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Fri, 23 Jun 2017
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Fire in the Sky


575-Ft Asteroid To Zoom Past Earth In Cosmic Close Call

The third near-earth asteroid of 2011 will pass between the moon and earth later this year, NASA has confirmed.

The 575-foot-wide (175 metres) asteroid, which is more than one and a half times the length of a soccer pitch, will pass within 0.85 lunar distances of the Earth on November 8, 2011.
© Unknown

Discovered on December 28, 2005 by Robert McMillan of the Spacewatch Program near Tucson, Arizona, 2005 YU55 is believed to be a very dark, nearly spherical object.

According to NASA's Near Earth Object Program: "Although classified as a potentially hazardous object, 2005 YU55 poses no threat of an Earth collision over at least the next 100 years. However, this will be the closest approach to date by an object this large that we know about in advance and an event of this type will not happen again until 2028 when asteroid (153814) 2001 WN5 will pass to within 0.6 lunar distances."

See Trajectory of Asteroid here.


Capture Comet C2009 P1 Garradd Now

What are you waiting for? If it's an engraved invitation, the consider this your pass to get out and start looking for Comet C/2009 P1 Garradd! It's well within reach of average binoculars and it's even in a position that's easy for the average observer! Step on out here into the backyard and I'll show you...

© heavens-above.com
At close to magnitude 8, Comet C/2009 P1 Garradd is currently grazing its way along the eastern line of the Summer Triangle. Even if you live in a moderately light polluted area, you should be able to make out the three bright stars, Deneb to the north, Vega to the west and Altair to the south. Just aim your binoculars roughly halfway between Altair and Deneb and begin scanning on binocular field at a time for a faint, fuzzy poofball that signifies the comet's presence. What you will see in binoculars will appear to be like a "fuzzy star" - while a telescope will reveal the beginnings of a tail.


NASA to Discuss Solar Storm Tracking Efforts Thursday

This still from a video taken by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory shows the Aug. 8, 2011 solar flare as it appeared in the ultraviolet range of the light spectrum. The flare registered as an X6.9 class sun storm, the largest of the Solar Cycle 24.
NASA will hold a press conference Thursday (Aug. 18) to discuss "new details about the structure of solar storms and the impact they have on Earth," space agency officials said in a statement.

The briefing this week will review new observations from several NASA spacecraft, including the Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (Stereo), that currently keep a close eye on the sun, agency officials said in the statement released today (Aug. 16). [Stunning Photos of Solar Flares & Sun Storms]

Thursday's briefing will be held at NASA's headquarters in Washington and will include presentations from several space weather experts.

They include:
  • Madhulika Guhathakurta, Stereo program scientist, NASA Headquarters
  • Craig DeForest, staff scientist, Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colo.
  • David Webb, research physicist, Institute for Scientific Research, Boston College
  • Alysha Reinard, research scientist, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of Colorado, Boulder
The news briefing will begin at 2 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT) and will be broadcast live on the NASA TV cable channel, as well as webcast on the agency's NASA TV website.

The sun is currently in an active phase of its 11-year solar weather cycle (the current season is called Solar Cycle 24) and has erupted with several major flares in recent weeks. The solar cycle will peak in 2013, NASA scientists have said.


Meteors Sound Like Aliens!

A space radar picked up the sounds of a meteor shower as it delighted skywatchers over the weekend.

What do meteors sounds like as they hit Earth's atmosphere? From this recording made by the U.S. Air Force Space Surveillance Radar in Texas, the "pings" from the Perseid Meteor Shower sound rather alien! The radar station in Lake Kickapoo, Texas is part of United States Strategic Command's (USSTRATCOM), which involves detecting, tracking, cataloging and identifying artificial objects orbiting Earth, such as both active and inactive satellites, spent rocket bodies, or fragments of debris from natural and man-made objects. Reportedly, the radar can detect objects as small as 10 cm (four inches) at heights up to 30,000 km.


NASA Astronaut's Amazing Picture of Perseid Meteor Shower From the International Space Station

Sometimes photographers just happen to be in the right place at the right time to capture that magic moment.

If you are a Nasa astronaut you find yourself in that position a little more often that amateur stargazers so Ron Garan makes good use of his camera on duty to help us earthbound folk share in some of his special experiences.

He took this stunning photograph of a Perseid meteor bursting into the earth's atmosphere through a window of the International Space Station on Sunday during the annual Perseid meteor shower.

© NASA/Ron Garan
Snap happy: Nasa astronaut Ron Garan took this photo of a Perseid meteor through a window in the International Space Station.

