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Tue, 26 Oct 2021
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The Hopewell Airburst Event

American cosmic airburst in late Roman times revealed by Tankersly and Saniel-Banrey of University of Cincinnati.
Chicxulub Impact Event
© Science
Meteorites, silicious vesicular melt glass, Fe and Si-rich magnetic spherules, positive Ir and Pt anomalies, and burned charcoal-rich Hopewell habitation surfaces demonstrate that a cosmic airburst event occurred over the Ohio River valley during the late Holocene. A comet-shaped earthwork was constructed near the airburst epicenter. Twenty-nine radiocarbon ages demonstrate that the event occurred between 252 and 383 CE, a time when 69 near-Earth comets were documented. While Hopewell people survived the catastrophic event, it likely contributed to their cultural decline. The Hopewell comet airburst expands our understanding of the frequency and impact of cataclysmic cosmic events on complex human societies.

Abstract — The Hopewell airburst event, 1699-1567 years ago(252-383 CE) — october 13, 2021

Fireball 3

Japanese astronomers record possible impact event on Jupiter

A group of Japanese astronomers just discovered a potential new impact at the planet Jupiter.
Impact Flash Jupiter
Get your scorecards out — Jupiter just took another interplanetary hit. If it's confirmed it would be the 11th observed comet or asteroid strike at the gas giant since the pieces of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 slammed into Jupiter in 1994.

A little more than a month after five amateurs independently recorded a similar flash, a team of astronomers, led by Ko Arimatsu of Kyoto University, filmed this most recent flare in Jupiter's cloud tops at 13:24 UT on Friday, October 15th.

The potential impact flash appears around the 12-second mark in this video of Jupiter made on Friday, October 15th.
Ko Arimatsu / Kyoto University

Comet 2

The mega-comet Bernardinelli-Bernstein will get as close as Saturn in 2031

Comet Comparison
© Will Gater. Used by permission.
A graphic comparing the size of Comet 2014 UN271 (Bernardinelli-Bernstein) to other solar system objects.
A mega-comet - potentially the largest ever discovered - is heading from the Oort Cloud towards our direction. Estimated to be 100-200 kilometers across, the unusual celestial wanderer will make its closest approach to the Sun in 2031. However, the closest it will come to Earth is to the orbit of Saturn.

Astronomers say Comet Bernardinelli-Bernstein (C/2014 UN271) could be the largest member of the Oort Cloud ever detected, and it is the first comet on an incoming path to be detected so far away.

The graphic above, by astronomer Will Gater compares the size of the comet to other Solar System objects.

The comet was discovered Pedro Bernardinelli and Gary Bernstein, from the University of Pennsylvania earlier this year. They were scouring through data from the 570-megapixel Dark Energy Camera (DECam) on the Víctor M. Blanco 4-meter Telescope in Chile. They found data of this object that was originally collected from 2014-2018, which did not show a typical comet tail, and the object was therefore thought to be a dwarf planet.

But within a day of the announcement of its discovery via the Minor Planet Center, astronomers using the Las Cumbres Observatory network took new images which revealed that it has grown a coma in the past 3 years, and that it was rapidly moving rapidly through the Oort Cloud. The object was then officially classified as a comet.

Comet 2

New Comet P/2021 Q5 (ATLAS)

CBET 5029 & MPEC 2021-R98 , issued on 2021, September 06, announce the discovery of a new comet (magnitude ~17) on CCD images taken on August 29.6 UT with a 0.5-m f/2 Schmidt reflector at Haleakala, Hawaii, in the course of the "Asteroid Terrestrial-Impact Last Alert System" (ATLAS) search program. The new comet has been designated P/2021 Q5 (ATLAS).

Stacking of 58 unfiltered exposures, 30 seconds each, obtained remotely on 2021, September 03.1 from G18 (ALMO Observatory, Italy) through a 0.30-m f/4 reflector + CCD, shows that this object is a comet with a compact coma about 8" arcsec in diameter and a tail 10" long in PA 270 (Observers A. Valvasori & E. Guido).

Our confirmation image (click on the images for a bigger version; made with TYCHO software by D. Parrott)
Comet P/2021 Q5 (ATLAS)
© Remanzacco Blogspot


Quadruple outburst of Comet 29P - Now at its brightest for 40 years

Comet 29P
© Martin Mobberley
Martin Mobberley captured this image of the bright outburst of Comet 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann around 9:50 UT on September 29th.
Catch one of the most active small bodies in the solar system during a rare superoutburst.

A comet infamous for its explosive personality has been in near-continuous outburst since September 25th. The brightness of Comet 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann is steadily rising, and it now appears as a tiny, 11th-magnitude object easily visible in 8-inch and larger telescopes. If you've never seen a comet masquerade as a star-like planetary nebula, don't pass up the chance — look soon. As the outburst evolves the comet's coma will expand but also fade.

