed over a day ago, or whether it is a new one. The other bit of missing information is what period of time they refer to when the article says "It is only the ninth meteor to land in New Zealand." Since it was colonised in the 18th century? Since they started keeping reports, probably at a later moment?|
|Meteorite crashes onto couch|
|From correspondents in Auckland |
June 13, 2004
"I was in the kitchen doing breakfast and there was this almighty explosion," Brenda said. "It was like a bomb had gone off. I couldn't see anything, there was just dust."
She thought something had exploded in the ceiling, but her husband saw a stone under the computer and it was hot to touch.
The rock hit a leather couch and bounced back up to the ceiling before rolling under the computer.
The Archer's one-year-old grandson Luca was playing nearby but was unhurt.
"He must have a guardian angel," Brenda said.
Auckland University meteorite expert Joel Schiff said the rock was "a national treasure", but international collectors would offer big money for it.
He said the chondrite type meteor - meaning it was chipped off an asteroid - had probably hit the atmosphere the size of a basketball at 15 kilometres per second before slowing to around 100-200 metres a second at impact.
|Space waste 'burnt before impact'|
|By Miranda Korzy |
June 17, 2004
A CHUNK of space deb ris claimed by a witness to be the size of a house probably burnt up over the NSW south coast before it could hit the ground, astronomers said today.
A motorist on the Hume Highway told police he saw a burning object "the size of a house" streaking towards an an escarpment at Bulli about 9pm (AEST) yesterday, exploding in a bright flash.
Australian National University astronomer Vince Ford today said it sounded like a sizeable chunk of rock breaking up in the atmosphere.
If something of that size had hit the earth, it would have made a sonic boom and registered on seismological g raphs, said Dr Ford, who is based at the Mt Stromlo Observatory in Canberra.
He said the object was likely to have been less than a metre in diameter and that no fragments nor a crater would be found.
"It really does sound like a fireball to me," Dr Ford said.
Supporting that view was Sydney Observatory astronomer and curator Nick Lomb.
A fireball was "the glowing gas that surrounds a piece of rock as it travels from space through the earth's atmosphere," Dr Lomb said.
The driver sa id the object was glowing silver in colour and exploded with a bright flash on impact.
It came down east of the Hume Highway, possibly on an escarpment near the top of a hill at Bulli, police were told.
Workers at the Sydney Airport Tower also said they saw a burning object in the sky about 9pm (AEST), police said.
However, no other reports were received by police and extensive patrols failed to find any space debris.
Wollongong University astronomer Glen Moore said people who saw meteors often had trouble determining their true size because of a lack of reference points in space.
"So I'd say the likely thing is it was much further to the west than they thought it was, beyond the escarpment," he said.
|Meteorite sighted in NSW|
|June 17, 2004, 7.11am|
A METEORITE reportedly the size of a house fell on the NSW south coast overnight, exploding in a bright flash, police said today.
A driver on the Hume Highway shortly after 9pm (AEST) near Menangle reported an object the size of a house falling from the sky.
The object fell east of the Hume Highway, possibly in an escarpment near the top of a hill at Bulli, police were told.
The meteorite was described as glowing silver in colour and similar to an artillery shell when it exploded with a bright flash on impact.
Workers at the Sydney Airport Tower said they saw a meteorite about 9pm, police said.
No other reports were received by police and extensive police patrols of the area did not turn up the space debris.
|Police investigate meteorite reports|
Police are investigating reports of a meteorite falling between Menangle and Bulli, north of Wollongong in southern New South Wales, overnight.
Police say a motorist travelling south on the Hume Highway near Menangle saw an object fall from the sky shortly after 9:00pm AEST.
They say the object fell to the east of the highway and possibly on an escarpment near the top of a hill at Bulli.
The object has been described as glowing silver in colour and similar to an artillery shell exploding with a bright flash on impact.
The Sydney Airport tower also confirmed the meteorite.
Police patrols of the area could not locate the object.
|Surprise Meteor Shower Possible in June|
|Fri Jun 18,11:00 AM ET |
By Joe Rao
SPACE.com's Night Sky Columnist, SPACE.com
Meteor enthusiasts will likely be out in force in the coming nights, hoping to catch a glimpse of an on-again, off-again meteor display. Special emphasis will be placed on two specific nights: June 22-23 and June 26-27.
Ironically, the month of June is usually not noteworthy for any major meteor showers.
