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Sat, 07 Dec 2019
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Comets


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Stars seen slinging comets at Earth for the first time

Night Sky
© VISITBRITAIN/VISITSCOTLAND
Stars and comets make unlikely dance partners. Their gravitational partnership is one that astronomers have long suspected but have never seen — until now. For the first time, a Polish group has identified two nearby stars that seem to have plucked up their icy partners, swinging them into orbits around our sun.

The astronomers found the stellar duo after studying the movements of over 600 stars that came within 13 light-years of the sun. The new findings validate a theory born more than a half-century ago, and in doing so have also shown just how rare these stellar dances can be.

Out on the far edge of the solar system, hanging like wallflowers around the planetary dance floor, is the Oort Cloud. This icy group of objects were left over after the formation of the solar system, creating a giant shell enveloping our home system that extends from 66 times the distance to Neptune to 9.23 trillion miles (14.9 trillion kilometers) away from the sun. Astronomers think the Oort Cloud is a reservoir for long-period comets — those that take more than 200 years to orbit the sun. Comet Hale-Bopp, which has a 2,500-year orbit, is one of the most famous of these long-period comets.

Since the cloud's existence was first proposed by Jan Oort in the 1950s, astronomers have suspected that every so often, a passing star might be able to pick up an object and send it swinging on a wild ride through our solar system; that ride would bring some of those comets streaming through the night sky for us to marvel at. Astronomers have spent years trying to find proof of these stellar dances, but none had been conclusively shown until now.

Fireball 2

Volcanoes, Earthquakes And The 3,600 Year Comet Cycle

In two previous articles, I proposed explanations for the events that triggered the Younger Dryas.

In the article titled Did Earth Steal Martian Waters, I described how, ca.12,500 BP, an electric discharge may have transferred part of the Martian water and atmosphere to Earth (see pink arrow on the diagram below).

In the article titled Of Flash-frozen Mammoths and Cosmic Catastrophes, I explained how, about 4 centuries earlier, ca. 12,900 BP, several cometary fragments hit the Earth's Northern hemisphere (see turquoise arrow) causing the subsequent global cooling.

Greenland temperature 18000 BP - now

Greenland temperature 18000 BP - now
While writing those articles it appeared more and more clear that these were only two of three catastrophic events that preceded the Younger Dryas. In the diagram above, we can see that a third event occurred ca. 14,400 BP (see green vertical line).

This event had an even greater magnitude than the two events that followed it since it induced a 10°C drop as compared to the two following events which 'only' induced a 7°C drop.

In the present article, we will explore the specifics of the 14,400 BP event and explain how it might be part of a larger 3,600 year cometary cycle.

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Meteor fireball videoed over Lake Mendota, Wisconsin

Fireball over Lake Mendota
© Madison
Did you see it?

A Sunday morning tweet from NOAA's Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies at the UW-Madison showing a meteor flashing over Lake Mendota drew a host of "oohs" and "ahhhs".

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Impact crater in Australia happened far more recently

Wolfe Creek Crater Australia
© Stephan Ridgway/Flickr/CC BY 2.0
In the state of Western Australia sits the famous Wolfe Creek crater, the aftermath of a 14,000-tonne meteorite crashing into Earth thousands of years ago. A new study now claims the impact happened far more recently than we suspected, prompting a rethink on how often giant space rocks actually strike our planet.

A team of researchers from universities in Australia and the US took a close look at several features of the crater's underlying rock to get a precise measurement on the age of Wolfe Creek's most famous landmark.

Previous estimates have stated the crater could be 300,000 years old, but the new result places it much closer to our time, perhaps as little as 120,000 years ago. And knowing this is not just a geological curiosity, either.

As far as neat-looking craters go, they don't tend to be much bigger. With little rain to wear away the walls of the impact site, Wolfe Creek crater has been remarkably well preserved throughout the ages. But the site also stands out for the fact it is the second largest crater on Earth to still have fragments of the offending space rock.

There's no doubt the shrapnel of far bigger blasts exist out there somewhere, but with ocean and ice covering so much of our planet's surface, and wind and rain eating away at the geology, evidence is hard to come by.

Comet 2

Leonid meteor shower light up night sky with spectacular shooting stars

Leonid meteor shower
© Reuters / Ali jareji
One of the most famous annual meteor displays, the Leonid shower, is peaking this weekend and even though this year's show could be a downer, stargazers will still be treated to occasional spectacular fireballs and shooting stars.

The Leonid is expected to be best visible in the early hours of the morning on Monday, between 2am and 4am.

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Asteroid the size of the Great Pyramid could hit Earth in 2022

Asteroid
© Creative Commons
Scientists from the American space agency claim that asteroids the size of a football field collide with our planet every 2000 years, with another giant rock now heading towards the Earth.

NASA just announced when a giant asteroid, known as JF1, would hit Earth if it continues on its current trajectory - and it's not too far from now.

The American space agency predicted that a 128-meter-long space rock - the size of the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt - could collide with our planet on 6 May 2022, potentially causing devastating consequences by wiping out an entire city just in seconds and causing millions of deaths.

As JF1 is believed to strike the Earth with a power of 230 kilotons of TNT - 15 times higher than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima that was equivalent in energy to 15 kilotons of TNT.