Comment: The unusual outbursts of Comet 29P is just the latest in a flurry of out of the ordinary phenomena and stunning discoveries documented of late: And check out SOTT radio's:


Megacomet Bernardinelli-Bernstein is the find of a decade, here's why

© Dark Energy Survey/DOE/FNAL/DECam/CTIO/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA/P. Bernardinelli & G. Bernstein (UPenn)/DESI Legacy Imaging Surveys. Acknowledgments: T.A. Rector (University of Alaska Anchorage/NSF’s NOIRLab)/M. Zamani (NSF’s NOIRLab)/J. Miller (NSF’s NOIRLab)
An image taken by the Dark Energy Survey shows Comet Bernardinelli-Bernstein in October 2017.
The scientists that found Comet Bernardinelli-Bernstein are an unlikely pair.

Even Pedro Bernardinelli and Gary Bernstein admit they're an unlikely pair of scientists to end up with a record-breaking comet named in their honor.

Scientists briefly estimated that Comet Bernardinelli-Bernstein, as it's now known, was the largest such icy body identified to date, perhaps more than 100 miles (160 kilometers) across. Additional observations have cast that into doubt, but given the "megacomet" a new distinction: it sprouted a tail remarkably far from the sun, suggesting more revelations to come. All told, the object offers astronomers an unprecedented opportunity to watch the antics of a comet.

Comment: The reason the comet's corona and tail has surprised scientists is because the mainstream paradigm doesn't account for the electrical activity involved in the formation of its corona and tail. In Pierre Lescaudron's book Earth Changes and the Human-Cosmic Connection he summarises it as follows:
The fundamental difference between asteroids and comets is not their chemical composition, i.e. dirty, fluffy icy comets vs. rocky asteroids. Rather, as has long been put forward by plasma theorists, what differentiates 'comets' from 'asteroids' is their electric activity.

When the electric potential difference between an asteroid and the surrounding plasma is not too high, the asteroid exhibits a dark discharge mode1 or no discharge at all. But when the potential difference is high enough, the asteroid switches to a glowing discharge mode.2 At this point the asteroid is a comet. From this perspective, a comet is simply a glowing asteroid and an asteroid is a non-glowing comet. Thus the very same body can, successively, be a comet, then an asteroid, then a comet, etc., depending on variation in the ambient electric field it is subjected to.3
2) An intense circulation of ions and electrons occurs between the asteroid and the surrounding space. The energy provided by this intense transfer 'excites' electrons which generate photons, hence the glow of the asteroid. See: Meichsner, J. Nonthermal Plasma Chemistry and Physics, p.117

Comment: See also: And check out SOTT radio's:

Comet 2

Study confirms that it was a giant meteorite impact that caused massive extinction in the late Cretaceous

Impact Event
© Universitat de Barcelona
The Zumaia cliffs are characterized by an exceptional section of strata that reveals the geological history of the Earth in the period of 115-50 million years ago (Ma).
A study published in the journal Geology rules out that extreme volcanic episodes had any influence on the massive extinction of species in the late Cretaceous. The results confirm the hypothesis that it was a giant meteorite impact what caused the great biological crisis that ended up with the non-avian dinosaur lineages and other marine and terrestrial organisms 66 million years ago.

The study was carried out by the researcher Sietske Batenburg, from the Faculty of Earth Sciences of the University of Barcelona, and the experts Vicente Gilabert, Ignacio Arenillas and José Antonio Arz, from the University Research Institute on Environmental Sciences of Aragon (IUCA-University of Zaragoza).

K/Pg boundary: the great extinction of the Cretaceous in Zumaia coasts

The scenario of this study were the Zumaia cliffs (Basque Country), which have an exceptional section of strata that reveals the geological history of the Earth in the period of 115-50 million years ago (Ma). In this environment, the team analyzed sediments and rocks that are rich in microfossils that were deposited between 66.4 and 65.4 Ma, a time interval that includes the known Cretaceous/Paleogene boundary (K/Pg). Dated in 66 Ma, the K/Pg boundary divides the Mesozoic and Cenozoic eras and it coincides with one of the five large extinctions of the planet.

This study analysed the climate changes that occurred just before and after the massive extinction marked by the K/Pg boundary, as well as its potential relation to this large biological crisis. For the first time, researchers examined whether this climate change coincides on the time scale with its potential causes: the Deccan massive volcanism (India) ─one of the most violent volcanic episodes in the geological history of the planet─ and the orbital variations of the Earth.

"The particularity of the Zumaia outcrops lies in that two types of sediments accumulated there ─some richer in clay and others richer in carbonate─ that we can now identify as strata or marl and limestone that alternate with each other to form rhythms", notes the researcher Sietske Batenburg, from the Department of Earth and Ocean Dynamics of the UB. "This strong rhythmicity in sedimentation is related to cyclical variations in the orientation and inclination of the Earth axis in the rotation movement, as well as in the translational movement around the Sun".