Yet six years ago, during the final weekend of June 1998, sky watchers worldwide were caught off guard by an unexpected shower of bright meteors an d fireballs.
From Japan, for instance, came reports of meteors that were visible even through heavily overcast skies. Reports from visual observers in other regions suggested that this surprise meteor display produced meteor rates of anywhere from 50 to 100 per hour and lasted more than half a day.
Similar bursts of June meteor activity were noted many decades ago, in 1916, 1921 and again in 1927. Because the meteors seemed to fan-out from a region of the sky near the northern border of the constellation of Bootes, the Herdsman, they became popularly known as the "June Bootids."
It was also in 1916 that the legendary British meteor observer, William Denning, first suggested that these meteors were bits and pieces shed by the Comet Pons-Winnecke, a rather small, dim object and a member of the Jupiter family of comets. Such comets are so-named because they have their aphelia the point in their elongated orbits that place them farthest from the Sun at roughly the same distance of the planet Jupiter.
The orbits of the Earth and the comet were relatively close to each other during the early 20th Century.
In fact, Pons-Winnecke's closest point to the Sun its perihelion slowly shifted from just inside the Earth's orbit in 1916 to just outside it during 1921 and 1927. Astronomers assumed that it was this close proximity between the two orbits that accounted for the enhanced meteor activity seen in those three years.
But since then, due to a series of relatively close encounters with Jupiter's powerful gravitational field, the orbit of the comet has significantly changed.
Since 1921, the gap between the orbits of the Earth and the comet has been gradually increasing, becoming more than 22 million miles (35 million kilometers) by 1998. Because of this large gulf between the two orbits, it seemed logical to believe that any future enhanced meteor activity from Comet Pons-Winnecke would be all but impossible. That argument certainly held up until June 1998. How then, could that meteor shower have taken place with the two orbits so widely spaced?
The answer came from astronomers David Asher of Armagh Observatory in Ireland and Vacheslav Emel'yanenko, of South Ural University, Chelyabinsk, Russia. Their studies showed that the 1998 meteors were the result of meteoroids released from Comet Pons-Winnecke back in the year 1825.
Asher and Emel'yanenko pointed out that the planet Jupiter completes one orbit around the Sun in the same time that it takes the meteoroids shed from Comet Pons-Winnecke to complete two. In other word s, while Jupiter takes 12 years to go around the Sun, the meteoroids from Pons-Winnecke take 6 years; a 2 to 1 ratio. So instead of spreading around the whole orbit, the meteoroids were kept clustered closely together by Jupiter's gravitation.
Computer simulations by Asher and Emel'yanenko also demonstrated that the comet and its ejected particles from 1825 were apparently disturbed by Jupiter in different ways, so that in the ensuing years the comet and the particles that it shed became widely separated from each other.
Ultimately, however, in June 1998, the meteoroids ended up cutting right through the Earth's orbit, producing the unexpected bevy of bright meteors.
Another good shower?
So if the meteoroids that produced the bright 1998 display are still basically moving around the Sun in a 6-year orbit, does that mean that we'll be in for a repeat performance in 2004? Viewpoints are mixed.
Jrgen Rendtel, president of the International Meteor Organization, believes that 2004 could be another good year to look for the June Bootids.
Rendtel points out that on Sunday, June 27 at 01h GMT (which corresponds to Saturday, June 26 at 9:00 p.m. EDT) the Earth should be passing through essentially the very same region of the meteoroid stream as in 1998.
That time would be the middle of the peak activity seen in 1998, but since that display lasted for many hours, observers worldwide should stay alert through Saturday night on into Sunday morning for any unusual or enhanced meteor activity.
On the other hand, David Asher's belief is that little or nothing will be observed, based primarily on the simple argument that unusual numbers of bright meteors should also have been seen in 1992 and 1986, but nothing apparently occurred.
In recent days, a different forecast for the June B ootids has been issued by Jerimie Vaubaillon of the Ins titut de Mcanique Cleste et de Calcul des phmrides, in Paris, France and Russians Sergey Dubrovsky and Sergey Shanov.
Their calculations suggest that the Earth will interact with a swarm of meteoroids that were ejected by Comet Pons-Winnecke at not just one, but several of its past visits to the Sun, most notably in 1819, 1825, 1830, 1836 and perhaps 1875. In addition, the predicted peak for this activity comes several days earlier than Rendtel's suggestion: Wednesday, June 23 at 11h GMT (7 a.m. EDT).
