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'Phantom' lights in sky over Rochdale, UK mystery continues

Rochdale strange lights
© Matthew Jackson
Unexplained blue / green lights over Rochdale.
Mystery continues to surround phantom lights that appeared in the skies over Rochdale last week.

As featured in Wednesday's Rochdale Observer, strange flashes of blue and green were spotted in the skies, power went out and homes were left without electricity during the curious episode last Thursday evening, October 23.

Some people also reported hearing a loud bang, while others thought they had seen an object shoot into the sky.

And social media users have come up with all sorts of explanations for the events, from fireworks to a solar flare, the Northern Lights and even alien activity.

The lights were spotted above homes over Rochdale, Norden, Littleborough, Newhey and Whitworth, with many residents noticing their own lights flickering, a temporary loss of power, flashes and the triggering of burglar alarms.

Comment: The sun did have a massive sunspot during the time of the sighting of the mysterious lights.

Solar flare danger - massive sunspot the size of Jupiter takes aim at Earth

Comet

Comet K1 PanSTARRS: an 'encore performance' soon?

Comet K1 PanSTARRS
© Credit: Ken Moore, used with permission.
Comet K1 PanSTARRS cruises through Hydra on October 1st. Note the twin opposing ion and dust tail.
Comet C/2012 K1 PanSTARRS, one of the most dependable comets of 2014, may put on its encore performance over the coming weeks for southern hemisphere observers.

First, the story thus far. Discovered as a +19th magnitude smudge along the borders of the constellations Ophiuchus and Hercules in mid-May 2012 courtesy of the Panoramic Survey Telescope And Rapid Response System (PanSTARRS) based atop Haleakala on the Hawaiian island of Maui, astronomers soon realized that comet C/2012 K1 PanSTARRS would be something special.

The comet broke +10th magnitude to become a visible binocular object in early 2014, and wowed northern hemisphere observers as it vaulted across the constellations of Boötes and Ursa Major this past spring.

NASA’s NEOWISE mission spies K1 PanSTARRS
© Credit: NASA/JPL.
NASA’s NEOWISE mission spies K1 PanSTARRS on May 20th as it slides by the galaxy NGC 3726 (blue).
The comet is approaching the inner solar system on a retrograde, highly-inclined orbit tilted 142 degrees relative the ecliptic. This bizarre orbit also assures that the comet will actually reach opposition twice in 2014 as seen from our earthly vantage point: once on April 15th, and another opposition coming right up on November 7th.

As was the case with comet Hale-Bopp way back in 1997, had C/2012 K1 PanSTARRS arrived six months earlier or later, we would've been in for a truly spectacular show, as the comet reached perihelion on August 27th, 2014, only 0.05 A.U.s (4.6 million miles or 7.7 million kilometres) outside the orbit of the Earth! But such a spectacle was not to be... back in '97, Hale-Bopp's enormous size - featuring a nucleus estimated 40 to 60 kilometres across - made for a grand show regardless... fast forward to 2014, and the tinier nucleus of K1 PanSTARRS has been relegated to binocular status only.

© Credit: NASA/JPL
The position of comet K1 PanSTARRS as it passes its second opposition of the year. .
Fireball

House-sized asteroid to give Earth a very close shave Monday

2104 UF56
© Unknown
Get ready for a very close encounter as a house-sized asteroid 2014 UF56 will pass between the Earth and the Moon on Monday. The 15 meter wide space rock will miss our planet at a distance of about 160,000 km (0.4 lunar distances) at 9:12 p.m. UTC. The asteroid was discovered Saturday and despite passing so close to Earth, few if any of us will see the flyby with our eyes in a telescope. At brightest, 2014 UF56 will only reach magnitude +16, as it zips from Scutum constellation through Capricornus.

The asteroid, back in 2012 visited Mars at a distance of about 8 mln km. It will again approach the Earth on Feb. 12, 2018. This will be a very distant fly-by, at about 64 lunar distances.

Comment: Last week, Comet Siding Spring flew by Mars and we are frequently hearing the news of asteroids and fireballs. Is there anything happening in the solar system that is contributing to this phenomenon?



