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Wed, 23 Aug 2017
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Fire in the Sky


US: Mystery Object Reported In Sky

Omaha, Nebraska -- Many people reported seeing a bright flash of light moving across the sky early Wednesday, but it's unclear what it was exactly.

Several people from the Omaha area called KETV to report seeing the object about 3:24 a.m. A security camera at the Lincoln airport seemed to capture the mystery object moving at a fast rate above the horizon. People also called the Lancaster County Sheriff's Office after the object appeared and then disappeared in the sky.

"There was a large flash of light. The caller thought it might be a meteorite of some sort. And we got a couple of different calls on the object," Sheriff Terry Wagner said. Deputies rushed to where callers thought the object may have landed -- some six miles outside of Lincoln.

"[We] were unable to locate any debris or damage," Wagner said.

There were reports that the object was seen as far away as southwest Minnesota.

Watch security footage here.


US: Bright Flash Lights Up Sky

Truckers and at least one law officer all reported seeing a very brief but very bright flash in the sky just before 3:30 a.m. Wednesday morning. Trucker Klye Moulds was on U.S. Highway 2 east of Devils Lake, North Dakota when he saw what looked like lightning. It was colored with red, blue and green.

Another trucker near Oriska, N.D. says it was so bright he should have had sunglasses on.

A Walsh County deputy sheriff also saw the flash, which was described as a red orb.

The best guess is that the bright light was part of the Orionid meteor shower which will peak this weekend. The meteor shower occurs each October as the earth passes through a trail of dust left by Halley's comet.


US: California - Numerous meteors seen falling Tuesday morning?

Temecula - A spray of objects racing across the sky about 6:30 a.m. Tuesday east of Temecula was photographed by Chaparral High School student Karina Reyes.

© Karina Reyes
Don Yeomans of NASA's Near-Earth Object Program Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena said at least one of the objects could be part of the annual Orionid meteor shower ---- meteors left behind by Halley's Comet. The meteors became noticeable on Monday and should peak on Saturday morning.


All-Sky Camera Captures Mysterious Flashes

Every couple of weeks or so a strange flash appears on an all-sky camera that searches for meteors. What could it be? Take a look at the video above and maybe you can help solve the mystery.

"They are not iridium flares because they are stationary," said James Beauchamp, an amateur astronomer who hosts the meteor camera for Sandia National Labs and New Mexico State University, and who posted this video on You Tube. "And they are not geosynchronous satellites because the azimuth/elevation are too far North. They are reflective because they always happen just prior to or after sunrise/sunset. Whatever it is, it's slow and BIG."

Beauchamp says he see a flash like this about once every month or so. Some are really bright like this one, and others are just small blinks.


Dawn Discovers Surprise 2nd Giant South Pole Impact Basin at Strikingly Dichotomous Vesta

Scientists leading NASA's Dawn mission have discovered a 2nd giant impact basin at the south pole of the giant asteroid Vesta, which has been unveiled as a surprisingly "dichotomous" and alien world. Furthermore, the cosmic collisions that produced these two basins shuddered through the interior and created vast Vestan troughs, a Dawn scientist told Universe Today.

The newly discovered impact basin, nicknamed 'Older Basin', is actually significantly older in age compared to the initially discovered South Pole basin feature named 'Rheasilvia' - perhaps by more than a billion years. And that is just one of the many unexplained mysteries yet to be reconciled by the team as they begin to sift through the millions of bits of new data streaming back daily to Earth.

Southern Hemisphere of Vesta; Rheasilvia and Older Basin
Colorized shaded-relief map showing identification of older 375-kilometer-wide impact basin beneath and overlapping with the more recent Rheasilvia impact structure at asteroid Vesta’s South Pole.
Scientists speculate that 'Older Basin' is on the order of 3.8 Billion years old, whereas 'Rheasilvia' might be as young as about 2.5 Billion years, but those are just tentative estimates at this time and subject to change. Measurements so far indicate Rheasilvia is composed of basaltic material.


Billion Tonne Comet May Have Missed Earth By A Few Hundred Kilometres in 1883

© Unknown
Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 comet which broke apart as it re-entered the inner Solar System in 2006
A re-analysis of historical observations suggest Earth narrowly avoided an extinction event just over a hundred years ago

On 12th and 13th August 1883, an astronomer at a small observatory in Zacatecas in Mexico made an extraordinary observation. José Bonilla counted some 450 objects, each surrounded by a kind of mist, passing across the face of the Sun.