Western North America and the Pacific Ocean will still be in darkness at that time, and are favored with the best possible views. But should the activity last for many hours, then it could be worthwhile to carefully watch the sky from Tuesday night, the 22nd, on until the first light of dawn on Wednesday, the 23rd.
Whether you plan to look for the June Bootids on the night of June 22-23 or again on the night of June 26-27, keep in mind that the constellation of Bootes will be excellently positioned as darkness falls. It will appear nearly overhead and high up in the northern sky and will remain in view through the night as it descends toward the northwest.
Fortunately, the Moon will be a rather wide crescent and will set just before midnight (local daylight time) on the night of June 22-23. It will, however, be more of a hindrance on the night of June 26-27 when it will have increased in brightness to a bright gibbous phase and not setting until after 1:30 a.m.
|Spacecraft reveals comet's mini world of rock|
|By Steve Connor, Science Editor |
18 June 2004
Close-up photographs of a comet have shattered the belief that these traditional portents of doom are so-called "dirty snowballs" composed of dust and ice.
Pictures taken by a spacecraft that flew within 150 miles of the comet Wild 2 reveal that the subject is a solid chunk of rock with a spectacularly sculpted landscape.
The images taken by the Stardust spacecraft as the comet made its nearest approach last February clearly show that the comet's 20 square miles is covered in broad mesas, craters, pinnacles and canyons with flat floors and sheer walls.
Scientists led by Professor Donald Brownlee, the Stardust's principal investigator at the University of Washington, were prepared for featureless images of an icy surface coated in dust. "It's completely unexpected. We were expecting the surface to look more like it was covered with pulverised charcoal," Professor Brownlee said.
Instead the Stardust photographs - published in the journal Science - depict a mini world scarred by a series of collisions with other space objects over many millions of years. The scientists involved in the mission have identified two kinds of crater on the comet, one with a central rounded pit and a surrounding rough terrain, the other with a flat floor and steep sides.
Two craters look like footprints, and have been named Right Foot and Left Foot. Unlike craters seen on Earth or the Moon, the craters on Wild 2 are virtually devoid of the powdery debris seen scattered around typical impact craters. Professor Brownlee said that was because there is hardly any gravity on the surface of Wild 2.
|Comment: We have been saying for years what "scientists" are now accepting as fact. While it is not surprising that governments around the world would seek to keep any foreknowledge of a meteor impact threat out of the public domain, this does not preclude the right that each of us have to read between the lines and open our eyes to the reality of life here on the BBM.|
|'It was loud enough to shake the house'|
|By Wes Johnson |
Published June 19, 2004
NASA suspects meteor in Webster County's big boom.
Paul Kesterson was getting ready for work Friday morning when two thunderous explosions a split second apart rocked the sky above his home.
"It was loud enough to shake the house and rattle the windows," said Kesterson, owner of Marshfield TV and Electronics. "The dog's probably still hiding."
The rural Webster County man rushed outside, not sure what he'd find.
"There was a smoke trail in the sky, but it wasn't straight," he said. "It kind of came down at an angle, like a jet contrail that the wind had distorted."
The Webster County Sheriff's Department fielded nearly 20 phone calls from area residents around 9:20 a.m., concerned something had blown up.
Dispatchers checked with area quarries, which reported no blasting activity.
And no supersonic aircraft were in the skies above Webster County, according to Springfield airport and Fort Leonard Wood officials.
NASA scientist Mike Mumma said the likely culprit was a "sizable" meteor ripping apart as it blasted through the atmosphere at 100,000 mph.
"From the description of buildings and windows shaking, that's a fairly significant sonic boom," said Mumma, chief scientist of planetary research at Goddard Research Center in Greenbelt, Md. "It would have been much larger than fist-sized to make that loud of a noise and generate that much energy. I couldn't speculate how big, though."
Don Yeomans, man ager of NASA's Near Earth Object monitoring program in Pasadena, Calif., said a meteor that shakes homes and windows could have been the size of a small car.
"Statistically we can expect something that size twice a year, on average," he said. "Of course, most of the Earth's surface is ocean so we don't see them that often. Yours is a very unusual event."
Webster County Sheriff's Capt. Robert Brown said the explosion shook the upper floors of the courthouse.
The county's Emergency Management director was contacted, and the courthouse was checked to make sure it was secure, he said.
"We were on standby ready to go if anything really had happened," Brown said.
At the Marshfield Chevrolet Olds dealership, receptionist Lynn Bays said she heard a "big, loud explosion" while sitting at her desk.
"At first I thought it was a big bolt of lightning, but a lot louder," she said. "It was pretty wild."
Rebecca Tucker, owner of Marshfield Beauty Shop, said the blast sounded "just like a big sonic boom."
"I talked to my mother, and she said it really rattled her garage door," Tucker said.
Mumma said those kinds of reports — without the presence of supersonic aircraft — are consistent with a meteor hitting the atmosphere.
"An explosion like that usually occurs when a pressure wave builds up on the front face of the meteor,' he said. "Eventually it blows up into millions of pieces which burn up before they hit the ground."
Kesterson's description of hearing two sonic booms wasn't unusual, he said.
"That could have been a binary object coming in; two meteors traveling together in space," Mumma said. "Each one would have generated a sonic boom as it entered the atmosphere."
On June 4, Seattle residents got a spectacular view of a meteor breaking apart.
The meteor lit up the sky at 2:40 a.m., and its brilliant glow was captured on dozens of security cameras across the city.
It exploded about 27 miles above Snohomish, Wash., its thunderous blast registering on many area earthquake detectors.
Based on eyewitness accounts and data from the earthquake monitors, officials estimated the W ashington meteor's size to be about the size of a computer video monitor.
Oliver Manuel, professor emeritus of chemistry at the University of Missouri-Rolla, said it would be a fluke if anyone in Webster County found a piece of Friday's meteor.
The area is rocky and covered by forests, both of which would make finding a meteor fragment difficult.
"Hopefully there will be some meteorite fragments found," he said. "A common misconception is that they're too hot to pick up. But meteors ablate when they come in — their surface melts off faster than it can he at the object. If you find one, you can pick it up."
|Comment: Hmmm. Here are a few of the recent sightings of impressive meteors: Perth, Australia, reported 2 May 2004; Washington State, USA, reported 4 June 2004; Auckland, New Zealand, reported 12 June 2004; New South Wales, Australia, reported on 17 June 2004|
|Looking For Killer Asteroids|
|ROBIN PRIESTLEY |
Monitor Staff Writer
Finding killer asteroids may sound like the plot of a cheap science fiction movie, but as astronomer Ken Chambers knows it is a very real possibility in the near future.
Los Alamos native Chambers and his colleague, Nicholas Kaiser, presented abstracts on their project, the Pan-STARR Optical Survey Telescope Project, at the American Astronomical Society 204th meeting, which met May 30 through June 3 in Denver.
Chambers is an associate professor at the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy and the chief scientist of the Pan-STARRS Telescope #1, which is the prototype telescope for the project.
The prototype will be the first of four planned telescopes that have a very lar ge field of view through which to survey the visible sky every four days. By surveying it over and over, the researchers will be able to detect any potentially dangerous asteroids movement, according to the abstract. The purpose is to identify any asteroids that are on a collision course with Earth, in order to be able to do something to change the orbit of the asteroid before it hits.
The project incorporates the telescope and its data, a camera and a computer.
Chambers said the difference about this project is that they are trying to predict the future.
He explained that telescopes are time machines because they all look back in time. "You are looking into the past because of the speed of light," Chambers said. "When you see the sun, you see it as it was eight minutes ago; Jupiter, as it was 40 minutes ago; Alpha Centauri as it was four years ago."
The colliding of asteroids with Earth can have catastrophic results.
"Sixty-five million years ago, an asteroid that was only a few kilometers in size hit the earth and wiped out the dinosaurs, which opened the door to evolution and let humans in," Chambers said.
"Every 65 million years, an impact will happen that is big. If it hits tomorrow, there is nothing we can do. But, if we can find one that will hit 100 years from now, you have more warning and you only have to make it change orbit a tiny bit in order to not hit the earth."
Scientists are still discussing different ways to change the orbit. [...]
|Man Finds Mystery Rock|
| By Brye Butler / Reporter-News Staff Writer |
June 19, 2004
Kevin Oliver said he's sure he doesn't have rocks in his head.
He does, however, have a big one in his living room. It's brown, weighs some 40 pounds and is hollow in a few places. Oliver said he thinks it's worth big bu cks.
''This is no ordinary rock,'' he said.
At a glance, local geology buffs haven't been able to identify the rock Oliver came across while clearing underbrush on property in north Abilene.