Comet

Rosetta's comet shows spectacular increase in dust emissions

comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko
© Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA
Two views of the same region on the “neck” of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The right image was taken with an exposure time of less than a second and shows details on the comet’s surface. The left image was overexposed (exposure time of 18.45 seconds) so that surface structures are obscured. At the same time, however, jets arising from the comet’s surface become visible. The images were obtained by the wide-angle camera of OSIRIS, Rosetta’s scientific imaging system, on 20 October, 2014 from a distance of 7.2 kilometers from the surface.
Rosetta's comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is beginning to show a clearly visible increase in activity. While in the past months most of the dust emitted from the body's surface seemed to originate from the neck region which connects the two lobes, images obtained by Rosetta's scientific imaging system OSIRIS now show jets of dust along almost the whole extent of the comet.

"At this point, we believe that a large fraction of the illuminated comet's surface is displaying some level of activity", says OSIRIS scientist Jean-Baptiste Vincent from the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS) in Germany. During the past few weeks, the OSIRIS team has witnessed a gradual but qualitative change. "In the first images from this summer that showed distinct jets of dust leaving the comet, these jets were limited to the neck region", says OSIRIS Principal Investigator Holger Sierks from the MPS. Now, jets appear also on the "body" and "head" of the comet.

Currently, still more than 450 million kilometers are separating 67P from the Sun. Based on a rich history of ground-based observations scientists expect a comet's activity to pick-up noticeably once it comes within 300 million kilometers of the Sun. "Being able to monitor these emissions from up close for the first time gives us much more detailed insights", says Sierks. From the OSIRIS images, the team now wants to derive a better understanding of the evolution of cometary activity and the physical processes driving it.

Since under normal circumstances, the comet's nucleus would outshine the jets, the necessary images must be drastically overexposed. "In addition, one image alone cannot tell us the whole story", says Sierks. "From one image we cannot discern exactly where on the surface a jet arises." Instead, the researchers compare images of the same region taken from different angles in order to reconstruct the three-dimensional structure of the jets.
Comet

Two comet families found around nearby star Beta Pictoris

exocomets
© Credit: ESO/L. Calçada
This artist's impression shows exocomets orbiting the star Beta Pictoris. Astronomers analysing observations of nearly 500 individual comets made with the HARPS instrument at ESO's La Silla Observatory have discovered two families of exocomets around this nearby young star. The first consists of old exocomets that have made multiple passages near the star. The second family, shown in this illustration, consists of younger exocomets on the same orbit, which probably came from the recent breakup of one or more larger objects.
Beta Pictoris is a young star located about 63 light-years from the Sun. It is only about 20 million years old and is surrounded by a huge disc of material - a very active young planetary system where gas and dust are produced by the evaporation of comets and the collisions of asteroids.

Flavien Kiefer (IAP/CNRS/UPMC), lead author of the new study sets the scene: "Beta Pictoris is a very exciting target! The detailed observations of its exocomets give us clues to help understand what processes occur in this kind of young planetary system."

For almost 30 years astronomers have seen subtle changes in the light from Beta Pictoris that were thought to be caused by the passage of comets in front of the star itself.


Perhaps 'something wicked this way comes'?



Comets are small bodies of a few kilometres in size, but they are rich in ices, which evaporate when they approach their star, producing gigantic tails of gas and dust that can absorb some of the light passing through them. The dim light from the exocomets is swamped by the light of the brilliant star so they cannot be imaged directly from Earth.


Rosetta update: Dirty snowball is "dry like hell"

"It is nothing like the so-called dirty snowball or fluffy ice ball that mainstream astronomers have long envisioned. Most astonishingly,scientists have reported they have not found a single trace of water ice on the comet surface. It is, in the words of mission scientist Holger Sierks, "dry like hell."


To study the Beta Pictoris exocomets, the team analysed more than 1000 observations obtained between 2003 and 2011 with the HARPS instrument on the ESO 3.6-metre telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile.

The researchers selected a sample of 493 different exocomets. Some exocomets were observed several times and for a few hours. Careful analysis provided measurements of the speed and the size of the gas clouds. Some of the orbital properties of each of these exocomets, such as the shape and the orientation of the orbit and the distance to the star, could also be deduced.

Comment: As the British astronomer Victor Clube said:
"We do not need the celestial threat to disguise Cold War intentions; rather we need the Cold War to disguise celestial intentions!"
Beware of PTB propaganda / information warfare: As cometary/fireball activity intensifies (Brazil (twice), Alabama, the Netherlands, Iowa, and probably Northwestern Louisiana too), expect more blaming of cyclical celestial events on their enemies; such as Russian military satellite, EMP and baiting conspiracy theorists with chemtrails disinformation.

For more on Sol's dark companion and accompanying cometary swarm and much more, read Earth Changes and the Human-Cosmic Connection.