Bonilla published his account of this event in a French journal called L'Astronomie in 1886. Unable to account for the phenomenon, the editor of the journal suggested, rather incredulously, that it must have been caused by birds, insects or dust passing front of the Bonilla's telescope. (Since then, others have adopted Bonilla's observations as the first evidence of UFOs.)

Today, Hector Manterola at the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City, and a couple of pals, give a different interpretation. They think that Bonilla must have been seeing fragments of a comet that had recently broken up. This explains the 'misty' appearance of the pieces and why they were so close together.

But there's much more that Manterola and co have deduced. They point out that nobody else on the planet seems to have seen this comet passing in front of the Sun, even though the nearest observatories in those days were just a few hundred kilometres away.

Comment: Also, the reader may be interested in Was the "First Photographed UFO" a Comet? and Comet Biela and Mrs. O'Leary's Cow


Dead German Satellite Will Fall to Earth This Week

© German Aerospace Center
Artist's impression of the ROSAT satellite in space.

A defunct German satellite is expected to plunge to Earth this week, but exactly when and where the satellite will fall remains a mystery.

The massive German Roentgen Satellite, or ROSAT, is expected to plummet to Earth on Saturday or Sunday (Oct. 22 or 23), though German space officials have also offered a wider re-entry window of between Oct. 21 and Oct. 25. This latest falling satellite comes about a month after a dead NASA climate satellite, called the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS), plunged into the Pacific Ocean in late September.

The 2.4-metric ton X-ray space observatory is expected to break up as it travels through Earth's atmosphere, but some large pieces will likely make it through the intense heat of re-entry. According to German aerospace officials, approximately 1.7 metric tons of satellite debris, consisting primarily of up to 30 large glass and ceramic fragments, could survive the journey through the atmosphere and reach the Earth's surface.

"We don't expect big parts to re-enter, except the mirror and the glass and ceramic parts," Jan Woerner, head of the executive board of the Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR), Germany's space agency, told SPACE.com. "Usually during re-entry, you have rather clear burning of all the elements, but glass and ceramics may survive and may come down in bigger pieces."

Comment: So we're being warned that yet another satellite is crash to earth. What is UP that they don't want us to know about?

That ain't no satellite! Meteorite impacts Buenos Aires, Argentina


US: Maryland Residents surprised by sonic boom

Berlin, Maryland - According to the Worcester County Fire Marshal's Office, the loud noise heard throughout the north end of the county this morning was a sonic boom.

The noise heard from at least West Ocean City to Bishopville was a sonic boom, according to Worcester County Public Information Officer Kim Moses, but officials don't know what agency the associated aircraft was from.

Shortly after the roughly 9:30 a.m. sound, Maryland State Police said a variety of agencies sent officers out to investigate the loud sound that shook roofs but no one was able to determine the cause.

Comment: Another meteorite exploding in the atmosphere perhaps?


Halley's Comet to Put on Meteor Show Next Week

If you step outside before dawn during the next week or so, you might try to catch a view of some "cosmic litter" that has been left behind in space by Halley's Comet: the Orionid meteor shower.

The Orionids can best be described as a junior version of the famous Perseid meteor shower. This year's Orionids show is scheduled to reach its maximum before sunrise on the morning of Oct. 22. The meteors are known as "Orionids" because the fireballs seem to fan out from a region to the north of Orion's second brightest star, ruddy Betelgeuse.

© NASA courtesy of Meteor Physics Group, University of Western Ontario
A 2010 Orionid meteor, seen over Western Ontario, Canada. A waxing gibbous moon shines brightly at the left side of the image.


Was the "First Photographed UFO" a Comet?

On August 12th, 1883, Mexican astronomer José Bonilla was preparing to study the Sun at the recently opened Zacatecas Observatory. However, the Sun's surface was marred by numerous objects quickly travelling across its disk. Over the course of the day and the next, Bonilla exposed several wet plates to take images of the 447 objects he would observe. They weren't released publicly until January 1st, 1886 when they were published in the magazine L'Astronomie. Since then, UFOlogists have crowed these photographs as the first photographic evidence of UFOs. The chief editor of L'Astronomie passed the observations off as migrating animals, but a new study proposes the observation was due to the breakup of a comet that nearly hit us.

© Jose Bonilla
First photograph of a UFO sighting, taken 12 August 1883 by Jose Bonilla.