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Mon, 11 Dec 2017
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Comet 2

NASA can't save us! Agency misses asteroid as it skims by Earth

asteroid collision
© NASA
A whale-sized asteroid has come frighteningly close to the Earth - within one-third of the distance between the Earth and the moon. What's more, NASA failed to spot the space rock until it had already passed.

The rock is estimated to have a diameter of between six and 32 meters, which would translate into enough destructive power to level a major city. The colossal mass came within 73,000 miles (117,480km) of us in early November.

According to The Watchers, a website that monitors the path of asteroids in our solar system, NASA's Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii spotted the asteroid on November 10. However, at that point, it was already heading back out to space after having skimmed the Earth just one day before.

Comment: NASA can't warn us of an asteroid they can't see and using a 'space lasso' to prevent incoming threats probably won't work either. We're on our own, folks!


Comet 2

Comet Dust: Researchers present list of 'pristine' ingredients that make up comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

Left: The surface of Rosetta’s comet. As the comet approaches the Sun
© ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA (left), ESA / Rosetta / MPS for COSIMA Team MPS / CSNSM / UNIBW / TUORLA / IWF / IAS / ESA / BUW / MPE / LPC2E / LCM / IMF / UTU / LISA / UOFC / vH & S. (right)
Left: The surface of Rosetta’s comet. As the comet approaches the Sun, frozen gases evaporate from below the surface, dragging tiny particles of dust along with them. Right: These dust grains can be captured and examined using the COSIMA instrument. Targets such as this one measuring only a few centimeters act as dust collectors. They retain dust particles of up to 100 microns in size.
The dust that comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko emits into space consists to about one half of organic molecules. The dust belongs to the most pristine and carbon-rich material known in our solar system and has hardly changed since its birth. These results of the COSIMA team are published today in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. COSIMA is an instrument onboard the Rosetta spacecraft, which investigated comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from August 2014 to September 2016. In their current study, the involved researchers including scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS) analyze as comprehensively as ever before, what chemical elements constitute cometary dust.

Comment: Also See:


Fireball 3

Russian astronomers show big 'unusual orbit' asteroid 3200 Phaethon approaching Earth - UPDATE

Russian Astronomers Show Big Asteroid Approaching the Earth
© CC0/Pixabay
The astronomer community at Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University used its own Astro-Model simulation environment to produce a virtual image of object 3200 Phaethon approaching the Earth, plus the expected Geminids meteor shower.

December 17, 2017 will see an interesting astronomic event in the form of object 3200 Phaethon approaching our planet. This is a fairly large asteroid nearly 5 kilometers in diameter, which will fly past the Earth within 10 million kilometers, close by space standards.

The asteroid derives its name from its unusual orbit that in perihelia brings it closer to the Sun than any other named asteroid (20 million kilometers). To compare: Mercury, the closest planet to the Sun in the Solar system, is 46 million kilometers from the Sun.


Comment: The activity in our sky is increasing and in the last week or so there have been at least these sightings of meteor-fireballs:

(8th Nov) Bright meteor fireball explodes over northern Germany

(13th Nov) Impressive fireball blazes over Toledo, in the South of Spain (VIDEO)

(14th Nov) 'Blue sphere with green tail' meteor fireball seen over Alsace, France

(15th Nov) Another bright meteor fireball explodes over Germany (VIDEOS)

(15th Nov) Meteor fireball recorded over Ohio

(15th Nov) Fireball streaks across Phoenix sky (VIDEO)

(15th Nov) Bright fireball-meteor lights up sky over San Juan, Argentina

And for a more in-depth look at the recent events check out: (16th Nov) Incoming! Bright bolide explodes over northern Finland (VIDEOS)


Fireball

Seasons Greetings: Three-mile-wide Asteroid 3200 Phaethon to skim Earth just before Christmas (VIDEO)

An artist’s impression of a massive space rock zooming near Earth (Picture: Science Photo Library/Getty)
© Science Photo Library/Getty
An artist’s impression of a massive space rock zooming near Earth
Planet Earth will have a terrifyingly close encounter with a three-mile-wide asteroid just over a week before Christmas.

A gigantic space rock called 3200 Phaethon is due to brush 'quite close' to our planet on December 17, Russian astronomers have revealed.

This huge asteroid is thought to cause the beautiful Geminids meteor shower which will take place between December 13 and 14, causing hundreds of bright meteors to illuminate the night sky as they burn up in Earth's atmosphere.


But NASA has also described it as a 'potentially hazardous asteroid whose path misses Earth's orbit by only 2 million miles' - which is tiny in galactic terms.


Comment: In light of recent news this is concerning, and due to the cyclical nature of these events, if not now then in the coming years: BOOM! Mysterious blasts rattling the skies are on the increase around the world - UPDATE at least 64 documented events (VIDEO)


It's about half the size of Chicxulub, the rock which wiped out the dinosaurs, and has a very unusual orbit which causes it to pass closer to the sun than any other named asteroid.