Comet 2

5 days after massive fireball sets sky on fire over Recife, another comet fragment burns up over Ceará, Brazil (VIDEO)

Translation: SOTT.net

A bright flash in the sky caused by a meteor drew the attention of residents in the State of Ceará on Monday night (October 20th). The Civil Police of Ceará received reports of the meteor's passage through several cities in the state.

"Some residents reported the fall of an object in neighboring cities, but there is no record of anything," says officer Francisco Couto. "A lot of people claimed it was a plane crash, some said that they heard the noise of the crash," said the policeman.

Sergeant Lins, from Recife Air Base, which controls air traffic from high altitudes throughout the Northeast, said that there is no record of any missing aircraft in the region late on Monday.

For the astronomer Pedro Antunes, meteors are commonly confused with burning planes or with unidentified flying objects (UFO). "People see that flash in the sky, which is not very common, and are impressed, just imagining things, but lately we're registering many meteors in the sky of Ceará," he says.

According to the Civil Police, the meteor has seen by people in the town of Iguatu in the interior of Ceará, and on the coast of the state. "It's possible for a meteor to travel a great distance in the sky. While it suffers friction with the atmosphere, it combusts and turns into pieces. A burning plane would never go so far before hitting the ground," argues the astronomer.

Source

Comment: It's not so much friction with the atmosphere that causes meteor fireballs and comet fragments to 'slow down' - it's their electrical interaction with different charge layers of the atmosphere.

Note that this happened over the same region just five days prior to the above event:

Meteor fireball sets the sky on fire over Recife, Brazil

Tumultuous times in the sky seem fitting to tumultuous times among a divided Brazilian population, where hatred among 'factions' has been driven ever higher in the second round of presidential elections.

Fireball 5

Fireball over Alabama captured on video

Fireball
© Jason Reed/YouTube
The moment a bright light streaked across the night sky in Trussville, Alabama, was captured on video last night.

The sighting came as the Earth passed through the debris cloud from Halley's Comet, which produces the annual Orionid meteor shower.

Bill Cooke of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, told ABC News there were "several bright Orionids last night, as well as a spectacular fireball over middle Tennessee" that he said broke apart at 24 miles altitude just south of Nashville.

Comment: Another possible angle of same fireball:



Fireball 3

'Fireball' meteor streaks across Dutch sky

© Koen Miskotte
Fireball visible above the Netherlands last night
Last night a fireball was visible above the Netherlands.

The Werkgroep Meteoren says that it was visible as a bright sphere. The work group received more than 20 reports from people who saw the fireball within 45 minutes. This was the 5th fireball visible above the Netherlands.


Fireballs are meteors that are much brighter than normal. They are usually seen during meteor showers. During the next few days the Orioniden shower will reach its maximum. According to the work group, the shower will probably be very visible.

The Orionidens originated in Halley's Comet, which comes close to the sun and the earth every 76 years.

Comment: Earlier in the same evening, this was filmed over the Netherlands:



Fireball 3

Iowa photographer accidentally captures a fireball explosion and smoke trail in his night sky time-lapse

Astronomers can wait decades to see or capture what Ben Lewis photographed by accident while shooting a time-lapse Ashton-Wildwood County Park, Iowa very early this morning. Called a 'bolide fireball,' what you see in the short time-lapse above is an exceptionally bright meteorite that explodes in a bright flash at its end, leaving behind this strange bright puff of red smoke.

To the untrained eye you would think a 'night fury' from How to Train Your Dragon just passed by, but this is in fact a natural phenomenon that, in real time, lasted an amazing 12 minutes!

Shot with a Canon 6D and 35mm lens at f/1.4 10 sec, and ISO 1600 with a 10 second delay between frames, Lewis was actually sleeping when this happened. When he came back to review the footage he initially thought it was an airplane, but upon closer inspection he realized it was much stranger than that.

Fireball 5

Meteor fireball sets the sky on fire over Recife, Brazil


The amazing moment a meteor lights up the sky above the Brazilian city of Recife has been caught on camera.

In the incredible clip, taken on Wednesday at around 10pm, the sky is illuminated with red and yellow light as the meteor crosses the sky.

Locals immediately took to social media to express their surprise at the awesome sight.

'A flaming ball broke apart as it fell towards the ground,' wrote one user on Facebook.

Comment: The above footage could be a transformer blow out, which may be connected to the widely observed fireball. Various cameras caught it:


Problem is, authorities in Recife didn't report a transformer blow-out... so the glowing 'after-effect' lights in the sky could be something else.

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