The astronaut posted his snap to Twitter with the message: 'What a "Shooting Star" looks like #FromSpace Taken yesterday during Perseids Meteor Shower...'


Your Perseid Images from Around - and Above - the World!

© Nahum Mendez Chazarra, Rojales, Spain
A Perseid through the sky.
We made a wish that our readers would send in their images of the Perseid Meteor Shower, and it came true! Despite a full Moon and clouds scattered around the world, we heard from many of you that you saw - and successfully imaged - the 2011 Perseids. Many of you took advantage of Universe Today's new Flickr group, an easy way to have readers share their astrophotos with us. Above is a colorful image of a Perseid streaking through the sky by Nahum Mendez Chazarra, in Rojales, Spain.

Below, see an image take from up above the world so high: astronaut Ron Garan on board the International Space Station captured his view looking down at a Perseid streaking through sky!

© Ron Garan
'What a shooting star looks like from space," wrote ISS astronaut Ron Garan on Twitter.


US: Reported 'Plane Down' May Have Been Meteor

© Unknown

Lauderdale County Emergency Management received a report of a plane possibly crashing Thursday night. But a search has not turned up anything.

There may or may not have been a plane crash in Lauderdale County Thursday night. It's looking increasingly like there was not.

Emergency officials got a call around 10:30 p.m. from someone who believed they saw a plane go down near the Newton- Lauderdale county line.

They spent much of the night searching for the plane, and went back out Friday morning, but did not find anything.

"Just from what he described, and the fact that we had a meteor shower last night during that time frame, I suspect we may be dealing with a meteorite that fell," said Sharp. "I don't know that, but there's no planes missing, anywhere around here. Nobody's reported anyone missing, so I have to believe that's probably what we're dealing with."

A plane from the Mississippi Civil Air Patrol was also called in to check the area, but was not able to come up with anything.


Riots, wild markets: Did space storms drive us mad?

© Reuters/ISS Crew Earth Observations experiment and Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, Johnson Space Center/Handout
This aurora australis image was taken during a geomagnetic storm that was most likely caused by a coronal mass ejection from the Sun on May 29, 2010 from The International Space Station located over the Southern Indian Ocean at an altitude of 350 kilometers (220 miles) and posted on NASA website June 21, 2010
Rollercoaster financial markets and the worst riots Britain has seen in decades have made it quite a week for a time of year that is usually so dead the newspapers are filled with "silly season" tales of amusing pet antics.

Everyone is pointing fingers -- at blundering politicians, hooded thugs, disaffected youths, bumbling police and greedy bankers -- but could the cause for all the madness really be the star at the center of our solar system?

There isn't a lot of evidence pointing to little green men involving themselves in Earthly affairs, but the sun has been throwing bursts of highly charged particles into space in a phenomenon known as coronal mass ejections or CMEs.

Comment: Something wicked this way comes...


Meteors Set to Put on a Show

© unknown

One of the most dazzling shows of the year is upon us, but don't worry - you won't need a ticket to see it live. A front-row view is as close as your own backyard.

The annual Perseid meteor shower takes centre stage this week, painting the night sky with glowing streaks of light. The spectacle begins every year in mid-July and lasts through August, but the best time to take in the show this year is when the meteor shower peaks on Friday night and early Saturday.

Unfortunately, the glare of the full moon will make it hard to see some of the more modest meteors this year. The best viewing time is expected to be just before dawn on Saturday, when the moon will be low in the sky.

The Perseids appear to originate from a point within the constellation Perseus. The number of meteors visible in the sky tends to increase as the night wears on.

According to NASA, more than a dozen meteors per hour were already visible by Tuesday.


UK: Sonic Boom Over Norfolk

© Evening News24, Norwich
An artist's impression of a meteor over Norwich.

Mystery surrounds what made the earth tremble across Norfolk in a bizarre late-night phenomenon.

Experts and amateurs alike believe a sonic boom - triggered by a meteorite or aircraft - caused strange tremors to shake homes and spook pets.

The rattling was reported by people across the county, including Norwich, North Walsham, Gayton, Belton, Cringleford and South Lopham at about 10.30pm on Tuesday.

Jonathan Larter, from Sprowston, said: "I was just going to bed and the house started shaking and doors rumbling as if the wind was blowing through the windows, but they weren't open. I thought it was a ghost outside knocking on my door because I live near a cemetery."

Alan Sharman, from City Road, Norwich, added: "My French doors rattled rather loudly at 10.30-ish. It actually sounded like someone was trying to get in. It woke me up a bit."