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Thu, 23 May 2019
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Fireball 4

Green meteor fireball spotted over Montgomery, Alabama

Green Meteor
© Andrew Yawn/Montgomery Advertiser
A home security system catches a glimpse of a piece of a comet that burned bright across the South Monday night.
Was it a dragon? A sign of the apocalypse? A warning shot from North Korea?

No, that bright, green fireball seen streaking over Montgomery early Tuesday morning was just your average piece of celestial space rock burning up in the atmosphere, according to Bill Cooke with the NASA Meteor Environment Office.

Cooke said the fireball was a fragment of a comet measuring about 5 to 6 inches in diameter. Igniting as it hurtled into the atmosphere about 54 miles above Highway 84 in Conecuh County, the fireball flew well over the speed limit at approximately 83,000 mph.

It was spotted by three NASA cameras located in Georgia and North Carolina at approximately 3 a.m., but perhaps the best footage was captured by one Montgomery resident's doorbell camera. Posted on Facebook Tuesday morning and shared with the Montgomery Advertiser, the video shows the comet briefly and brilliantly blazing by Alabama's capital, obviously late for something.

Comet 2

Evidence suggest a collision and several close encounters with comets in the last 2000 years

If you have long suspected the mainstream is being less than honest [or simply delusional] when they describe Comets as "dirty snowballs" or [more recently] "icy dirtballs" then you might be interested to discover Close Cometary Encounters are associated with sudden spikes in the level of Thorium 232.
Cometary nuclei are composed of an amalgamation of rock, dust, water ice, and frozen gases such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, methane, and ammonia.

As such, they are popularly described as "dirty snowballs" after Fred Whipple's model.

However, some comets may have a higher dust content, leading them to be called "icy dirtballs".

Dangerous Close Cometary Encounters occur when:

a) Comets collide with the Earth.
b) Comets pass directly between the Earth and the Sun.

In the second case the alignment exposes the Earth to a potential Cometary Double-Tap whereby:

1) The "gas tail" of the Comet is delivered directly into the Earth's upper atmosphere.
2) The "dust tail" of the Comet side-swipes the Earth with a debris train.


Meteor shower stuns residents of Townsville, Australia

© Townsville Bulletin
A meteor shower was seen in Townsville.
Dozens of people have reported seeing an impressive meteor shower over Townsville tonight.

The celestial event occurs when a number of meteors are seen to radiate from one point in the night sky.

Joe Martin saw the event from Bushland Beach at 7.06pm.

"I saw four or five lights that looked just like shooting stars or fireworks heading towards the ground,'' he said.

"Three of them got very bright, then I saw a flash. Then they were gone.

Fireball 5

Asteroid impact caused devastating tsunami in 11th century Britain

© Sadatsugu Tomizawa/AFP/Getty Images
A tsunami was believed to have hit Britain in the 11th century causing destruction.
A devastating tsunami caused by an asteroid impact in the Atlantic may have swept across the west coast of Britain in the 11th century, scientists believe.

The disaster is said to have submerged large numbers of villages and was mentioned in 1014 AD in the Anglo Saxon Chronicles, but there are doubts over whether the event really occurred.

Researchers say they have now found likely tsunami deposits at Marazion Marsh, Cornwall, and Chesil Beach, Dorset, from roughly the same time period that suggest the story is more than a legend.

Geographer Dr Phill Teasdale, from the University of Brighton, said: "If we can investigate this a bit more, we can talk about the geographical spread of the impact.

"Analysing the depth of the tsunami deposit can tell us whether that postulated asteroid impact in the Atlantic ocean was a reality."

Comet 2

Ancient Maya may have known about periodic meteor showers

Temple of the Jaguar Ruins
© Jon G. Fuller/VWPics/Alamy Stock Photo
The ruins of the Temple of the Jaguar (Temple I) and the North Acropolis loom over what remains of the ancient Mayan city of Tikal in El Petén, Guatemala. Two major events in the city, the coronation of the 6-year-old Lady of Tikal in 511 CE and a defeat by the city-state Caracol in the 562 CE “Star War,” took place in approximate synchrony with meteor outbursts. Recently published research suggests that the Maya may have linked the timings of events such as royal accessions and wars to astronomical predictions of meteor showers.
Using state-of-the-art computer models, an amateur historian and a professional astronomer have found evidence that many important societal events recorded in Mayan hieroglyphic inscriptions may coincide with outbursts of meteor showers related to Halley's Comet.

In newly published research, the two-person research team has found more than a dozen instances of hieroglyphic records from the Mayan Classic Period (250-909 CE) indicating that important events occurred within just a few days of an outburst of Eta Aquariid meteor showers, one of the celestial displays tied to the comet.

No Mayan astronomical records from that period survived the Spanish invasion, and the four surviving Mayan codices from later eras do not mention meteor showers. However, the researchers suspect that many significant historical events that coincided with meteor showers, like a ruler's assumption of power or a declaration of war recorded in the codices and carved in stone monuments, are not chance overlaps.

Instead, the Maya most likely predicted meteor showers, the researchers argue in a paper, already available online, that will be published in the 15 September issue of Planetary and Space Science. What's more, the ancient civilization might have purposefully timed significant occasions to coincide with portentous celestial events.