''It's about to drive me crazy,'' Oliver said. ''I want to find out what it is.''
Months ago, ''I picked this thing on up and I thought, 'What the ... ''' Oliver said.
Because the rock looked so odd, Oliver said, he took it home and hosed it off. It's smooth but not perfectly round and about a foot and a half in diameter.
Oliver said he took it to the geology departments at Hardin-Simmons University and McMurry University.
Professor Richard Schofield said that in his 22 years with McMurry's geology department, he's never seen anything like it.
In looking at the rock, he couldn't determine its composition, age or origin. Its partial hollowness could be from weathering, Schofield said.
As for its value, Schofield said, ''It could be nothing, but I can't say with any certainty.''
He suggested Oliver send the rock to Texas A&M University, where staff could cut a sample to study.
Charles Lightfoot, a longtime member of the Central Texas Gem and Mineral Society, said the most common rocks in the Abilene area are fossils and agate, a striped gemstone.
''It's hard to say what he found,'' Lightfoot said without having seen Oliver's rock.
|Strange Comet Unlike Anything Known|
|Robert Roy Britt |
Senior Science Writer, Space.com
17 June 2004
A detailed analysis of the comet Wild 2 (pronounced "Vilt 2") has left ast ronomers astounded at an object that has noknown peers in the solar system.
The comet, examined in a close flyby in January by NASA's Stardust spacecraft, has towering protrusions and steep-walled craters that seem to defy gravity. More than a dozen jets of material shoot out from its insides. Dust swirls around the comet in unexpectedly dense pockets.
Among the bizarre features are two depressions with flat floors and nearly vertical walls that resemble giant footprints. They aren't structured like typical impact craters. The features have been named Left Foot and Right Foot in a new map of the comet, which is roughly 3 miles (5 kilometers) wide.
Only two other comets have been seen up close, but both appeared fairly smooth and were nowhere near so heavily cratered. Nor do the pockmarked surfaces common to asteroids and moons bear much stylistic resemblance to the shapes seen on Wild 2.
"So far, as far as we know Wild 2 is a unique object," said Donald Brownlee, an astronomy professor at the University of Washington and Stardust's principal investigator.
Brownlee told SPACE.com that Wild 2 could represent a unique class of comet. He and his colleague s had expected it to be relatively featureless with a dusty, charcoal-like coating. Instead they found a place riddled with apparently ancient impact craters. Broad mesas and steep canyons stand out clearly. [...]
He suggested the consistency of the comet is something like freeze-dried astronaut ice cream. [...]
"Comets do blow up unexpectedly," Brownlee pointed out, adding that built-up internal pressure and "steam explosions" might be responsible for some of the surface features. [...]
Comet Wild 2 probably gathered itself together 4.5 billion years ago, just after the Sun was born, in a region beyond Neptune known as the Kuiper Belt. [...]
In 1974 it had a close encounter with Jupiter and was thrown onto a new orbit that brings it closer to the Sun. A comet loses material when it approaches the Sun, as solar radiation causes ice from its surface to "sublimate" into space, carring dust and larger particles with it. The process creates a cloud of material that reflects sunlight and creates the familiar head of a comet (scientists call it a coma) and sometimes a tail.
Among the new findings: Wild 2 has lost about 3 feet (1 meter) of its surface since 1974. [...]
Claudia Alexander, a program scientist for Rosetta from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, has modeled comets for years. She did not expect the number of jets or their ability to lift the large chunks thought to then break up and create the particle swarms. And she's surprised that the comet is apparently not a loosely cemented rubble pile.
"I would have told you it wasn't going to be like that," Alexander said. "We are astonished and intrigued."
|Weird rock formation occupies attention of Mars rover experts|
|BY CHRIS KRIDLER |
The Spirit rover is looking at a Martian rock unlike anything seen on Earth, with a pitted surface and strange nuggets on the end of stalks.
"I have never seen anything that combines all those characteristics together in the way this does," said Steve Squyres of Cornell University, principal investigator for the NASA rovers. "Now, I won't tell you that somewhere on Earth, there isn't a rock that looks like this, but we may be dealing with something uniquely Martian here."
The rock is called Pot of Gold, and it could prove a treasure for Spirit, which is exploring the Columbia Hills in Gusev Crater. A spectrometer reading showed the rock holds hematite, which can form in water.
|New Zealand Residents report meteor|
|Sunday, 27 June 2004|
A South Island radio station is being swamped with reports of a meteor strike in the Mackenzie Country.
