RONA JOHNSON COLUMN
Tue, 12 Sep 2006 12:00 UTC
On June 2, Dayne LaHooe was driving on a gravel road through Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming when something caught his eye.
"It was the most spectacular thing I've ever seen - I have never seen anything like it before," he said. LaHooe called after he read my June 10 column in the Herald about the fireball that streaked across the sky June 2.
"It shot across the sky and looked like it landed right behind the Tetons," he said.
The Manitoba Museum has been flooded with phone calls from people who spotted a strange object in the sky.
Resident astronomer Scott Young said the museum has received at least 100 calls about an eerie green light that appeared in the sky on Friday night. Young believes the object was either a small asteroid or a chunk of comet that shattered into several pieces after burning up in the Earth's atmosphere.
"The receptionist is doing nothing but answering calls and taking numbers right now and I think I'm up to 180 e-mails," he said. "Lots of people saw it."
The mysterious light seen over the Northland on Friday night was an especially bright meteor seen in at least two states and Canada.
"Anyone who saw it should count themselves as lucky -- they are probably not going to see another one like that in their lifetime," Scott Young said.
Wed, 06 Sep 2006 12:00 UTC
At the Geological Survey Institute in Rajasthan, scientists are excited about a six kg meteor that landed near two shepherds in a small village in Chittorgarh district on August 29.
Each year, about 500 meteors reach the earth, but only five or six of these actually reach the hands of scientists for scientific studies.
Tunguska cosmic body (TCB) was a comet, containing organic matter, says Russian scientist, the fellow of Troitsk Institute of Innovative and Thermonuclear Research.
With flawless precision, Mariner 4 dipped less than 10,000 km above the planet's surface and took 22 pictures. Mars was covered with desert sand and ancient craters. No cities. No canals. No Martians. No one would ever look at the red planet the same way again.
Most histories of the mission end right there, with Mariner 4 buzzing Mars - "the first spacecraft to visit the red planet" - and throwing cold water on a lot of good science fiction. But there's more to the story. After the flyby, something strange happened to Mariner 4, setting the stage for a 40-year mystery.
A meteor lit up the Hawke's Bay sky last night and burned up with a boom that rattled windows. "It was like an earthquake, but without the shaking," said one Akina woman. Maraekakaho woman Liz Wilson heard "the weirdest noise, like a V8 engine" at about 9.45pm. "We got in the car, as you do, and had a look around the place ... we so wanted to find a big, burning thing," she said. An Otane woman said her father saw a "huge, big fireball with a long tail" overhead and heading towards Elsthorpe.
If you are tired of thinking about global warming, terrorist attacks or contracting a deadly new virus, maybe you could get out of your rut by mulling over the possibility that some large celestial body may be on a collision course with our planet.
Last month, the asteroid 2004 XP14 passed some 268,873 miles (432,000 kilometers) from Earth. That distance is slightly greater than that between the Earth and the moon.
Astronomers called it "a close shave in the vastness of outer space."
"It was colored white, green and gold, and lights seemed to blow off it like it was a sparkler," said one observer, Andre Grønmo. "It looked like it was a comet, and it was around four- to five times larger than a plane, and it flew much faster."
A spectacular meteor shower might be in the offing late next summer, SPACE.com has learned.
It may not last very long, but could produce a bevy of bright, swift shooting stars for favorably positioned skywatchers. The prediction is found in a technical report, co-authored by two astronomers who are targeting Sept. 1, 2007 as the date for the potential display.
The meteors are called "Aurigids" because they appear to fan-out from the constellation of Auriga, the Charioteer.