Comet 2

Comet Catalina grows two tails, photographed at dawn

© Chris Schur
Comet C/2013 US10 Catalina shows off a compact green coma and two tails in this photo taken this morning (Nov. 22, 2015) at dawn from Arizona. The green color comes from carbon compounds fluorescing in UV sunlight.
Amateur astronomer Chris Schur of Arizona had only five minutes to observe and photograph Comet Catalina this morning before twilight got the better of the night. In that brief time, he secured two beautiful images and made a quick observation through his 80mm refractor. He writes:
"Very difficult observation on this one. (I observed) it visually with the 35mm Panoptic ocular. It was a round, slightly condensed object with no sign of the twin tails that show up in the images. After five minutes, we lost it visually as it was 2° degrees up in bright twilight. Images show it for a longer time and a beautiful emerald green head with two tails forming a Y shaped fan."
Schur estimated the comet's brightness at around magnitude +6. What appears to be the dust tail extends to the lower right (southeast) with a narrower ion tail pointing north. With its twin tails, I'm reminded of a soaring eagle or perhaps a turkey vulture rocking back and forth on its wings. While they scavenge for food, Catalina soaks up sunlight.

Comet 2

New Comet: C/2015 V2 (JOHNSON)

CBET nr. 4161, issued on 2015, November 05, announces the discovery of a comet (magnitude ~17.1) by J. A. Johnson on CCD images obtained with the Catalina Sky Survey's 0.68-m Schmidt telescope on Nov. 3.5 UT. The new comet has been designated C/2015 V2 (JOHNSON).

I performed follow-up measurements of this object, while it was still on the neocp. Stacking of 12 unfiltered exposures, 120 seconds each, obtained remotely on 2015, November 04.4 from H06 (iTelescope network - New Mexico) through a 0.43-m f/6.8 astrograph + CCD + f/4.5 focal reducer, shows that this object is a comet: compact coma nearly 10 arcsec in diameter elongated toward PA 230.

My confirmation image (click on it for a bigger version)
© Remanzacco Observatory


Interview with astronomer Bill Napier: Cyclical catastrophes and cometary bombardments

The Tusk has been interested for some time in conducting an occasional interview with players in fields related to cosmic catastrophes in human times. So much of the coverage of our subject is "drive-by" journalism, with uninformed reporters on deadline asking shallow, often misinformed, questions of key scientists and then writing a story which barely informs. The subject deserves something at least a little better. So, in a modest effort to add a more depth to the popular record than is commonly provided, I nominated our blog to try out a few interviews.

It was an easy call whom to approach first, Bill Napier. He is a digital acquaintance of mine, a cool guy and a wiseman. Astronomer, best-selling popular author, frequent contributor to a 40 year canon of astronomical justification for end-times in the peopled past — Bill Napier is simply a Tusk kind of guy!

Napier and his collaborators in the old country are even credited with their own handle, "British Neo-Catastrophists." Post-Newton and Whiston, Post-Velikovsky, concurrent with Alvarez but Pre-Firestone — shunned by NASA and employed by the Queen — they are contributors to a cogent set of astronomical facts termed "Coherent Catastrophism," a body of evidence concluding that quite horrible cosmic encounters have occurred in the human past.

Here goes:

Comment: As a reminder of what can come out of the sky without any warning at all, see the Chelyabinsk meteor from February 2013:

Comment: For more on the very high probability of Earth soon being on the receiving end of a major cometary bombardment, and why, see Laura Knight-Jadczyk's Comets and Catastrophe series: And the books: Comets and the Horns of Moses by Laura Knight-Jadczyk
and Earth Changes and the Human Cosmic Connection: The Secret History of the World - Book 3 by Pierre Lescaudron
and Laura Knight-Jadczyk

Comet 2

Recently discovered Halloween asteroid 'may actually be a comet'

© NASA/JPL-Caltech
This graphic depicts the orbit of asteroid 2015 TB145 as it flies past Earth on Oct. 31, 2015.
The big asteroid that will zoom past Earth on Halloween may actually be a comet, NASA researchers say.

The roughly 1,300-foot-wide (400 meters) asteroid 2015 TB145, which some astronomers have dubbed "Spooky," will cruise within 300,000 miles (480,000 kilometers) of Earth on Halloween (Oct. 31) — just 1.3 times the average distance between our planet and the moon.

Though 2015 TB145 poses no threat on this pass, the flyby will mark the closest encounter with such a big space rock until August 2027, when the 2,600-foot-wide (800 m) 1999 AN10 comes within 1 Earth-moon distance (about 238,000 miles, or 385,000 km), NASA officials said.