People from Christchurch to Timaru say they saw a bright light streaking across the sky around 9.30 last night.
Port FM announcer James Valentine says he has taken dozens of calls describing the dramatic end of the meteor's journey.
He says it exploded before it hit the ground, and flames and debris were seen in the sky.
James Valentine says a consensus is building around the idea the meteor crashed to earth somewhere near Twizel.
|Me teor alert false alarm|
By AMANDA CAMERON
Seen a strange orange streak moving across the early morning sky recently? Think you've seen a meteor? Well, you're not alone.
North Shore residents have been reporting suspected meteor sightings for the past four weeks, according to the Stardome Observatory at One Tree Hill.
Leonie Anderson spotted "a big orange streak" in the sky about 7.30am yesterday while walking to work in Takapuna with a friend.
"It was thicker at one end and then tapered," she said. "We watched it for about four minutes then it disappeared."
But Warren Hurley of the Stardome said what people had actually seen was a high-flying aircraft moving from southeast to northeast.
The plane and its vapour trail were illuminated by the morning sun, creating the orange effect.
"It looks quite bright. It does look orangey - the same as clouds at sunset. And the fact that it moves across the sky so slowly would eliminate a meteor," Mr Hurley said.
"More aircraft are flying north from Christchurch without stopping in Auckland these days so it's a relatively normal sight."
|Comment: Oh, what a relief Here we thought that all these reports of fireballs and meteors that we have been tracking were actually REAL - and yet it turns out there was a rational explanation all along. It's just vapor trails from airplanes that reflected the sunlight. Of course, one might stop to think that many sightings have occurred at night. In the case of evening sightings, obviously the only rational explanation is the light of Venus reflecting off of airplane vapor trails. The light appears orange due to atmospheric distortion and swamp gas, of course...|
|Coverups Of Cosmic Impacts?|
|By Michael Goodspeed |
In response to my recent article Why I Fear Toutatis, I have received numerous emails from people who claim to have seen unusal fireballs and/or meteor activity in the United States over the past few weeks.
People who control the news are vary wary of current cosmic activity, and are deeply concerned about the effect this will have on public consciousness. [...]
|FLASHBACK: Car-Sized Meteor Rocks Missouri Residents|
|Saturday June 19, 2004 08:40PM|
Paul Kesterson was getting ready for work Friday morning when two thunderous explosions a split second apart rocked the sky above his home.
|Meteorite reported in southern WA|
|ABC News Online |
June 30, 2004
The Perth Observatory says it has had reports a meteor has crashed near Walpole in Western Australia's south.
Witnesses say they saw a large, fiery object zigzagging through the sky at about 5:30pm yesterday.
The witnesses say the object left a trail of thick smoke and then they heard a bang.
The observatory says it appears the object was travelling somewhere between Perth and Albany in a south-south easterly direction.
Walpole resident Heather Burton was in her backyard when she saw the object.
She says it was unlike a normal shooting star.
"A shooting star usually just goes straight across or straight down - this one had these gradual zigzags just coming down," she said.
Alex Bevan from the WA Museum says the reports indicate the sightings were the result of a fireball generated by a meteorite.
"We're certainly picking up reports of a bright fireball and sonic phenomena associated - I'm absolutely sure - with the fall of a meteorite," Dr Bevan said.
Dr Bevan says it will be difficult to find where the meteorite landed.
"Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be as many observations, so actually pinning down where the object landed might be a bit difficult and in that area, the vegetation might mean searching for it would be difficult," he said.
|Comment: Okay folks, step back, nothing to see here. Just ignore those meteorites that seem to be bombarding earth, you might miss the next episode of Buffy.|
|Astronomers: No chance of life on nearest planets|
Life would not have a chance on planets nearest the Earth’s solar system because of a blizzard of comets and meteors, astrono mers have concluded after taking a close look at the star Tau Ceti.
Tau Ceti, 12 light years away, probably has more than 10 times as many objects flying around as our own solar system does, scientists at the Royal Astronomical Society said.
"We don’t yet know whether there are any planets orbiting Tau Ceti, but if there are, it is likely that they will experience constant bombardment from asteroids of the kind that is believed to have wiped out the dinosaurs,"said Jane Greaves, lead scientist on the project.
