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Quarter-mile-wide asteroid coming close to Earth

An asteroid bigger than an aircraft carrier will dart between the Earth and moon on Tuesday - the closest encounter by such a huge rock in 35 years.

But scientists say not to worry. It won't hit.

"We're extremely confident, 100 percent confident, that this is not a threat," said the manager of NASA's Near Earth Object Program, Don Yeomans. "But it is an opportunity."

© NASA/Cornell/Arecibo
This image made from radar data taken in April 2010 by the Arecibo Radar Telescope in Puerto Rico and provided by NASA/Cornell/Arecibo shows asteroid 2005 YU55.
The asteroid named 2005 YU55 is being watched by ground antennas as it approaches from the direction of the sun. The last time it came within so-called shouting distance was 200 years ago.

Closest approach will occur at 6:28 p.m. EST Tuesday when the asteroid passes within 202,000 miles of Earth. That's closer than the roughly 240,000 miles between the Earth and the moon.

Sun

Largest Sunspot in Years Observed on the Sun

© SDO
The gigantic sunspot in the upper left of this image is about 50,000 miles (80,000 km) long and was observed on the sun by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory on Nov. 3, 2011.

One of the largest sunspots in years has appeared on the sun, darkening part of its glowing face.

The massive sunspot, called AR1339, is about 50,000 miles (80,000 km) long, and 25,000 miles (40,000 km) wide, reports SpaceWeather.com. For comparison, Earth itself is only 8,000 miles (12,800 km) wide.

The sunspot behemoth isn't yet facing our planet, but was spotted today (Nov. 3) by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) satellite. The spacecraft's photos of the giant sunspot show the solar region as it comes into view on the northeastern edge, or limb, of the sun.

When it does turn our way in the days ahead, it should be an "easy target for backyard solar telescopes," according to SpaceWeather.com.

The sunspot is actually a group of nearby darkened spots on the sun, some of which are individually wider than planet Earth.

Sun

Large sunspot group turning Earthward

One of the largest sunspots in years is rotating over the sun's northeastern limb. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory took this picture of AR1339 during the early hours of Nov. 3rd:

Image
© SDO
Measuring some 40,000 km wide and at least twice that in length, the sprawling sunspot group is an easy target for backyard solar telescopes. Two or three of the sunspot's dark cores are wider than Earth itself.

Naturally, such a large sunspot has potential for strong flares. NOAA forecasters estimate a 50% chance of M-class solar flares during the next 24 hours. One such eruption has already occured: An M4-flare at 2200 UT on Nov. 2nd produced a bright flash of extreme UV radiation (SDO movie) and hurled a coronal mass ejection (CME) into space. The CME is not heading our way. Future CMEs could have greater effect as AR1339 turns toward Earth in the days ahead.

Meteor

US: Did Meteor Fall from Sky in Pell City, Alabama?

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Bill Watts is shown at a possible meteor impact site in his backyard.
Where are FBI special agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully when you need them?

The two X-Files characters would come in handy helping a local man figure out what in the world, or maybe out of this world, caused a large, black hole to appear in his backyard, setting nearby woods on fire.

"I think it was a meteor," Bill Watts, 54, of Pell City said as he moved the wooden plywood board lying on the ground, revealing a dark, black crater at the edge of some woods on his property.

Watts admits he doesn't know exactly what made the large, round crater and caused a fire Friday at about 8 p.m.

"It had to be so hot and moving so fast to do that," he said. "This ground is pretty hard."

He gripped a post hole digger with both hands and drove it into the ground.

"See," he said.

The post hole digger barely made a mark on the hard ground.

The walls inside the crater are charred, obviously burned. A fine ash covers the bottom of the hole.

Watts took the post hole digger and carefully removed some of the burnt ashes from the bottom of the hole.

Meteor

'Continent Killer' Asteroid On Possible Collision Course With Earth

© redOrbit
On the heels of the return to Earth of a pair of satellites - NASA's Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) and the German-built Röntgensatellit (ROSAT) - over the past two months comes a report of another object set to collide with our planet.

