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Mystery of Britain's Largest Meteorite Solved

Meteorite
© The Open University
Likely the largest meteorite found in Britain, this one spans about 1.6 feet (0.5 meters) across and has been on Earth some 30,000 years.

With a weight that rivals a baby elephant, a meteorite that fell from space some 30,000 years ago is likely Britain's largest space rock. And after much sleuthing, researchers think they know where it came from and how it survived so long without weathering away.

The giant rock, spanning about 1.6 feet (0.5 meters) across and weighing 205 pounds (93 kilograms), was likely discovered by an archaeologist about 200 years ago at a burial site created by the Druids (an ancient Celtic priesthood) near Stonehenge, according to said Colin Pillinger, a professor of planetary sciences at the Open University.

Pillinger curated the exhibition "Objects in Space," which opens today (Feb. 9) and is the first time the public will get a chance to see the meteorite. The exhibition will explore not only the mystery that surrounds the origins of the giant meteorite, but also the history and our fascination with space rocks.

As for how the meteorite survived its long stint on Earth, researchers point to the ice age.

Meteor

Propaganda Alert! Space junk orbiting Earth threatens satellites, space exploration

Image
© File Photo
Meteors now posing as anthropogenic space junk?
Nighttime sky gazers looking for shooting stars sometimes catch a glimpse of a slower, brighter object streaking across the sky.

It's usually not a meteor, but rather a bolt or a paint chip that is part of the tons of debris floating in Earth's orbit, posing real dangers to space exploration.

A new film opening at Clark Planetarium on Friday called Space Junk 3D highlights some of those risks.

"What's the history of pioneers working through a new frontier? They leave behind stuff, it's what archaeologists find," said Seth Jarvis, director of the Clark Planetarium. "Space is the final frontier, and we're leaving behind stuff. The legacy of the space age includes footprints on moon, but it also includes orbiting clouds of litter that create a real challenge to orbiting activities."

Don Kessler, retired NASA senior scientist for Orbital Debris and star of the film, wrote a paper in 1978 predicting what will happen as more space junk filled Earth's orbit.

"I was trying to understand ... how long would it take before we had to worry about manmade objects colliding with one another," Kessler told The Tribune.

The answer: Right about now.

In 2007, China's military performed a test of an anti-satellite weapon. It worked, taking out a satellite and creating a massive debris cloud that will orbit for hundreds of years. Two years later, two satellites collided, again forming a huge debris cloud that puts other satellites, rockets and other space vehicles at risk.

Comment: Our immediate cosmic environment IS probably littered with junk left there by certain governments who live by the maxim that the means justify the ends. But it is the height of denial to buy into the notion that all these reports of fireballs we've been collecting are man-made objects. This 'space junk' theme is starting to smell strangely like 'anthropogenic global warming', which provides a plausible - but 'not even wrong' - cover story for Earth changes.

Forget About Global Warming: We're One Step From Extinction!


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Reports of fireball with huge tail seen over Western Australia

5 Feb 2012: 'sas' Perth - 01.10am 10 sec. Australia - Yellowish huge yellowish shooting star not that I saw. No photo

5 Feb 2012: 'Rhett' WA Kalgoorlie - 1:05:00 15 seconds. N-S, Green As the moon N/A I've never see anything like it, it had a huge tail.

5 Feb 2012: 'dan' perth, WA, Australia - 1:18 15 seconds. N-S, orange, blue, yellow brighter than moon, larger than moon none massive, bigger than moon.

5 Feb 2012: 'Tara Isaac' Perth, Western Australia - 01.10 hours approx 20 secs. E-W, Large, bright green fiery head, long white tail. Brighter than Venus. No photo, seen while driving freeway North

Meteor

East coast of US lights up as another enormous fireball streaks through sky

Image
© lunarmeteoritehunters.blogspot.com
Kudos to http://lunarmeteoritehunters.blogspot.com for putting this map of eyewitness reports together. The Neon Markers are Sighting Reports and the Red Circle Markers are Allsky Camera Locations. Hopefully one of them picked up visual of this fireball.
More than 100 people from New Jersey to North Carolina reported seeing a bright streak of light with a tail shooting through the night sky late Friday.

"It looked a lot brighter than a shooting star," German Osorio wrote on InsideNova.com's Facebook page. "Maybe only a few hundred feet up and it had that color that propane gets when it burns."

Kseniya Ledbetter of Fairfax said she spotted the fireball as she drove along Braddock Road east of Va. 28 around 10:15 p.m. "The most beautiful thing I ever saw! It was changing colors and then went out right above Hampton Chase neighborhood."

NASA, the FAA and the National Weather Service have yet to weigh in on the sky phenomena, but the website "The Latest Worldwide Meteor/Meteorite News" had more than 100 posts Saturday about the fireball from people in Virginia, New Jersey, New York, Maryland and North Carolina.

The American Meteor Society had 56 reports of a fireball sighting, again from New Jersey to North Carolina. Most reports came from Virginia and Maryland.

