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Fire in the Sky


US: Missouri - Loud "BOOM" Reported Across Laclede County

Fort Leonard Wood answered numerous calls today (9-27) about a loud boom that was heard around 9:30 throughout Laclede County. According to Jeff Maddy, PIO for the Fort, some people even reported hearing it in Greene County.

One woman who emailed KSPR News said "it knocked the dust off the rafters where i work. Thunder doesn't do that!"

Another person tells KSPR News the owner of the Willard Quarry outside Lebanon told him the sound was not the result of any blasting.

Fort Leonard Wood has a cannon range on the west side of the post. It's used often by the Missouri Air National Guard for bombing practice.

"They use no live ammunition," Maddy said. "Just sacks of flour and things like that to mark the drop." Maddy said some people suggested it was a sonic boom, the sound made by a plane that breaks the sound barrier.

Maddy said one caller told him Whiteman Air Force Base told them it wasn't any of their aircraft. Maddy is waiting to hear back from the Air National Guard in St. Louis.

A woman posted on the KSPR Facebook page that she and several others heard a loud boom in Bolivar Sunday evening.


NASA Pinpoints Pacific Ocean Grave of Fallen UARS Satellite?

© NASA Marshall Space Flight Center
UARS Satellite
The defunct Upper Atmospheric Research Satellite (UARS) re-entered the atmosphere at 12:01 a.m. EDT (0401 GMT) on Saturday, falling into the Pacific at 14.1 degrees south latitude and 189.8 degrees east longitude

NASA and the military have pinned down exactly where and when a huge dead climate satellite fell to Earth on Saturday (Sept. 24).

The defunct Upper Atmospheric Research Satellite (UARS) re-entered the atmosphere at 12:01 a.m. EDT (0401 GMT) on Saturday, falling into the Pacific at 14.1 degrees south latitude and 189.8 degrees east longitude (170.2 west longitude), according to the Joint Space Operations Center at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. NASA announced the new details today (Sept. 27).

These details close the case on NASA's 6 1/2-ton UARS satellite, which was launched on a space shuttle in 1991 to study Earth's ozone layer. The satellite was decommissioned in 2005, and has been slowly losing altitude since. [Photos of NASA's Huge Falling Satellite UARS]


The Sunspots That Kicked Off This Week's Solar Storm May be Just Warming Up - Or not

That gigantic solar flare that lashed out toward Earth on Saturday is "the geomagnetic storm that just won't go away," the NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) in Boulder, Colo., said via its Facebook page today. And that appears to be true. Active Region 1302, pictured above, continues to pummel earth with solar energy and could disrupt satellite communications as it continues turning toward us in the days to come.

AR1302 unleashed a massive coronal mass ejection on Saturday that struck a glancing blow off Earth's atmosphere yesterday, triggering brilliant auroras across the Northern Hemisphere. So far, the storm hasn't caused any serious trouble here on the ground. Saturday's solar explosion didn't connect with a direct hit, and it is expected to do nothing more than continue to provide electrifying light shows to sky-gazers in Europe and Asia this evening.

But AR1302 is also not slowing down, and as the week wears on it will turn to face Earth more directly. An SWPC bulletin yesterday warned that for the next 3-5 days, we're squarely in the solar storm's sights. Another blast like Saturday's and we may feel it here on Earth in the form of disrupted communications. A larger blast could do even more damage to the power grid and other infrastructure.

Just another thrilling week in the buildup to 2013's solar maximum. See the sun as NOAA's GOES-15 sees it today below.

Today's Solar Activity, Captured by NOAA's GOES-15


New Forecast: Sun's 'Superstorms' Could Doom Satellites

One of the first images taken by SDO and still a favorite: A solar eruptive prominence as seen in extreme UV light on March 30, 2010. The superimposed image of the Earth gives a sense of just how large these eruptions can be.

Magnetic storms set off by the sun could pose a bigger threat than thought to weather, communication, military and other satellites close to Earth, with a potentially devastating economic impact, scientists suggest.

In the new study, researchers found that solar radiation can energize a belt of high-energy particles that surrounds Earth more dramatically than previously believed.

The study focused on the possible effects of a particularly strong magnetic storm on the Van Allen radiation belts, the dangerous rings of high-energy particles that girdle the Earth. The belts are split into two distinct zones. The outer belt, which is made up of electrons, reaches from about 15,800 to 31,600 miles (25,500 to 51,000 kilometers) above the surface, while the inner belt, which consists of a mix of electrons and protons, reaches from about 4,000 to 8,000 miles (6,400 to 12,800 km) above.