Only this one is a 20 million ton asteroid that is currently heading towards us at 23,000 miles per hour, and could collide with our planet in approximately 25 years, Alex Hannaford of the Telegraph wrote on Sunday. The asteroid in question, Apophis, is more than 800 feet wide, comprised of a mixture of rock, ice, and dust, and has been dubbed "the continent killer."

"There are two scenarios," Hannaford writes. "The first, and thankfully most likely, is that Apophis will fly by in April 2029, the year it is due to make its first 'close approach', and that's the last we'll see or hear of it. The second is that during that approach, it'll pass through what scientists refer to as a 'keyhole' - a small area of space that can alter the asteroid's course due to Earth's gravity."

Meteor

Asteroid's Near-Miss Reminder Of Doomsday Threat

Image
© NASA
YU55 will pass near Earth on Nov. 8, scientists say
Purdue Scientist Estimates Impact Of Large Object.

Though there's no threat that it will strike Earth, a large asteroid that will pass close to the planet on Nov. 8 would have had a devastating effect if it were to hit the planet, experts said.

The aircraft carrier-sized asteroid, known as YU55, was discovered in 2005. At its closest approach, scientists project it will be 201,000 from Earth.

The near-miss is a reminder of how fragile the planet is.

Jay Melosh, a professor of earth and atmospheric sciences at Purdue University, said the impact of an object of similar size would be catastrophic, producing an earthquake of magnitude 7.0, prospects of a 70-foot tsunami and worse.

"What is unique about this asteroid flyby is that we were aware of it well in advance," Melosh said. "Before about 1980 we wouldn't know about an asteroid of this size until it was already making a close pass, but now it is unlikely that such an asteroid will approach the Earth without our knowledge."

Meteor

Sun Diving Comet, October 30th

A small comet dove into the sun during the late hours of Oct. 30th. Blasted by intense solar heat, the 'dirty snowball' disintegrated in plain view of the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO). Watch the movie below and note how the comet shrinks to a pinprick just before it vanishes.


Meteor

Comets - Not What We Expected

This video highlights recent discoveries about comets that shatter existing theories in favour of the Electric Comet Theory.

Supporting documentation and links to all the NASA quotes, web sites, and papers used in the video can be found here.

Part 1

Meteor

Fireball Recorded Entering Atmosphere over Japan on October 19

Image
Source

While you're there, check out the "etc." section for what they have captured... Very interesting!


Meteor

Three for the Show: Assessing the Potential Effects of Comets Elenin, Levy and Honda

Three For The Show Pt.1

August 16, 2011

Intro

Image
I sat down today with the full intention of writing about the comet Elenin. I started my research, first speaking with my very close friend and associate, Raymond Ward. He's incredibly informed and talented. I went through page after page on the Internet. The comments and the conclusions about these three comets that are coming put me over the top. I know, I know... We have published some pretty over the top kind of material ourselves. But we were really one of the first sites to challenge the status quo on the Internet. So what. Anyway...

One site was very slick, cool looking and had a lot of opinions; a beautifully designed and organized page. Another belonged to a former TMG friend/member, not very well done. But... well... I was going to write something very crass and very nasty... But I'll keep my boundaries intact! I'll let his design and conclusion stand for themselves and like we always say, 'you decide for yourself'! Anyway...

If you're reading this page, you are more likely than not going to be a return visitor. So you know more than the usual reader concerning comets and astronomy (but if you're new, welcome! read on!). But let me cut to the chase, save you some time, give you the facts and let you deal with what I've got to say. Here are the particulars we have seen:
1. Comets Elenin
2. Dramatic increase in the number of earthquakes
3. Dramatic increase in the number of strong earthquakes
4. Elenin positions and EQ dates coincide
5. We have been documenting clashes in our upper atmosphere
6. There has been some evidence larger ships have been over EQ sites
7. It now appears that there are three comets coming into a "conjunction" in the very near future