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Sun, 20 Sep 2020
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Comets

Bizarro Earth

Did a comet zap the woolly mammoths? Scientists posit huge explosion over Canada 12,900 years ago

There are intriguing new clues in the mystery of how the woolly mammoth met its demise in North America more than 10,000 years ago.

For decades, scientists have debated whether the giant, elephant-like beasts were driven to extinction by the arrival of overzealous human hunters or by global warming at the end of the Pleistocene era, the last great Ice Age. Some say it was a combination of the two.

Recently, a group of more than two dozen scientists offered a new explanation. They have found signs that a comet -- or multiple fragments of one -- exploded over Canada about 12,900 years ago with the force equivalent to millions of nuclear weapons. That unleashed, they said, a tremendous shock wave that destroyed much of what was in its path and ignited wildfires across North America.

Gear

Let's blame humans for everything: Humans and not comet (gawd forbid) had help finishing off woolly mammoths

Humans might have finished off the woolly mammoths, but the genetics of the giants apparently helped them decline well beforehand, scientists now find.

The woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) was coated in hair up to 20 inches long and possessed extremely long, curved tusks up to 16 feet in length. The giants lived for tens of thousands of years, apparently going extinct roughly 12,000 years ago, around the end of the last ice age.

For years, scientists suspected that ancient human tribes hunted the mammoths and other ice age giants to oblivion. Recent research seems to contradict this notion, however - for instance, a comet or tuberculosis may have helped kill off the American mastodons (Mammut americanum), closely related to mammoths.

Bulb

Did A Comet Hit Great Lakes Region, Fragment Human Populations, 12,900 Years Ago?

Two University of Oregon researchers are on a multi-institutional 26-member team proposing a startling new theory: that an extraterrestrial impact, possibly a comet, set off a 1,000-year-long cold spell and wiped out or fragmented the prehistoric Clovis culture and a variety of animal genera across North America almost 13,000 years ago.

Telescope

Green Comet Lovejoy Enters Solar System From Below

Comet Lovejoy, discovered just last week by Terry Lovejoy of Thornlands, Australia, is on its way into the solar system. The existence of this lovely green comet was confirmed by John Drummond of Gisborne, New Zealand.

Telescope

New Comet Discovered - It's Green - 'Comet Lovejoy'

There's a new comet in the southern hemisphere: Comet Lovejoy (C/2007 E2). Terry Lovejoy of Australia discovered it on March 15th using, remarkably, not a telescope but only an off-the-shelf digital camera. The green comet is too dim to see with the naked eye, but it is a nice target for backyard telescopes. After five days of monitoring, the comet's orbit is now known with some accuracy and it is possible to make predictions about Comet Lovejoy's future movements and brightness. Details.

Meteor

Scientist: Comets blasted early Americans

COLUMBIA, S.C. - A supernova could be the "quick and dirty" explanation for what may have happened to an early North American culture, a nuclear scientist here said Thursday.

Richard Firestone said at the "Clovis in the Southeast" conference that he thinks "impact regions" on mammoth tusks found in Gainey, Mich., were caused by magnetic particles rich in elements like titanium and uranium. This composition, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory scientist said, resembles rocks that were discovered on the moon and have also been found in lunar meteorites that fell to Earth about 10,000 years ago.

Star

Finding what's left after the killer comet

The comet that killed the dinosaurs opened the evolutionary door for one of Earth's most diverse groups of creatures: mammals. David Archibald, Ph.D., a professor of evolutionary biology at San Diego State, has made this transition from dinosaurs to mammals his expertise.

Archibald studies early mammalian fossils and is trying to constrain the origins of the phylum to which humans belong. His research has taken him around the world in search of the remains of terrestrial creatures.

Magic Wand

Chile's Skies Light Up This Weekend With Comet Mcnaught

Look to the western sky this weekend and see what is being called the most brilliant comet to grace the space around Earth since 1965. Comet McNaught will be visible from most of Chile for the next few days, so hope that the current cloud cover will disappear and set the stage for a beautiful cosmic experience.

Bizarro Earth

Dwarf planet 'becoming a comet'

An unusual dwarf planet discovered in the outer Solar System could be en route to becoming the brightest comet ever known.

Bizarro Earth

Brightest comet in 40 years in Australian skies

THE brightest comet in Australia's skies for more than 40 years will be visible from Jan 15th, astronomers have said.

Dr James Biggs, director of the Perth Observatory, said the McNaught Comet is currently at its closest approach around the Sun and will be visible to West Australians from Monday 15th for about a week.

"It should be easy to locate. Find a vantage point with an unobstructed view and look low on the horizon near where the Sun has set, in the direction of south-west, around 9pm (WDT)," Dr Biggs said.