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Comets


Comet 2

New Comet: C/2014 N3 (NEOWISE)

Cbet nr. 3921, issued on 2014, July 13, announces the discovery of a comet (~ magnitude 17) by the Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (or NEOWISE; formerly the WISE satellite) team on images taken with the NEOWISE satellite on 2014, July 04.5. The new comet has been designated C/2014 N3 (NEOWISE).

We performed follow-up measurements of this object, while it was still on the neocp. Stacking of 10 unfiltered exposures, 60-sec each, obtained remotely on 2014, July 09.6 from Q62 (iTelescope network - Siding Spring) through a 0.50-m f/6.8 astrograph + CCD + focal reducer, shows that this object is a comet: coma about 15" in diameter elongated toward PA 200 (the comet was about +21 degree above the horizon at the moment of the imaging session).

Our confirmation image (click on it for a bigger version)
C/2014 N3 Neowise
© Remanzacco Observatory
M.P.E.C. 2014-N72 assigns the following parabolic orbital elements to comet C/2014 N3: T 2015 Mar. 15.67; e= 1.0; Peri. = 354.49; q = 3.84; Incl.= 61.73.
Comet 2

New Comet: C/2014 M3 (Catalina)

Discovery Date: June 26, 2014

Magnitude: 19.2 mag

Discoverer: R. A. Kowalski (Catalina Sky Survey)
C/2014 M3 (Catalina)
© Aerith Net
Magnitudes Graph
The orbital elements are published on M.P.E.C. 2014-N03.
Comet

New Comet: C/2014 M2 (Christensen)

Discovery Date: June 25, 2014

Magnitude: 19.4 mag

Discoverer: E. J. Christensen (Mount Lemmon)
C/2014 M2 (Christensen)
© Aerith Net
Magnitudes Graph
The orbital elements are published on M.P.E.C. 2014-N02.
Comet 2

New Comet: C/2014 M1 (PanSTARRS)

Discovery Date: June 24, 2014

Magnitude: 20.8 mag

Discoverer: Pan-STARRS 1 telescope (Haleakala)
C/2014 M1 (PanStarrs)
© Aerith Net
Magnitudes Graph
The orbital elements are published on M.P.E.C. 2014-N01.
Fireball 4

Green fireball seen over UK

© Norman Lockyer Observatory
A green fireball meteor seen over the UK has been captured on camera by an observatory in Devon.

The "bolide" meteor was seen in the West Country, Wales and the West Midlands at 03:04 BST.

The fireball is reported to have been green in colour and bright enough to cast shadows.

It was captured by two special meteor cameras at the Norman Lockyer Observatory at Sidmouth in Devon.

Elsewhere, a West Midlands Police traffic officer saw the fireball while travelling on the M42. It was filmed by the car's on-board CCTV.

An eyewitness in Cardiff described the meteor as "spectacular".

It is reported to have broken into several pieces as it entered the Earth's atmosphere.

Comet 2

New Comet: C/2014 L5 (Lemmon)

Discovery Date: June 9, 2014

Magnitude: 20.1 mag

Discoverer: R. A. Kowalski (Mt. Lemmon)

C/2014 L5 Lemmon
© Aerith Net
Magnitudes Graph
The orbital elements are published on M.P.E.C. 2014-M57.
Fireball 2

Did a meteor hit? Scientists in Odessa at a loss to explain 2 meter tidal wave that rushed ashore preceded by an obtuse sound of an explosion

Seismic graph
© EPA/ROLEX DELA PENA, File
Scientists in the city of Odessa have failed to explain for the causes of an unusually tall tidal wave that rushed ashore Friday in the city's beach areas and in the neighboring port town of Ilyichevsk.

"Measuring equipment didn't register any tremors of the crust or any other geophysical events that might have triggered a tsunami of this kind," Dr. Konstantin Yegupov, the chief of a seismic survey station at the Odessa State Academy of Construction told reporters.

He said the researchers had not confirmed the versions of either an underwater blast or the so-called rump wave.

"All the evidence available to us points to a local surge of the sea, presumably in the area of Chernomorka and the wave moved from the northeast to the southwest but we can only theorize about the nature of that surge," Dr. Yegupov said.

A special commission has been set up by the regional branch of the state service for emergency situations response to establish the causes of the phenomenon.

Comment: We have placed this article temporarily in the category Fire in the Sky as, at the moment, a cosmic origin appears to be the most likely reason.



Comet 2

Comets and meteorites on ancient coins

© www.astrostudio.at / Gerald Rhemann
The night sky was really important to ancient people. This can be hard for us to understand, living as we do in a world where light pollution denies us a clear view of the stars. What people saw in the sky - or thought they saw - they expressed as myths, as symbols, and even as designs on their coins. The crescent moon and spiky stars, for example, appear frequently on ancient coins.

Most ancient cultures believed in astrology - the notion that changes observed in the heavens above were strongly linked to events on earth below. Along with the reassuringly predictable motions of the stars and planets, more troubling things sometimes appeared in the sky.

Rare and unpredictable, comets and meteors were particularly potent symbols, and their appearance on a few ancient coins has sparked the interest of historians and astronomers as well as numismatists.

We know now that comets are large "dirty snowballs" with eccentric orbits that sometimes bring them close enough to the sun that long tails of gas and dust reflect enough sunlight to make them visible. The Greek word kometes means "long-haired." One Latin term for comet was stella crinita - "hairy star."

Aristotle thought comets were the result of combustible gas igniting in the upper atmosphere. Some ancients believed they were wandering planets. But many believed they were omens of natural or political catastrophe - wars, plagues, famines, and especially the death of rulers. This was a potential PR problem if you happened to be a king and a comet appeared.
Comet 2

New Comet: P/2014 L3 (Hill)

Discovery Date: June 10, 2014

Magnitude: 18.0 mag

Discoverer: R. E. Hill (Catalina Sky Survey)
P/2014 L3
© Aerith Net
Magnitudes Graph
The orbital elements are published on M.P.E.C. 2014-L62.
Comet 2

Are comets a bigger danger than asteroids?

Impact Event
© NASA/Don Davis
An artist's illustration depicts a massive asteroid impact on earth.
Discussions about "death from above" scenarios usually center on asteroids, but a comet impact could be far more devastating than a space rock strike.

Near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) have Earth-like orbits, so their collisions with Earth tend to be glancing blows from behind or from the side. But comets travel around the sun in more random paths and can thus slam into the planet head-on, with potentially catastrophic results, researchers say.

"It would be a much bigger explosion, a much bigger crater, much more damage," impact expert Mark Boslough, of Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico, said on June 5. He made the comment during a webcast produced by the online Slooh community observatory, which previewed the June 8 Earth flyby of the asteroid 2014 HQ124.

In fact, comets can be traveling up to three times faster than NEAs relative to Earth at the time of impact, Boslough added. The energy released by a cosmic collision increases as the square of the incoming object's speed, so a comet could pack nine times more destructive power than an asteroid of the same mass.

The speed of comets also means that a dangerous one could be nearly upon Earth by the time scientists detect it.
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