"It is likely that with so many large impacts, life would not have the opportunity to evolve."
Comment: What if life in such a environment were to evolve and perish cyclically, with the bombardment of comets bringing each cycle to a close? Would that not be a realistic possibility? What if it were true for our solar system?...
See Laura's new book "The Secret History of the World" for all the details. As one European Professor noted: "It may well be the most important book ever written".
|Massive Black Hole Stumps Researchers|
|By Tariq Malik |
28 June 2004
Sitting at the heart of a distant galaxy, the black hole appears to be about 12.7 billion years old, which means it formed just one billion years after the universe began and is one of the oldest supermassive black holes ever known.
The black hole, researchers said, is big enough to hold 1,000 of our own Solar Systems and weighs about as much as all the stars in the Milky Way.
"The universe was awfully young at the time this was formed," said astronomer Roger Romani, a Stanford University associate professor whose team found the object. "It's a bit of a challenge to understand how this black hole got enough mass to reach its size."
Romani told SPACE.com that the black hole is unique because it dates back to just after a period researchers call the 'Dark Ages,' a time when the universe cooled down after the initial Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago. That cooling period lasted about one billion years, whe n the first black holes, stars and galaxies began to appear, he added. The research appeared June 10 on the online version of Astrophysical Journal Letters.
Invisible to the naked eye, black holes can only be detected by the radiation they spew and their gravitational influence on their stellar neighbors. Astronomers generally agree that black holes come in at least two types, stellar and supermassive. Stellar black holes form from collapsed, massive stars a few times the mass of the Sun, while their supermassive counterparts can reach billions of solar masses.
A supermassive black hole a few million times the mass of the Sun is thought to sit at the center of our own Milky Way galaxy, and some of the largest supermassives seen date have reached up to two billion solar masses, researchers said. [...]
|Saturn's Days getting longer|
|By Amit Asaravala |
02:55 PM Jun. 29, 2004 PT
PASADENA, California -- NASA's Cassini space probe has already aided scientists to make a second discovery about Saturn, even though the craft is still a day away from beginning its main mission.
Signals detected by the probe show that Saturn's natural radio emissions are more like the sun's than the Earth's, and that a Saturnian day is not as short as once thought. [...]
NASA announced the radio discovery on Monday, saying that it was based on data returned from the probe over the past year. The data showed that Saturn's radio rotational period -- a measurement often used to determine the length of a day on a planet -- was nearly six minutes longer than when measu red by the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 spacecraft in 1980 and 1981, respectively.
Scientists say this means it's highly likely that Saturn's radio emissions change depending on when and where they are measured, like those of the sun. By contrast, the period of Earth's radio emissions are fixed. They have ruled out other options, like malfunctioning equipment on the Voyager probes, or the possibility that Saturn's physical rotation has slowed over the years, they said.
"Although Saturn's radio period has clearly shifted substantially since the Voyager measurements, I don't think any of us could conceive of any process that would cause the rotation of the ent ire planet to actually slow down," said University of Iowa space physicist Don Gurnett, principal investigator for the Cassini Radio and Plasma Wave Science instrument. [...]
NASA hopes it can come up with a different solution to the problem, and uncover the mystery of what is causing the radio emissions to change, sometime during the next four years as Cassini continues to spy on Saturn and its moons. "We will be able to unravel the puzzle, but it's going to take some time," said Gurnett. [...]
Cassini has been hurtling through space on its way toward Saturn for the past six and a half years. On Wednesday evening, mission controllers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory will fire one of Cassini's engi nes, allowing the spacecraft to slip through the space between two of Saturn's rings. The maneuver will put Cassini in orbit around Saturn, where it will remain for the next four years, studying the planet, its rings and its moons. [...]
Comment: Let's get this straight. First they say "They have ruled out ... the possibility that Saturn's physical rotation has slowed over the years," followed by "I don't think any of us could conceive of any process that would cause the rotation of the entire planet to actually slow down...&quo t; which means that they really haven't produced any facts that it is not an actual slowing of the rotation; they just believe it is impossible.
Question: what IF Saturn IS slowing down? If so, what could cause such a phenomenon? After all, significant changes in the weather on Jupiter have been noted recently, as well as an astonishing number of new moons. Do we really think that such changes in the elder brother planets of our solar system are happening in isolation? What if the real cause of all the weirdness on the BBM is related? If so, what could be causing it? Does Something Wicked This Way Come?