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Thu, 01 Oct 2020
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Comets

Comet 2

New Comet C/2019 Y1 (ATLAS)

CBET 4708 & MPEC 2020-A72, issued on 2020, January 05, announce the discovery of a comet (magnitude ~18) in the course of the "Asteroid Terrestrial-Impact Last Alert System" (ATLAS) search program, in images taken on 2019, Dec 16 with a 0.5-m reflector + CCD. The new comet has been designated C/2019 Y1 (ATLAS).

I performed follow-up measurements of this object while it was still on the PCCP webpage. Stacking of 28 unfiltered exposures, 30 seconds each, obtained remotely on 2019, December 20.15 from X02 Telescope Live network (El Sauce, Chile) through a 0.6-m f/6.5 reflector + CCD, shows that this object is a comet with a sharp central condensation and a diffuse irregular coma about 15 arcsec in diameter elongated in PA 90.

My confirmation image (click on it for a bigger version)
Comet C/2019 Y1 Atlas
© Remanzacco Blogspot

Fireball 5

Asteroid to fly past Earth on Friday the 13th

Asteroid Flyby
© CCO
NASA has been monitoring an asteroid which maintains an orbit around various bodies in the solar system and consistently passes through Earth's orbit with the sun. 13 near-Earth objects in total are expected to fly past Earth in December of this year.

Earth is set to have a close encounter with an enormous asteroid which is set to fly nearby Earth on Friday at a speed of almost 18,000 miles an hour (more than 28,000 km/h), according to NASA.

The upcoming pass-by is estimated to happen on 8:25 am on 13 December, the unlucky Friday the 13th. The asteroid's orbit diagram indicates that the near-Earth approach will follow the rock's intersection with Earth's orbit.

According to the space agency's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), the asteroid has an Earth-crossing orbit with the sun and will not approach from a diagonal or perpendicular direction and instead will flyby perpendicular to earth.

Fireball 3

Near-Earth asteroid numbers grow

Asteroid
© SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY - ANDRZEJ/GETTY IMAGES
It looks like being a busy end to 2019 for asteroid watchers.
People using telescopes to stare at the night sky on December 20 or 26 might see a distant light traversing the heavens, but proclaiming it as a harbinger of a New Testament rerun would be unwise.

The European Space Agency's Near-Earth Object Coordination Centre advises that on neither night will the Star of Bethlehem be visible, but an asteroid very likely will be.

On December 20 a 300-metre-wide rock known as (216258) 2006 WH1 will whizz by. Six days later, (310442) 2000 CH59 - a bit bigger, at 400 metres - will do the same.

There is, however, no cause for alarm, given that both will remain at least 15 times the distance from the Earth to the Moon away. (Any relationship between either and newborn messiahs will thus be coincidental rather than causal.)

This is a rather more comforting route than those taken recently by five 10-metre-wide objects, and a single two-metre object, all of which, the ESA reports, came within half a lunar distance of Earth in the first 10 days of November.

Info

Stars seen slinging comets at Earth for the first time

Night Sky
© VISITBRITAIN/VISITSCOTLAND
Stars and comets make unlikely dance partners. Their gravitational partnership is one that astronomers have long suspected but have never seen — until now. For the first time, a Polish group has identified two nearby stars that seem to have plucked up their icy partners, swinging them into orbits around our sun.

The astronomers found the stellar duo after studying the movements of over 600 stars that came within 13 light-years of the sun. The new findings validate a theory born more than a half-century ago, and in doing so have also shown just how rare these stellar dances can be.

Out on the far edge of the solar system, hanging like wallflowers around the planetary dance floor, is the Oort Cloud. This icy group of objects were left over after the formation of the solar system, creating a giant shell enveloping our home system that extends from 66 times the distance to Neptune to 9.23 trillion miles (14.9 trillion kilometers) away from the sun. Astronomers think the Oort Cloud is a reservoir for long-period comets — those that take more than 200 years to orbit the sun. Comet Hale-Bopp, which has a 2,500-year orbit, is one of the most famous of these long-period comets.

Since the cloud's existence was first proposed by Jan Oort in the 1950s, astronomers have suspected that every so often, a passing star might be able to pick up an object and send it swinging on a wild ride through our solar system; that ride would bring some of those comets streaming through the night sky for us to marvel at. Astronomers have spent years trying to find proof of these stellar dances, but none had been conclusively shown until now.

Fireball 2

Volcanoes, Earthquakes And The 3,600 Year Comet Cycle

In two previous articles, I proposed explanations for the events that triggered the Younger Dryas.

In the article titled Did Earth Steal Martian Waters, I described how, ca.12,500 BP, an electric discharge may have transferred part of the Martian water and atmosphere to Earth (see pink arrow on the diagram below).

In the article titled Of Flash-frozen Mammoths and Cosmic Catastrophes, I explained how, about 4 centuries earlier, ca. 12,900 BP, several cometary fragments hit the Earth's Northern hemisphere (see turquoise arrow) causing the subsequent global cooling.

Greenland temperature 18000 BP - now

Greenland temperature 18000 BP - now
While writing those articles it appeared more and more clear that these were only two of three catastrophic events that preceded the Younger Dryas. In the diagram above, we can see that a third event occurred ca. 14,400 BP (see green vertical line).

This event had an even greater magnitude than the two events that followed it since it induced a 10°C drop as compared to the two following events which 'only' induced a 7°C drop.

In the present article, we will explore the specifics of the 14,400 BP event and explain how it might be part of a larger 3,600 year cometary cycle.

Fireball 4

Meteor fireball videoed over Lake Mendota, Wisconsin

Fireball over Lake Mendota
© Madison
Did you see it?

A Sunday morning tweet from NOAA's Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies at the UW-Madison showing a meteor flashing over Lake Mendota drew a host of "oohs" and "ahhhs".

Info

Impact crater in Australia happened far more recently

Wolfe Creek Crater Australia
© Stephan Ridgway/Flickr/CC BY 2.0
In the state of Western Australia sits the famous Wolfe Creek crater, the aftermath of a 14,000-tonne meteorite crashing into Earth thousands of years ago. A new study now claims the impact happened far more recently than we suspected, prompting a rethink on how often giant space rocks actually strike our planet.

A team of researchers from universities in Australia and the US took a close look at several features of the crater's underlying rock to get a precise measurement on the age of Wolfe Creek's most famous landmark.

Previous estimates have stated the crater could be 300,000 years old, but the new result places it much closer to our time, perhaps as little as 120,000 years ago. And knowing this is not just a geological curiosity, either.

As far as neat-looking craters go, they don't tend to be much bigger. With little rain to wear away the walls of the impact site, Wolfe Creek crater has been remarkably well preserved throughout the ages. But the site also stands out for the fact it is the second largest crater on Earth to still have fragments of the offending space rock.

There's no doubt the shrapnel of far bigger blasts exist out there somewhere, but with ocean and ice covering so much of our planet's surface, and wind and rain eating away at the geology, evidence is hard to come by.

Comet 2

Leonid meteor shower light up night sky with spectacular shooting stars

Leonid meteor shower
© