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Comets

Comet 2

New Comet C/2020 H6 (ATLAS)

CBET 4768 & MPEC 2020-J23, issued on 2020, May 03, announce the discovery of a comet (magnitude ~18.5) on individual images from taken on Apr. 22 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 C/2020 H6 (ATLAS).

We performed follow-up measurements of this object while it was still on the PCCP webpage.

Stacking of 10 unfiltered exposures, 120 seconds each, obtained remotely on 2020, April 28.4 from Q62 (iTelescope network) through a 0.50-m f/6.8 astrograph + CCD + focal reducer, shows that this object is a comet with a compact coma about 10" in diameter slightly elongated toward PA 330.

Our confirmation image (click on it for a bigger version)
C/2020 H6 ATLAS
© Remanzacco Blogspot

Info

Infectious disease modeling study casts doubt on the Justinianic Plague's impact

Justinianic Plague’s Impact
© SESYNC
Annapolis, MD — Many have claimed the Justinianic Plague (c. 541-750 CE) killed half of the population of Roman Empire. Now, historical research and mathematical modeling challenge the death rate and severity of this first plague pandemic.

Researchers Lauren White, PhD and Lee Mordechai, PhD, of the University of Maryland's National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, examined the impacts of the Justinianic Plague with mathematical modeling. Using modern plague research as their basis, the two developed novel mathematical models to re-examine primary sources from the time of the Justinianic Plague outbreak. From the modeling, they found that it was unlikely that any transmission route of the plague would have had both the mortality rate and duration described in the primary sources. Their findings appear in a paper titled "Modeling the Justinianic Plague: Comparing hypothesized transmission routes" in PLOS ONE.

"This is the first time, to our knowledge, that a robust mathematical modeling approach has been used to investigate the Justinianic Plague," said lead author Lauren White, PhD, a quantitative disease ecologist and postdoctoral fellow at SESYNC. "Given that there is very little quantitative information in the primary sources for the Justinianic Plague, this was an exciting opportunity to think creatively about how we could combine present-day knowledge of plague's etiology with descriptions from the historical texts."

White and Mordechai focused their efforts on the city of Constantinople, capital of the Roman Empire, which had a comparatively well-described outbreak in 542 CE. Some primary sources claim plague killed up to 300,000 people in the city, which had a population of some 500,000 people at the time. Other sources suggest the plague killed half the empire's population. Until recently, many scholars accepted this image of mass death. By comparing bubonic, pneumonic, and combined transmission routes, the authors showed that no single transmission route precisely mimicked the outbreak dynamics described in these primary sources.

Fireball 4

Burning object recorded in New Zealand sky likely a meteor

Meteor over the Remarkables
© Matthew Willcox
Queenstown resident Matt Wilcox was lucky enough to witness what was probably a meteor on Wednesday evening.
A Queenstown man has captured some mysterious footage above the Remarkables mountain range.

Matt Wilcox was out for a walk when he spotted something odd.

"[It] was probably only visible for around a minute or so. Then it went behind the Remarkables and out of sight."

Southland Astronomical Society astronomer Mike Bailey had examined the footage and said he believed it was not a plane as it was moving too fast.

"It also looks dirty, aircraft contrails would normally be white," he added.

Info

Prof. Wickramasinghe and team share potential origin and predict progression of COVID-19

Map of Coronavirus spread
© EIN PressWire
Map of Coronavirus spread.
Scientific researchers released their findings about the source and predicted direction of the coronavirus and proposed critical measures for the pandemic.

London, UK, — Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe and his team of researchers believe that the novel coronavirus arrived on meteorites in Oct 2019 and instantaneously infected hundreds of thousands of people through the atmosphere, as meteorites were reported in China, Northern Italy, Michigan in October 2019. This is somewhat at odds with the mainstream assertion that it originated in bats in WUHAN, China. Given this disparity, they went to great lengths to produce a timely research paper to back up their argument.

In the research paper released on COVID-19, Professor Wickramasinghe puts forward several thought-provoking arguments. Notably that: "our informed view is that many people were almost simultaneously infected and naturally inoculated with the same COVID-19 virus strain."

Comet 2

New Comet C/2020 H2 (Pruyne)

CBET 4761 & MPEC 2020-H220, issued on 2020, April 28, announce the discovery of a comet (magnitude ~16.5) by Theodore A. Pruyne on four 30-s CCD exposures taken with the Catalina Sky Survey's 0.68-m Schmidt telescope. The new comet has been designated C/2020 H2 (PRUYNE).

We performed follow-up measurements of this object while it was still on the PCCP webpage.

Stacking of 55 unfiltered exposures, 10 seconds each, obtained remotely on 2020, April 27.4 from X02 (Telescope Live, Chile) through a 0.6-m f/6.5 astrograph + CCD, shows that this object is a comet with a diffuse coma about 1' arcmin in diameter.

Our confirmation image (click on it for a bigger version)
C/2020 H2 PRUYNE
© Remanzacco Blogspot

Fireball 5

Huge meteor fireball observed over Brazil

Meteor over Brazil
© Screen Capture
A large meteorite crossed the Brazilian night sky and became extinct at an altitude of 67 kilometers, just one kilometer above the cities of Nova Petrópolis, Canela and Gramado, in the south of the neighboring country.


Comment: 'Became extinct'?! What a strange turn of phrase, given what meteors will likely do to us some day...


This was reported this Saturday by the Heller and Jung Space Observatory, which recorded last Thursday how the bolide (a type of meteorite with a very intense brightness) fell in the Hortensias region, in a sect of the mountain ranges of the state of Rio Grande do Sul.

Info

19 'Centaurs' beyond Jupiter may be from another star system

Centaur Chariklo
© Illustration: ESO/L. Calçada/Nick Risinger/SkySurvey Org
Artist’s impression of the Centaur Chariklo.
Astronomers think they've found an entire population of asteroids originating from outside our solar system, according to a new paper.

The objects at the centre of this investigation aren't new discoveries. Called the Centaurs, they're mysterious asteroids that orbit in the neighbourhood of Jupiter and beyond. These objects take highly inclined orbits relative to the plane of the rest of the planets, and in at least one case, orbit the "wrong" way relative to the rest of the solar system's objects. By playing the laws of physics in reverse, scientists Fathi Namouni at the Université Côte d'Azur in France and Helena Morais at UNESP in Brazil found that 19 of these objects likely originated around another star.

Astronomers first spotted the object (514107) 2015 BZ509, now called Ka'epaoka'awela, in the Pan-STARRS survey in 2015. Analysis of this asteroid revealed something shocking: It was orbiting the wrong way around the solar system in a stable yet eccentric orbit near Jupiter, on a tilt relative to the rest of the planets.

Morais and Namouni studied that object's orbit, built a simulation, and played in reverse the behaviour of a million imaginary objects that fit Ka'epaoka'awela's orbital parameters, each with slightly different properties within the margin of error of the original observations. Most of the simulated objects either crashed into the Sun or other planets or were ejected from the solar system, but both of these cases failed to produce sensical origin stories for the asteroids once they turned the arrow of time back forward, Namouni explained. The ones that did obey the laws of physics were stable since the founding of the solar system 4.5 billion years ago. The researchers interpreted their observations as the objects having been captured from elsewhere.

Fireball

'First ever' evidence of death by meteorite recorded in Iraq in 1888, archive digitization reveals

meteor
© NASA/Robert P. Moreno Jr
An exploding meteor.
Researchers have finally found credible records of someone being killed by a falling meteorite.

On 22 August 1888, according to multiple documents found in the General Directorate of State Archives of the Presidency of the Republic of Turkey, a falling meteorite hit and killed one man and paralysed another in what is now Sulaymaniyah in Iraq.

This constitutes, according to researchers, the first-ever known proof of death by meteorite strike. And it hints there could be more such records out there, hiding in archives, waiting to be discovered.

Comment: As will become clear in the following article, far from the above story being the 'first ever' incident report, there is actually a wealth of historical data and records, dating back thousands of years, that document Meteorites, Asteroids, and Comets: Damages, Disasters, Injuries, Deaths, and Very Close Calls. The data also suggests that there are periods where there is a heightened risk and, judging by current reports, our own era has entered one of those periods.

See also: For a discussion on the above topics, check out SOTT radio's: Behind the Headlines: Earth changes in an electric universe: Is climate change really man-made?

And for documentation of fireballs and much, much more occurring in our own time, watch SOTT's monthly documentary SOTT Earth Changes Summary - March 2020: Extreme Weather, Planetary Upheaval, Meteor Fireballs:




Comet 2

New Comet P/2020 G1 (Pimentel)

CBET 4754 & MPEC 2020-H06, issued on 2020, April 17, announce the discovery of a comet (magnitude ~15) by Eduardo Pimentel on CCD images taken by Jacques, Pimentel, and J. Barros with a 0.28-m f/2.2 astrograph of the "Southern Observatory for Near Earth Research" (SONEAR) at Oliveira, Brazil. The new comet has been designated P/2020 G1 (Pimentel).

We performed follow-up measurements of this object while it was still on the PCCP webpage.

Stacking of 7 unfiltered exposures, 24 seconds each, obtained remotely on 2020, April 15.4 from Q62 (iTelescope network) through a 0.50-m f/6.8 astrograph + CCD + focal reducer, shows that this object is a comet with a compact coma about 15" in diameter and a tail 20" long in PA 90.

Our confirmation image (click on it for a bigger version)
Comet P/2020 G1 Pimentel
© Remanzacco Blogspot

Comet 2

Trio of comets grace our skies

New Comet SWAN brightens, while Comet ATLAS continues to fragment and Comet PanSTARRS holds steady.

There's a lot happening in the northern sky these days, namely lots of comets! Comet ATLAS is still worth watching, but look for the new Comet SWAN (C/2020 F8). And you can still catch a glimpse of our old friend, Comet PanSTARRS (C/2017 T2).

COMET CRAZY

Comet ATLAS (C/2019 Y4) continues to shed fragments while slowly fading and becoming more diffuse. But it ain't dead yet!

Comet ATLAS Fragmenting
© Gianluca Masi and Nick Haigh
The evolution of Comet ATLAS's fragmenting pseudo-nucleus is clearly visible in these images taken between April 6th and 14th. The brightest fragment situated off-axis from the other pieces may be the original nucleus. In the final frame note that it has developed a tiny tail of its own.
Observers are still spotting the crumbling object in 100-mm binoculars and (dimly) in 6-inch telescopes under dark skies. On April 14th at 3h UT the comet's overall magnitude had faded to 9.4, but striking changes have occurred within the inner coma. The nuclear region is now clearly elongated east-to-west with hints of fuzzy condensations visible along its length, using magnifications upward of 300× and averted vision.