Astronomers plan to beam radio waves at 2015 TB145 on Halloween using a 110-foot-wide (34 m) antenna at NASA's Deep Space Network facility in Goldstone, California, then collect the reflected signals with the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia and Puerto Rico's Arecibo Observatory.

Such work should reveal key details about the space rock's size, shape, surface features and other characteristics — including, perhaps, its true identity.

"The asteroid's orbit is very oblong with a high inclination to below the plane of the solar system," Lance Benner, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said in a statement.

Comment: It IS a 'comet' because the only difference between an asteroid and a comet is that the latter is glowing from electrical discharge.


Earth could be hurtling through comet shower that may cause mass extinction

© Corbis
Asteroid 2011 UW-158 will pass 1.5 million miles away from Earth.
Earth could be in danger as our galaxy throws out comets that could hurtle towards us and wipe us out, scientists have warned.

Scientists have previously presumed that we are in a relatively safe period for meteor impacts, which are linked with the journey of our sun and its planets, including Earth, through the Milky Way. But some orbits might be more upset than we know, and there is evidence of recent activity, which could mean that we are passing through another meteor shower.

Showers of meteors periodically pass through the area where the Earth is, as gravitational disturbances upset the Oort Cloud, which is a shell of icy objects on the edge of the solar system. They happen on a 26-million year cycle, scientists have said, which coincide with mass extinctions over the last 260-million years.

The most recent shower happened 11 million years ago. But that doesn't mean that the Earth is safe, according to a new study.


Newfound meteor showers expand astronomical calendar

© Babak Tafreshi/National Geographic Creative
A meteor (upper left) streaks through the Orion constellation during the Perseid shower.
The list of meteor showers that occur every year has just grown longer. Eighty-six previously unknown have now joined the regular spectaculars, which include the Perseids, Leonids and Geminids. Astronomers spotted the shooting-star shows using a network of video cameras designed to watch for burglars, but repurposed to spy cosmic debris burning up in Earth's atmosphere.

The newfound showers are faint but important: each is fuelled by Earth's passage through a trail of particles left behind by a comet or asteroid, so mapping them reveals previously unknown sources of dust.

"The cool thing is, we are not just doing surveillance of meteors in the night sky," says Peter Jenniskens, an astronomer at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California. "Now we also have a three-dimensional picture of how dust is distributed in the Solar System."

Most of the particles are the size of a sand grain, but a few are large enough to survive the searing heat of their passage through the atmosphere — and possibly do damage on Earth's surface. Jenniskens and his colleagues describe the discoveries in four papers accepted for publication in Icarus.

Astronomers have been documenting meteors for centuries, first by eye and more recently with radar and video-tracking systems. Meteors sprinkle Earth steadily throughout the year, but during a shower a significant number seem to originate from the same point in the sky. Skywatchers around the world have reported more than 750 possible meteor showers to the International Astronomical Union (IAU) — but only a small fraction of those have been confirmed as bona fide events.

Che Guevara

Varoufakis: "Don't fear them." Tories will spread propaganda campaign of Greek-style collapse to try to defeat Labour party

© Neil Hall / Reuters
Former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis speaks at a meeting organised by the People's Assembly in London, Britain September 14, 2015.
Former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis warned Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and his new frontbench team that Tory opponents would mount a campaign of fear against their anti-austerity message.

Varoufakis addressed Corbyn, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell and Shadow Secretary for International Development Diane Abbott at a Peoples' Assembly Against Austerity event on Monday night.

He told the Labour ministers they are embarking upon a path that will "not be rosy."

"Your opponents, Diane, Jeremy, John, are going to use fear as their main instrument.

"They will say to you that a Corbyn government will push up the pound. This is what the systemic media will tell people in their living rooms.

"You will be told ... if Corbyn gets elected Labour will be like Syriza and the United Kingdom will be like Greece.

"Don't fear them. People are perfectly capable of sifting through this. The people who can overcome fear if the leadership overcomes fear."

In response, Abbott said she hopes the result of Corbyn's victory will enable Labour to defeat austerity in Britain once and for all.

"But I hope the result of Corbyn's victory at the weekend gives us renewed hope to believe that we can take the fight against austerity off the street and into parliament," she said.

In a speech to before the Trades Union Congress (TUC) annual conference in Brighton on Tuesday, Corbyn vowed to tackle austerity, saying it is a "political choice, not an economic necessity."

Corbyn accused the Tories of being "poverty deniers," driving up poverty.

"They call us deficit deniers. But then they spend billions cutting taxes for the richest families or for the most profitable businesses."

Speaking about the Labour Party's beliefs, Corbyn said: "We oppose the benefit cap. We oppose social cleansing. We will bring the welfare bill down by controlling rents and boosting wages, not by impoverishing families and socially cleansing our communities."