Comet 2

Amateur Crimean astronomer discovers new comet in solar system: C2019V1 (Borisov)

New Comet Borisov
© NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA
Gennady Borisov has been contacted by the International Astronomical Union about his latest discovery.
Not content with leading NASA to detect water from an alien star system on board an interstellar visitor, Crimean amateur astronomer Gennady Borisov has discovered another comet.

The new comet, traveling at roughly 30km per second in the patch of sky between the Lynx and Cancer constellations, marks the ninth stellar object Borisov has discovered. Unlike his previously discovered comet, dubbed 2I/Borisov, this one is a resident of our solar system.

"I discovered a new comet in early November. I have just received a letter from the Minor Planet Center of the International Astronomical Union. This is not an interstellar comet. It's an ordinary one, which is a solar system object. It got the name C2019V1 (Borisov). This is a confirmed discovery," Borisov told TASS news agency.

Fireball

Spectacular meteor fireball caught on camera above St. Louis, Missouri - Event seen from across US Midwest

Fireball over St.Louis
© Screenshot/AMS American Meteor Society
Earthcam footage captures the moment in which a fireball streaks across the Missouri nighttime sky near St. Louis' Gateway Arch.
Hundreds of local residents across the US state of Missouri were given front row tickets to a meteor show late Monday after a flaming rock streaked across the nighttime sky.

Local news station KMOV reported that the jaw-dropping meteor was spotted "from Columbia to St. Charles County and into St. Louis County and south St. Louis City," before disappearing into the night over Wellsville.

Reports of a fireball - a bright, slow-moving meteor - began to emerge at roughly 8:45 p.m. local time, with some residents reporting that the flashing rock was accompanied by the sound of a loud boom.

Comment: No, no, no. You CANNOT predict these things.

These are NOT the teensy-weensy flits you see during meteor showers. Those are 'shooting stars'.

These other things are LARGE CHUNCKS OF SPACE ROCK EXPLODING IN THE ATMOSPHERE.


Comet 2

ANOTHER one! Chelyabinsk-sized asteroid skims Earth, third close fly-by in 5 days

asteroid
© urikyo33
A 65-foot asteroid is set to shoot past the Earth at 26,843mph in a close flyby altitude of just 107,850 miles. Worryingly, NASA's space rock hunters only spotted the asteroid about a week ago.

Asteroid 2019 VD was first picked up by NASA asteroid trackers on October 25, meaning they had little time to crunch the numbers and assess the threat level.

The space rock is roughly the same size as the infamous Chelyabinsk meteor which exploded in the skies above Russia, causing widespread damage to 7,200 buildings and injuring over 1,000 people.

Comment: There was another one yesterday, and another (the 'closest ever') on Halloween.

These 'newly discovered' asteroids have been buzzing us at an alarming rate of late: According to astronomers Clube and Napier:
"...there is a great swarm of cosmic debris circulating in a potentially dangerous orbit, exactly intersecting the Earth's orbit in June (and November) every few thousand years. More surprisingly, perhaps, it has been found that the evidence for these facts was in the past deliberately concealed.

When the orbits exactly intersect, however, there is a greatly increased chance of penetrating the core of the swarm, a correspondingly enhanced flow of fireballs reaching the Earth, and a greatly raised perception that the end of the world is nigh. This perception is liable to arise at other times as well, whenever fresh debris is formed, but deep penetrations occurred during the fourth millennium BC, again during the first millennium BC, taking in at their close the time of Christ, and will likely take place yet again during the millennium to come."



Fireball 4

Halloween surprise! Asteroid narrowly missed Earth yesterday - Discovered as it flew by - Closest on record


Comment: Week after week, 'newly-discovered' asteroid after 'newly-discovered' asteroid, closer and closer...


Asteroid approaching Earth C0PPEV1

According to data from these early observations, the asteroid came closer to the surface of our planet (without actually colliding with our atmosphere) than any other close approach in NASA's database of known near-Earth objects.
Even space rocks are supplying jump scares on Halloween, just like your favorite horror flick.

A near-Earth asteroid currently identified as C0PPEV1 was spotted in the early morning hours Thursday by the Catalina Sky Survey, based in Arizona, and shortly thereafter by New Mexico's Magdalena Ridge Observatory and Arizona's Mt. Lemmon Steward Observatory.


Comment: Just to be clear (because the author isn't): it was only FIRST DISCOVERED at this point.


According to data from these early observations, the asteroid came closer to the surface of our planet (without actually colliding with our atmosphere) than any other close approach in NASA's database of known near-Earth objects.

Simulations show the asteroid passing above southern Africa within 3,852 miles (6,200 km) at the moment of closest approach, around 7:45 a.m. PT. To get an idea of how close this is, consider that many telecommunications satellites orbit at an altitude of 22,236 miles (35,786 km).

Comment: No, we were NOT getting pinged like this before.

In just the last couple of decades, there has been a steady increase in:
  • the number of 'new moons' acquired by the solar system's planets
  • impacts on bodies such as our Moon and Jupiter
  • meteor fireball events in our atmosphere
  • the number of asteroids/comets circulating the inner solar system
That is NOT all just 'thanks to better detection'. Standards are slipping in every other field, so there's no reason to suppose they're excelling in the other direction in just this one field...

These 'newly discovered' space rocks are buzzing by at an alarming frequency: A perfect occasion to read or re-read Witches, Comets and Planetary Cataclysms