"Big and blue with a red tail. Looked like a meteor to us," Jessica Guido of Stafford wrote on our Facebook page.

Witnesses reported seeing the fireball between 10 and 10:30 p.m. All described it as very bright and very low.

"It was awesome, bright as could be with a hint of blue green," wrote Michele Janke, who saw the fireball along Prince William Parkway.

Comment: Reports of fireball with huge tail seen over Western Australia

Huge Fireball Over Tokyo, 2 February 2012

Fireball Photographed Over Corfu, Greece

Russia: Something fell from the sky in the village of Novobureysk

US: Wednesday night's Texas meteor so bright it was seen in Kansas

Canada: Halifax 'fireball' probably a meteor

Rhode Island, US: Extremely bright 'unexpected' meteor caught on camera


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Huge Fireball Over Tokyo, 2 February 2012


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Fireball Photographed Over Corfu, Greece

Image
© Bill Metallinos
The photo above showing a startling fireball appearing to rip apart the night sky was seen during a star observation session at Mount Pantokrator on the Greek island of Corfu. I had set my camera up to get a picture of our small group and before long this brilliant meteor lit up the surrounding landscape. It was approximately -8 magnitude or about 25 times brighter than Venus at its brightest -- so bright that we were bathed in a sea of blue-green light. You can see the reflection on my 16 in (41 cm) telescope, on the table at right-center and on the side of my car. Click here to see a short animation.

Photo details: Canon EOS 40D camera; 15mm fisheye lens; f/2.8; ISO 800; 30 second exposure; Photoshop; Cropped.

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Russia: Something fell from the sky in the village of Novobureysk

Car's DVR camera captured a UFO. A glowing object fell from the sky on the outskirts of the village Novobureysk. The footage shows the date and time: January 22, 2012, 9:10.


Meteor

Another New Comet: C/2012 B3 (LA SAGRA)

Cbet nr. 3012, issued on 2012, February 04, announces the discovery of a new comet (discovery magnitude 18.3) on CCD images taken with the 0.45-m f/2.8 reflector at La Sagra, Spain on January 29.1, 2012. The apparently asteroidal object was later noted by Jaime Nomen on La Sagra images taken on Jan. 30.2 to be a possible comet with slight diffuseness. The new comet has been designated C/2012 B3 (LA SAGRA).

We performed some follow-up measurements of this object, while it was still on the neocp. Stacking of 10 R-filtered exposures, 20-sec each, obtained remotely, from the Haleakala-Faulkes Telescope North on 2012, Jan.30.6, through a 2.0-m f/10.0 Ritchey-Chretien + CCD, under good seeing conditions, shows that this object appears "soft", compared to the nearby field stars of similar brightness (stellar FWHM of 1.2").

Our confirmation image:

La Sagra
© Remanzacco Observatory
M.P.E.C. 2012-C23 assignes the following preliminary parabolic orbital elements to comet C/2012 B3: T 2011 Nov. 29.91; e= 1.00; Peri. = 49.22; q = 3.52 AU; Incl.= 106.85

Meteor

Comet Lovejoy as seen from Australian outback

Image
© Wayne England
Out-of-this world beauty: An amazing comet streaks over a swamp in South Australia. It was captured by photographer Wayne England who was lying in wait
This is the out-of-this world photograph of the beauty of an amazing comet streaking across the cosmos.

Caught on camera over a swamp in Australia the stunning image shows the trail of the Comet Lovejoy as it passed close to Earth.

Lying in wait in the darkness in Poocher Swamp Game Reserve near Adelaide, was photographer Wayne England who took this amazing snap.

As his picture shows the darkness of the swamp and the reflection of the water made the perfect backdrop to reflect the comet zooming across the sky.

Mr England, 40, who is a member of the Astronomical Society of South Australia, said he first heard about the comet travelling close to Earth in December and had several nights to try and catch a glimpse at 4am in the morning on Christmas Eve.

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When it comes to dangerous asteroids, any solution is still a fantasy

Image
© Sarah Lazarovic for The National
Back in September, The Takeaway was gazing up at the sky in trepidation at the news that yet another piece of redundant manmade space junk was hurtling back to Earth, threatening to extensively remodel someone's lawn.

Four months later and we are ducking again, but this time the author of our fear is not some rocket scientist who forgot that what goes up must come down, but the universe itself.

It isn't, it turns out, the old tin cans we should be concerned about so much as the thousands of Near-Earth Objects (NEO) - asteroids large and small - heading our way, some with the potential to explode in our atmosphere with the force of a nuclear arsenal and cause an Extinction Level Event.

Remember the dinosaurs? Well exactly.

The good news is that we are getting quite good at spotting these things. So far Nasa, which began looking in earnest in 2005, has discovered 8,000, with another 70 popping up every month.

Comment: Exactly, then what??

It's not big kick-ass asteroids we need to be thinking about. It's the possibility of micro-meteorites and cometary dust bringing all sorts of chaos people in the modern era haven't seen before.

New Light on the Black Death: The Cosmic Connection