Comment: Further reading:

Fireball 2

Scientists use lasers to simulate shock effects of meteorite impact on silica

© National Map Seamless Server/USGS
Meteor Crater in Arizona, formed by a meteorite impact 50,000 years ago, contains bits of a hard, compressed form of silica called stishovite. Researchers precisely measured the rapid transformation of a fused silica glass into stishovite using SLAC's X-ray laser, the Linac Coherent Light Source.
Scientists used high-power laser beams at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory to simulate the shock effects of a meteorite impact in silica, one of the most abundant materials in the Earth's crust. They observed, for the first time, its shockingly fast transformation into the mineral stishovite - a rare, extremely hard and dense form of silica.

You can scoop up bits of stishovite at the scene of meteorite impacts, such as a 50,000-year-old meteor crater in Arizona that measures about 3/4-mile across and about 570 feet deep. A similar form also exists naturally at the extreme pressures of the Earth's mantle, hundreds of miles below ground.

The Speed of Stishovite

In the experiment at SLAC, researchers used lasers to create a shock wave in samples of silica glass. The heat and compression of this shock wave caused tiny crystals, or "grains," of stishovite to grow within just a few nanoseconds, or billionths of a second. This speed defies predictions that the changes take tens or even hundreds of times longer.

"The beauty here is that the quality of the data enabled us to make a measurement that gives us entirely new insight into the mechanism for this transformation," said Arianna Gleason, who led the experiment at SLAC's Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) X-ray laser, a DOE Office of Science User Facility. The work was published in the Sept. 4 issue of Nature Communications.

"Figuring out how atoms rearrange themselves in this material is important, and to our great surprise, what we expected to be a slower process is really rapid," said Gleason, who was a postdoctoral researcher at SLAC and Stanford University at the time of the 2012 experiment and is now a postdoctoral fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory. "That was not known before. LCLS gave us access to this ultrashort timescale combined with the capability to generate a shockwave, which is unique."

Fireball 5

Unique twin meteorite impacts found in Sweden

© Don Dixon/Erik Sturkell/University of Gothenburg
Illustration of a twin meteorite impact that resulted in a unique double crater in Sweden.
Twin craters in a county in Sweden have been found to be the remnants of ancient simultaneous meteorite collisions that took place about 460 million years ago, say University of Gothenburg researchers. The impacts, one very large and the other about a tenth of the size, were found in the Swedish county of Jämtland. These were not the only meteorites that landed on Earth during this time.

"Around 470 million years ago, two large asteroids collided in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, and many fragments were thrown off in new orbits. Many of these crashed on Earth, such as these two in Jämtland," Erik Sturkell, professor in the University of Gothenburg's Department of Earth Sciences, said in a news release.

During this period, Jämtland was under about 500 meters of water in that area. The impact forced the surrounding water away for a short time, during which the craters were completely dry. Sturkell explained that when the water rushed back in, it brought meteorite fragments with it and caused large sea waves. Double impacts are very unusual, and this is the first one that has been proved to land on Earth.


Cosmic climate change: Is the cause of all this extreme weather to be found in outer space?

The brown dwarf, Nemesis, is reported to be located just about 60 to 66 AU (1 AU=the distance from the Sun to Earth) from us (its perigee), currently in the direction of the constellation Sagittarius. Because of periodic gravitational disturbances in areas of space further out, specifically in the Oort Cloud, G1.9 travels in an elliptical orbit extending possibly hundreds of AU beyond the furthest known planets (its apogee). Its position just beyond Pluto suggests it is near its closest approach to the Sun and Earth.
Speculating and theorizing about the existence of yet undiscovered planets in our solar system has been bounced around for centuries. Prior to each new discovery of another outer planet has come detection of anomalies in the erratic, inexplicable motions of the outermost known planet. For instance, before Neptune's existence was determined, for decades astronomers had been theorizing that Uranus' (discovered in 1781) irregular movement may have been caused by the presence of yet another undiscovered planet. Indeed that was the case in 1846 when Neptune was first sighted and identified.

The now dethroned ninth planet Pluto discovered in 1930 (relegated in 2006 to minor dwarf planet status) and Pluto's later found moon Charon were then used to explain the observed "wobbles" in Uranus and Neptune's respective orbits. Thus, errors in calculating precise positions of known planets hold an enduring pattern of later confirmation of cause determined by each newly discovered planet. Hence, for over a century scientists have debated that yet more major planets and dwarf planets belonging to our solar system are still out there in space waiting to be found and existing anomalies to be explained.

Way back in 1940 Chilean astronomer Carlos Munoz Ferrada predicted accurately that the powers-that-be would attempt to cover-up Planet X when it comes barreling towards the earth. Ferrada referred to Nibiru/Planet X as a "Comet-Planet" because it has the size of a planet but speed and elliptical orbit of a comet.