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Sun, 31 May 2020
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Fire in the Sky


Loud boom shakes houses, damages window in San Juan Islands, Washington

Tuesday night, December 3 at 11:33 p.m. there was a very loud boom that shook houses in the Yacht Haven, Roche Harbor area of San Juan Island. People reported hearing the sound in Friday Harbor and in the Pear Point area.

A resident living in the center of the island near the Beaverton Valley Rock posted this photo on Facebook showing damage he says was caused by the boom.

Damaged window in San Juan Island, WA
© Via Facebook
After receiving a call about the sound, San Juan Island Sheriff's Dispatch sent a patrol car out to look around. Nothing was found.

There were other reports of a loud boom last month.


NASA announces two asteroids will pass by Earth on Christmas and the day after

Asteroid Flyby
NASA announced that two asteroids will be passing by Earth on Christmas Day and the day after. Thankfully, the chances of either asteroid colliding with the planet are extremely low.

The first asteroid, named 2019 YB1, will pass by earth on Christmas Day at around 11:41 GMT, Mirror reported. The space object is estimated to have a diameter of between 13 and 28 meters or around three times bigger than a London bus.

At its nearest point, the asteroid will be 993,000 miles from Earth. However, NASA still considers it a "close approach." The space rock will be traveling at a blazingly fast speed of 12,303 during its flyby but it won't be visible to the naked eye.

Meanwhile, the second asteroid is more massive than the first. It has an estimated diameter of between 919 and 2,034 feet (280 to 620 meters), according to FoxNews. To put it into perspective its diameter will be around the height of New York City's One World Trade Center.

The massive space object, dubbed as 310442 (2000 CH59), will be closest to Earth on December 26 at 2:54 a.m. EST, NASA confirmed. This asteroid will travel even faster than the previous one as it will likely reach a velocity of 27,500 miles per hour as it passes by the planet.

Thankfully, its path is very far from the planet that it isn't considered a threat. On the morning of December 26, the asteroid will be 4.5 million miles away.

Comment: Two more to the ever-growing list of asteroid fly-bys. One of these days, Earth will experience something more than a polite passing by of one of these space rocks. We have in the past and we will again in the future:

Fireball 2

2017 meteor over Australia was a rare 'grazing fireball'

Australia 2017 grazing fireball
© arXiv:1912.01895 [astro-ph.EP]
Long exposure images of event DN170707_01. The event lasted over 90 seconds and spanned four 30 second exposures (A, B, C, D). The fireball was first observed at 85 km altitude, reached as low as 58 km, and then was visible until 86 km before escaping the Earth’s atmosphere. The initial velocity was 16.1 km s−1 , and the exit velocity after passing through the atmosphere was about 14.6 km s−1 . The images are all oriented so that the fireball travels from left to right (west to east).
A team of researchers at Curtin University in Australia reports that a meteor that streaked across the Australian sky back in 2017 was a rare "grazing fireball." The group has written a paper describing their observations and findings and have posted it on the arXiv preprint server.

Back in 2017, a meteor tore through the atmosphere over Australia. It was notable for its duration — it lasted for approximately a minute and a half. In this new effort, the researchers have found that the object was a meteor for just a short period of time — it never struck the Earth. Instead, the object headed back out into space. Such meteors are known as grazing fireballs because they only graze the Earth's atmosphere rather than plunge through it. This is possible due to the angle at which it approaches. Like a rock that skips off the surface of a lake rather than plunging in, a meteoroid can skip off the atmosphere if its angle is very small.

The researchers with this new effort used data from Australia's Desert Fireball Network — a group of space enthusiasts who capture video of space objects that appear overhead. The network is the largest in the world and, as its name implies, is focused on learning more about space objects that make their way to Earth.

Comment: See also: Astronomers suspect 2016 meteor fireball event in Australia was caused by asteroid that had been 'captured' by Earth's gravity

Fireball 5

Asteroid to fly past Earth on Friday the 13th

Asteroid Flyby
NASA has been monitoring an asteroid which maintains an orbit around various bodies in the solar system and consistently passes through Earth's orbit with the sun. 13 near-Earth objects in total are expected to fly past Earth in December of this year.

Earth is set to have a close encounter with an enormous asteroid which is set to fly nearby Earth on Friday at a speed of almost 18,000 miles an hour (more than 28,000 km/h), according to NASA.

The upcoming pass-by is estimated to happen on 8:25 am on 13 December, the unlucky Friday the 13th. The asteroid's orbit diagram indicates that the near-Earth approach will follow the rock's intersection with Earth's orbit.

According to the space agency's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), the asteroid has an Earth-crossing orbit with the sun and will not approach from a diagonal or perpendicular direction and instead will flyby perpendicular to earth.

Fireball 3

Near-Earth asteroid numbers grow

It looks like being a busy end to 2019 for asteroid watchers.
People using telescopes to stare at the night sky on December 20 or 26 might see a distant light traversing the heavens, but proclaiming it as a harbinger of a New Testament rerun would be unwise.

The European Space Agency's Near-Earth Object Coordination Centre advises that on neither night will the Star of Bethlehem be visible, but an asteroid very likely will be.