These astronomic configurations ─the known Milankovitch cycles, which repeat every 405,000, 100,000, 41,000 and 21,000 years─, regulate the amount of solar radiation they receive, modulate the global temperature of our planet and condition the type of sediment that reaches the oceans. "Thanks to these periodicities identified in the Zumaia sediments, we have been able to determine the most precise dating of the climatic episodes that took place around the time when the last dinosaurs lived", says PhD student Vicente Gilabert, from the Department of Earth Sciences at UZ, who will present his thesis defence by the end of this year.


Ancient Tunguska sized airburst demolished city in Jordan Valley

Researchers present evidence that a cosmic impact destroyed a biblical city in the Jordan Valley
Ancient Airburst
© Allen West and Jennifer Rice, CC BY-ND
In the Middle Bronze Age (about 3,600 years ago or roughly 1650 BCE), the city of Tall el-Hammam was ascendant. Located on high ground in the southern Jordan Valley, northeast of the Dead Sea, the settlement in its time had become the largest continuously occupied Bronze Age city in the southern Levant, having hosted early civilization for a few thousand years. At that time, it was 10 times larger than Jerusalem and 5 times larger than Jericho.

"It's an incredibly culturally important area," said James Kennett (link is external), emeritus professor of earth science at UC Santa Barbara. "Much of where the early cultural complexity of humans developed is in this general area."

A favorite site for archaeologists and biblical scholars, the mound hosts evidence of culture all the way from the Chalcolithic, or Copper Age, all compacted into layers as the highly strategic settlement was built, destroyed and rebuilt over millennia.

But there is a 1.5-meter interval in the Middle Bronze Age II stratum that caught the interest of some researchers for its "highly unusual" materials. In addition to the debris one would expect from destruction via warfare and earthquakes, they found pottery shards with outer surfaces melted into glass, "bubbled" mudbrick and partially melted building material, all indications of an anomalously high-temperature event, much hotter than anything the technology of the time could produce.

"We saw evidence for temperatures greater than 2,000 degrees Celsius," said Kennett, whose research group at the time happened to have been building the case for an older cosmic airburst about 12,800 years ago that triggered major widespread burning, climatic changes and animal extinctions. The charred and melted materials at Tall el-Hammam looked familiar, and a group of researchers including impact scientist Allen West and Kennett joined Trinity Southwest University biblical scholar Philip J. Silvia's research effort to determine what happened at this city 3,650 years ago.

Their results (link is external) are published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports.

Fireball 3

Impact flash on Jupiter captured on video by amateur astronomers

Jupiter impact
© Harald Paleske on September 13, 2021 @ Langendorf Germany
Jupiter impact

Last night, German astronomer Harald Paleske was watching the shadow of Io create a solar eclipse in the atmosphere of Jupiter when something unexpected happened. "A bright flash of light surprised me," he says. "It could only be an impact." Follow the arrows to the fireball. [see image above]

Reviewing his video frames, Paleske quickly ruled out objects such as airplanes and satellites, which might be crossing Jupiter at the time of his observation. The fireball was fixed in Jupiter's atmosphere. It first appeared at 22:39:27 UT on Sept. 13th and remained visible for a full two seconds. The most likely explanation is a small asteroid or comet striking the giant planet; an asteroid in the 100m size range would do the trick.

Comment: Interestingly, a recent study revealed that Jupiter is actually flinging space rocks in the direction of Earth.

See also: And check out SOTT radio's:

Fireball 5

Newly discovered asteroid 2021 PH27 orbits the Sun in just 113 days

There are new discoveries to be made, even in the inner solar system. This was highlighted this past week with the announcement of the discovery of tiny asteroid 2021 PH27. The asteroid orbits the Sun in just 113 days, the shortest orbital period for any known asteroid and the second shortest orbital period for any object in the solar system next to the planet Mercury, at 88 days.

The discovery was made by astronomer Scott S. Sheppard (Carnegie Institution for Science) after searching through images taken by Ian Dell'Antonio and Shenming Fu (both Brown University) at evening twilight on August 13, 2021. Subsequent observations with multiple telescopes around the world enabled astronomers to confirm the asteroid's orbit.

An artist's conception of asteroid 2021 PH27.
© CTIO / NSF / NOIRLab / Aura / J. da Silva
An artist's conception of asteroid 2021 PH27.
The initial discovery observations were made using the Dark Energy Camera (DECam) based at the National Science Foundation's Blanco 4-meter telescope at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) complex in Chile. Although the primary mission for the Dark Energy Camera is the study of cosmic expansion, the Brown University astronomers agreed to use DECam at the beginning of their observing run to take wide-field images in the fading twilight.