Scientists had known the outer belt could become far more intense during geomagnetic storms caused by high-energy particles spewed by the sun, such as the storm that supercharged Earth's northern lights display Monday night (Sept. 26). However, they have long thought such storms do not affect the inner belt.


Video: Aftermath of fireball which destroyed part of Buenos Aires - 1 dead, 8 injured

Comment: Argentinian investigators name meteorite victim, rule out gas leak behind Buenos Aires explosion

Witness who photographed Buenos Aires meteor arrested for 'giving false testimony', police force him to change his story

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


Argentinian investigators name meteorite victim, rule out gas leak behind Buenos Aires explosion

© Associated Press
A woman died and eight people were injured in an overnight house explosion in Monte Grande, Buenos Aires province. According to police sources the cause of the violent explosion remains unknown. The blast occurred around 2 am at Los Andes and Vernet streets.

The wounded were taken Santamarina hospital. Seven people are being treated, one person has been cleared. The deceased woman was identified as 43-years-old Silvina Espinoza.

Neighbors' accounts describe a ball of fire coming from the sky as the cause of the explosion. The chief of the firefighters, Guillermo Pérez, however, said the "causes remain unknown" and that "gas containers were found intact," ruling out a gas related incident.

The blast caused destruction in several structures and cars surrounding the house.


Witness who photographed Buenos Aires meteor arrested for 'giving false testimony', police force him to change his story

Buenos Aires, Argentina - An explosion wrecked two homes, a business and several cars early Monday, killing a woman and injuring nine people on the outskirts of Argentina's capital.

Early reports by some witnesses that they had seen a ball of fire fall from the sky around the time of the 2 a.m. explosion caused a sensation, but authorities said later that evidence pointed to an explosion of leaking gas.

Officials said a search by the more than 100 police and others turned up a canister of natural gas with a poor connection to a pizza oven.

After the reports of a fireball coming down, the government dispatched the large number of searchers to check for radioactivity and any material that might have come from outer space. Provincial justice and security minister Ricardo Casal said experts were "evaluating all theories, from an explosion to something strange that came from the sky."

Comment: The purported photograph of the fireball, above, captured by a young man who was later forced to confess that it was a hoax, is probably based on the reasoning that the fireball in his photograph is red, while other witnesses described seeing the fireball emanating a blue light. What the authorities don't realise is that meteors burning through the Earth's atmosphere can go through 4, 5 or more colours of the rainbow before fizzling out or impacting the ground.

Notice how the media casually dismiss "earlier reports" with fabrications about gas canisters from a leaky pizza oven obliterating a suburban street.... even though Argentinian investigators have already ruled out a gas leak.

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


Australia: Flying objects 'not mysterious'

© Unknown
Another picture, taken by a Chatswood man, of the same ``UFO'' seen by Xavier Figarella last Sunday
A second person has come forward with photographs of what some believe was a UFO travelling across the northern beaches skyline on Sunday morning.

A Chatswood man, who asked to remain anonymous, managed to capture an image of two of the mysterious objects seen by Dee Why man Xavier Figarella.

Mr Figarella claims to have seen the two objects but was only able to photograph one.

"We witnessed essentially the same phenomena ... but from a completely different angle and probably from much further away," the man said.

"I estimated the objects to be hovering over the northern beaches area."

But the man said he did not believe what he saw was a UFO.


Geomagnetic Storm-in Progress

High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras. A strong (Kp=7) geomagnetic storm is in progress.

Earth's magnetic field has been strongly disturbed since approximately 1300 UT on Sept. 26th when a CME hit our planet. The impact strongly compressed the magnetosphere, exposing geosynchronous satellites to solar wind plasma, and ignited auroras around both poles. Gordon McLellan photographed these pastels over Lake Michigan after sunset on Sept. 26th:

© Gordon McLellan
Image Taken: Sep. 26, 2011
Location: Lake Michigan, Manistee, Michigan, USA
© Gordon McLellan


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


An Argentinian official investigates the impact site in the Monte Grande suburb of Buenos Aires
A bright blue fireball fell out of the sky and smashed into a suburban neighbourhood in Buenos Aires today, killing one woman and injuring six others. In other news, the Russian prime minister is set to become the president again and again.... no, wait, back up a second. WHAT just happened in a major capital city in Latin America??

Comment: Update 27 September 2011

It turns out that far more than a single home was destroyed. The following video from local Argentinian media reveals the true scale of the destruction from this meteorite impact: