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Comets


Comet

New fragmentation event in C/2011 J2 (LINEAR)

Starting from 2014, Sept 26.9 we are constantly monitoring comet C/2011 J2 (LINEAR) and his fragment B through a 2.0-m f/10.0 Ritchey-Chretien + CCD (La Palma-Liverpool Telescope). The video below shows an animation we made using our recent obs of this comet. Time span is 9 days (from 1 Oct. to 9 Oct). The projected velocity of the fragment is of about 0.3 arcsec/day.


While performing follow-up of component B of comet C/2011 J2 on 2014, Oct 09.9 we detected a possible new diffuse fragment located in the very near proximity of main component A.
Comet

Comet Siding Spring: Close call for Mars, wake up call for Earth?

Comet Siding Spring
© NASA,ESA, ISRO
Five orbiters from India, the European Union and the United States will nestle behind Mars as comet Siding Springs passes at a speed of 200,000 km/hr (125,000 mph). At right, Shoemaker-Levy 9 impacts on Jupiter, the Chelyabinsk Asteroid over Russia.
It was 20 years ago this past July when images of Jupiter being pummeled by a comet caught the world's attention. Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 had flown too close to Jupiter. It was captured by the giant planet's gravity and torn into a string of beads. One by one the comet fragments impacted Jupiter - leaving blemishes on its atmosphere, each several times larger than Earth in size.

Until that event, no one had seen a comet impact a planet. Now, Mars will see a very close passage of the comet Siding Spring on October 19th. When the comet was first discovered, astronomers quickly realized that it was heading straight at Mars. In fact, it appeared it was going to be a bulls-eye hit - except for the margin of error in calculating a comet's trajectory from 1 billion kilometers (620 million miles, 7 AU) away.

It took several months of analysis for a cataclysmic impact on Mars to be ruled out. So now today, Mars faces a just a cosmic close shave. But this comet packs enough energy that an impact would have globally altered Mars surface and atmosphere.
Comet 2

Follow-up of splitting event in Comet C/2011 J2

Comet C/2011 J2
© Remanzacco Observatory
CBET 3979, issued on 2014 September 19, announced that observations of comet C/2011 J2 (LINEAR) (by F. Manzini, V. Oldani, A. Dan and R. Behrend) on Aug. 27.95, 28.85, and 30.91 UT led to the detection of a second, fainter, nuclear condensation (from now on Component B) located 0".8 east and 7".5 north of the main, brighter nuclear condensation (component A).

For more info about comet C/2011 J2 please see our May 2011 post on this blog by clicking here.

Whilst working on a long term morphology study on comet C/2012 K1 with N. Samarasinha and B. Mueller using the 2-meter Liverpool Telescope, we were alerted of the fragmentation event in comet C/2011 J2 and so diverted the telescope to this comet for a few days.
Comet

PanSTARRS K1, the comet that keeps going and going and going

Comet C/2012 K1 PanSTARRS
© Rolando Ligustri
Comet C/2012 K1 PanSTARRS photographed on September 26, 2014. Two tails are seen – a dust tail points off to the left and the gas or ion tail to the right.
Thank you K1 PanSTARRS for hanging in there! Some comets crumble and fade away. Others linger a few months and move on. But after looping across the night sky for more than a year, this one is nowhere near quitting. Matter of fact, the best is yet to come.

This new visitor from the Oort Cloud making its first passage through the inner solar system, C/2012 K1 was discovered in May 2012 by the Pan-STARRS 1 survey telescope atop Mt. Haleakala in Hawaii at magnitude 19.7. Faint! On its the inbound journey from the Oort Cloud, C/2012 K1 approached with an orbit estimated in the millions of years. Perturbed by its interactions with the planets, its new orbit has been reduced to a mere ~400,000 years. That makes the many observing opportunities PanSTARRS K1 has provided that much more appreciated. No one alive now will ever see the comet again once this performance is over.
Fireball 5

Rosetta update: Dirty snowball is "dry like hell"


The European Space Agency's Rosetta Mission to the comet 67/P may be rewriting everything astronomers thought they knew about the nature of comets. The latest high-resolution images of the comet nucleus have astonished scientists around the world, revealing a remarkably jagged, pitted, black as coal surface. 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."
Heart - Black

Embarrassing statistics that prove American 'healthcare' is a travesty

healthcare graphic
© unknown
The health of people in the United States is plagued by conundrums.

We spend more on healthcare than any other developed nation, yet we lead far shorter lives. A baby born on American soil is the most expensive in the world, yet our newborns have a lower chance of surviving past infancy than those born in eight other developed nations. The Affordable Care Act has made health insurance more accessible to the poor, yet bills for medications and basic hospital procedures remain strikingly high.

Here are 11 charts that show in embarrassing detail some of the many shortcomings of our healthcare system.

1. Americans don't live as long as we should.

In terms of overall life expectancy, the United States ranks 26th out of 34 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development member countries. Americans enjoy fewer years than Slovenians and Koreans, living just a tad longer than Czechs and Chileans, who used to rank far behind us.
birth life expectancy america

Comment: Only the wealthy and those whose occupations still provide decent insurance (and that is growing scarcer every year) can afford healthcare in America. The system is designed to benefit the insurance industry while sucking the life and financial resources out of most Americans.

Comet 2

New Comet: C/2014 R4 (Gibbs)

Discovery Date: September 14, 2014

Magnitude: 16.5 mag

Discoverer: A. R. Gibbs (Catalina Sky Survey)
C/2014 R4 (Gibbs)
© Aerith Net
Magnitudes Graph
The orbital elements are published on M.P.E.C. 2014-S09.
Fireball 2

Incredible video of comet fragment passing over California

© Unknown
The following video is from Time To Wake Up News facebook page, the original video of the fireball was posted by Landon Miller who works at KTVN TV and can be found here.

Video of 'fireball' witnessed over California! 9/12/2014 @ 6am Pacific.


Comment: See also: Thousands of people in California lose power after truck crash and meteor flash

Fireball 5

Shock asteroid warning: Earth faces 100 years of killer strikes beginning in 2017 - or maybe even earlier?


Comment: In light of readers' feedback regarding the following article, a few comments:

The 'science' in this article isn't really defensible. It's the 'newsworthiness' of the story that stands out for SOTT.net, just the fact that ANY kind of space threat scenario is being publicized.

A couple of possibilities as to what is going on here:

The author is 'leaking info' which, though not scientifically accurate, gets that message out there that 'something wicked this way comes'.

Alternatively, the author is writing deliberately rubbish stuff that can easily be debunked, thereby debunking anyone by association who notices that something is definitely 'up'.

Maybe a bit of both is at work; maybe something else entirely. Journalistic standards aren't exactly what they might once have been, so this could simply have been a rush-job to meet the deadline for a 'sensational' story.

But consider this: while the UK's Daily Express is 'tabloid trash', it's also owned by a media baron, a British media baron, no less, who are notoriously good at 'info-crafting'. As such, most, if not all, of its content, like all MSM, is pretty carefully vetted. If you get to hear about something, then there's generally a political reason why you're getting to hear about it.

So, SOTT.net is re-posting this article - for posterity's sake if nothing else - to take note of the fact that a British media outlet has just alerted sizeable numbers of people to the reality of imminent cosmic threat, whether intentionally, as part of a 'tar-baby' maneuver, or otherwise.

The bottom line is that the planet today - in contrast with a decade ago - IS being peppered with more and more space rocks, and more and more people are starting to take notice.

The article itself may be 'noise' - and most, unaware of the extent of the space threat, would be correct to dismiss it - but we happen to know for a fact that there is a 'signal' behind it.


© GETTY
Experts predict that asteroids are to pepper the planet from 2017
Asteroids could rain down on the earth for 100 years, shocked experts have just warned.

A previously unknown asteroid belt has been located in deep space and is now hurtling towards our part of the solar system.

It means a 'global killer' could collide with Earth as soon as 2020, wiping out life as we know it and changing the climate for millennia.

The terrifying predictions came as NASA revealed disturbing new data showing 400 impacts are expected between 2017 and 2113, based on new observational data of objects seen in space over the past 60 days.

Most will have a maximum diameter of around 100 metres - the size of seven double decker buses - and the potential to cause significant damage.

Comment: The above article has since been 'debunked' here.

What its critics don't realize is that the cosmic situation is probably even more dire than sketched out by Nathan Rao.