If this new research is validated by further computational tests, it would help address a longstanding puzzle, said David Asher, an astronomy research fellow at Armagh Observatory in Northern Ireland: How did the ancient Maya, a civilization that meticulously recorded astronomical information about Venus, eclipses, and seasonal patterns, fail to note meteor showers in their astronomical studies? They likely did record meteor showers, assert Asher and his colleague Hutch Kinsman, who has been an independent scholar of Mayan history and hieroglyphics for nearly 25 years, but the records were lost to us.

Fireball 4

Meteor lights up northern New Zealand skies

© Fred Thornhill
Stargazers in northern parts of the country were treated to a "fantastic sight". (File photo)
A long-tailed meteor was seen streaking across the sky on Tuesday evening.

People in northern parts of New Zealand witnessed a "shooting star" travelling west to east across the "orange sunset backdrop" at about 6:30pm.

Stargazers from Hamilton to Whangarei posted their sightings on the WeatherWatch website.

One person in Tauranga saw a "fairly sizeable fireball" trailing behind it, while someone in Auckland said it had "a red/blue head".

Fireball 4

Meteor fireball streaks across US east coast skies

Did you see a fireball streak across the sky tonight? You weren't alone.

A bright green meteor was spotted across Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland and West Virginia about 9:14 p.m., prompting more than 50 reports to the American Meteor Society. A high concentration of sightings came from the D.C. area.

"Glowing bright near the ball and lasting on its own fading at the tail," one Arlington resident wrote.

Comment: The American Meteor Society (AMS) has received over 710 reports about a fireball seen over VA, DC, PA, NJ, NY, MD, WV, RI, District of Columbia, Virginia, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, CT, New Jersey, West Virginia, OH and DE on Saturday, August 26th 2017 around 01:15 UT.

AMS event 2925-2017
© AMS (screen capture)
AMS observers map - event 2925-2017


Meteor shower from dead comet arises again after 58 years

Japanese astronomers observed the elusive "Phoenicid meteor shower" and have determined that it was spawned by the now vanished Comet Blanpain. They also found that Comet Blanpain was active, though only weakly, in the early 20th Century. This is the first time that researchers could determine the activity of a comet by observing its associated meteor shower. These results are important for understanding the evolution of minor bodies in the Solar System.

Phoenicid meteor shower
© Photo: Hiroyuki Toda/NAOJ
A bright member of the Phoenicid meteor shower appears at the bottom left of this photo taken at 02h15m39s UT on December 2, 2014. The Moon is captured to the lower right of center in the photo. Camera: Pentax K-3 + SIGMA 4.5mm F2.8, 3 second exposure time, at Sandy Point, North Carolina, U.S.A…
The Phoenicid meteor shower (named after the constellation Phoenix) was discovered by the first Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition on December 5, 1956, during their voyage in the Indian Ocean. However, it has not been observed again. This has left astronomers with a mystery: where did the Phoenicids come from and where did they go?

Comet 2

Large comets more common than previously thought

An artist’s rendering of the NASA’s WISE mission, renamed NEOWISE in 2013, observing comets and other deep space objects.
Data from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission has shown that large, distant comets are more common than previously thought. This is according to research published in the Astronomical Journal. These "long-period comets" originate from the distant Oort Cloud, and the information provided by the NASA's spacecraft is contributing to a better understanding of how common these icy worldlets might be.

While most people are likely familiar with icy objects such famous comets as Halley and Shoemaker-Levy 9, the latter of which broke up and impacted the gas giant Jupiter in July 1994. These, along with nearly all of those most of us have heard about (or seen) are from the family of "short-period comets". Short-period refers to the length and distance of the period, or the time it takes to make one full orbit, of the object.

Short-period comets take less than 200 years to make a full orbit around the Sun. These are generally separated into two families: Jupiter-family comets and highly inclined long-period comets. Jupiter-family comets, of which Shoemaker-Levy 9 was one, have orbital periods of less than 20 years. Long-period comets, like Halley's Comet, have orbital periods between 20 and 200 years in length.


Asteroid Florence to sweep past Earth on September 1st

Named for Florence Nightingale, asteroid 3122 Florence is the biggest near-Earth object to pass this close since this category of objects was discovered over a century ago! It might be visible in binoculars.
Asteroid 3122 Florence
© Stellarium
Asteroid 3122 Florence – named for the founder of modern nursing – on August 27 at 11:50 pm CDT as seen from central U.S. Illustration by Eddie Irizarry using Stellarium.
The next attraction coming up in our skies after the spectacular total solar eclipse of August 21 might be an asteroid big enough to be seen in small telescopes, and maybe even in binoculars, as a small, very slow-moving "star." Asteroid 1981 ET3 - also known as 3122 Florence - is a huge space rock at least 2.7 miles (4.35 km) in diameter. According to Paul Chodas at the Center for Near Earth Object Studies:
Florence is the largest asteroid to pass this close to our planet since the first near-Earth asteroid was discovered over a century ago.
Asteroid 3122 Florence will safely pass by our planet on September 1, 2017 at over 18 times the Earth-moon distance. The asteroid will not be visible to the unaided eye. It will, however, become visible in small amateur telescopes by late August, in the course of what will become the closest encounter to Earth by this asteroid since 1890.