Fireball 2

Blue-green meteor shoots across East Iceland skies

Village of Breiðdalsvík
© Steinunn Ásmundsdóttir
The tiny village of Breiðdalsvík in the East Fjords. The lights were seen just above the rocks at the back of the photograph.
Locals of Breiðdalsvík in East Iceland wondered if the aliens were actually coming on Tuesday when they were surprised by strange lights shooting across the sky.

According to local paper Austurfrétt the blue-green light shot across the sky at an incredible speed. One of the witnesses was Hrafnkell Hannesson who says he was at the supermarket when the lights appeared.

Fireball 2

Geminid meteor shower: how to watch as Phaethon asteroid debris lights up Earth's skies

A view of the Geminid meteor shower Asim Patel/Wikimedia
© Asim Patel/Wikimedia
A view of the Geminid meteor shower
Photographers and sky-watchers will be treated to an awe-inspiring celestial display in December as the Geminid meteor shower lights up Earth's atmosphere.

As our planet moves through the debris field left by the Phaethon asteroid next month, flashes and trails of light will be visible overhead - as long as the weather is clear.


Phaethon, named for the son of Greek god Helios, is a rocky asteroid that orbits the Sun unusually closely.

Fireball

'Oumuamua' - Definitely not your average asteroid or comet

Oumuamua
© SpaceRef
Oumuamua.
In October astronomers were surprised by a visitor that came racing into our Solar System from interstellar space. Now, researchers using the Gemini Observatory have determined that the first known object to graze our Solar System from beyond is similar to, but definitely not, your average asteroid or comet. "This thing is an oddball," said Karen Meech of the University of Hawaii's Institute for Astronomy who leads an international team studying this interstellar interloper.

Originally denoted A2017 U1, the body now goes by the Hawaiian name 'Oumuamua, in part because of its discovery by Meech's team using the Pan-STARRS1 survey telescope on Haleakala in Hawai'i. When discovered in mid-October 'Oumuamua was only about 85 times the Earth-Moon distance away and its discovery was announced in early November.

Since its discovery 'Oumuamua has faded from view. The object's rapidly increasing distance from the Earth and Sun now makes it too faint to be studied by even the largest telescopes.

"Needless to say, we dropped everything so we could quickly point the Gemini telescopes at this object immediately after its discovery," said Gemini Director Laura Ferrarese who coordinated the Gemini South observations for Meech's group.

Fireball

Crater in Rajasthan proven to be caused by a meteorite

Ramgarh Crater
© Hindustan Times
The Ramgarh Crater in Rajasthan’s Baran district.
For long the origin of the Ramgarh crater has been a subject of debate among researchers. While some believe that it was caused by 'meteorite impact', others are of the view that it evolved from 'tectonic' or 'structural' activity or 'magmatism'.

For years the crater - located near Ramgarh village, about 12 km east of Mangrol - has been considered as a 'meteorite impact' site, but the theory lacked unambiguous evidence. However, a study by geologist Satyanarayan Rana has found diagnostic evidence of 'meteorite impact' at the crater.

Rana, a research scholar at the department of geology, Mohanlal Sukhadia University (MSU), Udaipur, has found evidence in the form of shatter cones in sandstones, planar deformation features (PDFs) and planar fractures (parallel sets of multiple planar cracks) in quartz grains.

Shatter cones are rare geological features and are only known to form in the bedrock beneath meteorite impact craters or underground nuclear explosions. PDFs are also formed by extreme shock compressions on the scale of meteor impacts.

"This regional geological structure has invited the interest of various geologists throughout the world since its discovery and the past five decades have witnessed a number of theories on the origin of this structure, but the issue of origin remained debatable," the 33-year-old PhD researcher, who started his research in 2013 and he completed it in April this year.

Comet

Astronomers discover comet shaped like a giant pink fire-extinguisher

comet path
© NASA/JPL-Caltech/IAU
Previously known as C/2017 U1 (PANSTARRS) and A/2017 U1, approaching from above, it was closest to the Sun on 9 September. Traveling at 44 kilometres per second, the comet is headed away from the Earth and Sun on its way out of the solar system.
A newly discovered object from another star system that's passing through ours is shaped like a giant pink fire extinguisher, astronomers have revealed.

Astronomers who have been observing this first-ever confirmed interstellar visitor have named it Oumuamua, which in Hawaiian means a messenger from afar arriving first.

Scientists are certain this 600-foot-long, pale pink asteroid or comet originated outside our solar system.

'I'm surprised by the elongated shape - nobody expected that,' said astronomer David Jewitt of the University of California, Los Angeles, who led the observation team that reported on the characteristics.

Fireball

Meteor fireball caught on CCTV footage over South African city

Meteor over SA
© YouTube/Roodepoort Record
A meteor in full flight is a spectacular sight that most of us don't get to see in person up close. Where real life fails, technology and social media have stepped in to make sure we don't miss a thing.

The Roodepoort Record reports that a local resident and his wife made an interesting discovery while reviewing their CCTV footage. The man wanted to assist his neighbour in Vuurlelie Street after their dog was poisoned, so he thought he would take a look at the footage.

While they might not have found information about the dog, they did discover a meteor shooting through the sky around 9PM on Sunday.

While it only lasted a few seconds, the sheer brightness and apparent proximity of the object should be enough to satisfy your curiosity.

You can see the video of the event below.