Regular readers will be familiar with Laura Knight-Jadczyk's investigations into the planet's repeated close encounters with comet clusters down through history...

Comets and Catastrophe

The Apocalypse: Comets, Asteroids and Cyclical Catastrophes

Comets and the Horns of Moses

... which are timely in light of the significant increase in meteor fireballs in recent years. Here are just a couple of recent hits, both coming around the same time that 'harmless' Asteroid 2014 RC made its 'fly-by' last Sunday September 7th: Rao's article is an easy target. He's right to sound the alarm, though he did so for the wrong reasons: indeed the probability of direct-hit impacts from larger bodies in our near-to-medium future is probably mathematically small. The point that both Rao and his critics miss, however, is that with more objects comes more finer material - lots of it, including the threat of comet-borne viruses. These alone can have catastrophic climate change effects for people and planet. Forget an extinction-level asteroid 200 years from now: the danger from civilization-ending cosmic catastrophe is present now.

Another reason why Rao's article is an easy target is because he made the mistake of homing in on specific space rocks. There is NO WAY TO TELL what might hit, and when. The world's observatories were focused on 2012 DA14 when, 6 hours before its scheduled fly-by, another large rock - from another direction - arrived out of nowhere to explode over Chelyabinsk, Russia!

The take-home point is that - based on multiple data points - the overall level of cometary debris in the inner solar system has massively increased in recent decades, and especially since the early 2000s. As Pierre Lescaudron wrote in his recently published 'Earth Changes and the Human-Cosmic Connection':
There has been a significant increase in the discovery of asteroids in recent decades. In 1980, there were 9,000 known asteroids in the solar system. By 2000, there were 86,000. By 2007, there were 380,000. As of 2013, the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center had data on 1.1 million asteroids.

Of the 1.1 million asteroids known in 2013, NASA announced the discovery of the 10,000th NEO - Near Earth Objects on Earth-crossing orbits - in June 2013. An alarming number especially when we know that most NEOs are discovered just as they fly past Earth, and very often inside lunar distance. Other estimates place between 100,000 and 1,000,000 more undiscovered NEOs on similar Earth-crossing orbits, increasing the current estimated total range of asteroids in the solar system to 100 million.

The number of discovered comets has also increased in recent years. While newly discovered comets were virtually nil at the beginning of the 1990s (for example, only one comet was discovered in 1995, namely 1995 O1 Hale-Bopp), by 2000 over 150 new comets were being discovered per year, a figure that increased to 265 by 2009. Note that the figures between 2009 and 2013 are not yet finalized. Once updated, I fully expect the final count for those years to be higher than the current count.

Rather appropriately, 2013 was declared the 'Year of the Comets', with a high number of active comets in the Sun's vicinity. By November 21st, 17 comets were visible with a small telescope, of which five exhibited a magnitude between +4 and +7.5 - meaning they could be seen with binoculars - and two of which (ISON and Encke) could be seen with the naked eye.

Remember, these are only the identified comets, bright enough to be observed at a long distance. Most 'comets' remain invisible (as 'asteroids') until they start glowing as a result of the heliosphere-induced electric stress they experience when they enter the solar system. If the exceptional fireball events in 2013 were anything to go by, 2014 may have even more celestial surprises in store for us.


Fireball 2

SOTT Exclusive: Massive explosion rocks Nicaraguan capital - Did part of Asteroid 2014 RC just impact Earth?

© El19Digital.com
Nicaraguan military investigators check out what appears to be an impact crater caused by a fragment from an overhead meteor/cometary explosion. Did it break off from Asteroid 2014 RC?
What was it NASA said about yesterday's 'fly-by' of Asteroid 2014 RC?
"... there will be no impact."
To their credit, they had calculated that it would pass pretty darn close, inside Earth's geosynchronous ring of communications and weather satellites, about 36,000 km from the planet's surface. What they don't factor in is that asteroids can fragment as they approach Earth, causing some fragments to change course... towards us.

A massive explosion rocked Managua, Nicaragua, around 11pm local time Saturday, September 6th. Local media are quoting local authorities as saying it was caused by an incoming meteor, which they suspect was originally part of Asteroid 2014 RC's September 7th 'fly-by'.

One of the fragments apparently made it all the way to the ground, gouging out a 12-meter wide crater next to the city's airport:


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