On December 20 a 300-metre-wide rock known as (216258) 2006 WH1 will whizz by. Six days later, (310442) 2000 CH59 - a bit bigger, at 400 metres - will do the same.

There is, however, no cause for alarm, given that both will remain at least 15 times the distance from the Earth to the Moon away. (Any relationship between either and newborn messiahs will thus be coincidental rather than causal.)

This is a rather more comforting route than those taken recently by five 10-metre-wide objects, and a single two-metre object, all of which, the ESA reports, came within half a lunar distance of Earth in the first 10 days of November.

Fireball 4

Bright meteor fireball reported over Phoenix, Arizona

Arizona meteor fireball
© Twitter/Lucille Le Corre (screen capture)
By now, we all know, it didn't really happen unless it's confirmed via social media.

And that's what was happening Friday night, as numerous Twitter posts surfaced from people who said they saw a bright light streak across the nighttime sky over Phoenix sometime around 9:30 p.m.

The posts described the sight as a green streak or light, possibly a large meteor or "shooting star," but definitely more than a quick flash that such a phenomenon usually produces.

The Arizona Republic could not immediately confirm the source of the bright light, but several other Twitter posts reported seeing it from vantage points such as 32nd Street and Thomas Road, near the Phoenix Art Museum, or in north Phoenix.

Comment: The American Meteor Society has received 17 reports about a meteor fireball seen over Arizona on Saturday, December 7th 2019 around 04:26 UT.

Fireball 2

Video shows stunning meteor fireball light up sky over Houston, Texas

Meteor fireball over Houston, Texas
© Hunter Moliver
"I thought it was one of the most incredible things I have ever seen in the sky over Houston! The blue flash and the long tail were magnificent." - Hunter Moliver

Reports of fireballs flashing through the night sky have steadily increased since 2006,
according to data from the American Meteor Society.

Sometimes referred to as "shooting stars," fireballs, which are very bright, fast-moving meteors that appear to streak across the sky leaving behind a luminescent trail, are tracked by the organization, which encourages and promotes interest in meteoric astronomy.

So far this year, the organization has tracked nearly 300 events around the world compared to 2006, when only three events were reported, data showed.

Comment: The uptick in meteor fireball sightings continues as sott.net has been reporting for years now.

On Thursday, the agency received roughly 50 reports about a fireball seen over Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas. The majority of the reports came from Houston, according to the data.

Fireball 2

Bright meteor fireball streaks through night sky over Alabama

Alabama meteor
© NWS Birmingham
The National Weather Service's cameras captured a bright meteor streaking through the night sky in central Alabama.

The NWS tweeted it has received multiple reports of a "vivid and long-lasting meteor/fireball" around 7:25 p.m. Wednesday night. The video was taken at the Shelby County Airport.

If you missed tonight's shooting star, don't worry. You'll have another chance this month when the Geminids meteor shower peaks overnight from Dec. 14-15.

You can see the video below.

Comment: Meanwhile the American Meteor Society (AMS) received 150 reports of a meteor fireball over the US Midwest, including Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin the previous day on Wednesday, December 4th 2019 around 00:16 UT.


ANOTHER large asteroid, discovered last week, to make Earth fly-by on Friday

asteroid didymos didymoon
© European Space agency
AIM and Didymos binary
An asteroid as big as the Egyptian pyramids is zooming towards Earth and will squeeze past us on Friday - if it doesn't smash on to our home planet's surface. Named 2019 WR3, NASA expects the space rock to make a "close approach" to Earth later this week.

The space agency has classified the asteroid as a "near-Earth object (NEO)" which means its orbit brings it very close - in cosmic terms - to Earth.

The asteroid was first spotted late last week.

Fireball 2

Astronomers suspect 2016 meteor fireball event in Australia was caused by asteroid that had been 'captured' by Earth's gravity

asteroid earth artist impression
© Getty
Both space rocks detected recently could cause major damage if they crashed into our planet
Humans have good reason to fear comets, asteroids and other massive space objects.

Now we'd like to add 'mini-moons' to the list of heavenly bodies we should be worried about. Scientists have claimed our planet was recently hit by one of these mysterious rocks, which exploded in a gigantic fireball.

A mini-moon is an object which becomes entangled in Earth's orbit as it's zooming through space. It will either whirl around the planet harmlessly forever, zoom off back off on its journey through the solar system or, in the worst case, smash into our planet.

'Objects gravitationally captured by the Earth-Moon system are commonly called temporarily captured orbiters, natural Earth satellites, or minimoons,' scientists wrote in a new study published in The Astromomical Journal.

Comment: God, MSM reporting on space rocks is INFURIATINGLY stupid...
"Scientists say there's just no way to know when and where they'll impact us because even in our near-Earth environment they're highly unstable and unpredictable... but we're glad to report that everything was, is, and always will be JUST FINE!"
Anyway, the astronomers who published this paper have touched on something we've been wondering about: whether some (or most) of the 'slow-moving meteors' may in fact be objects that had been previously captured by Earth's gravity.

The same phenomenon is apparently occurring with respect to other planets in our solar system, whose numbers of 'moons' grow by the year. Those new 'moons' are typically accounted for by 'better observation technology', but clearly the actual numbers of 'moons' are growing...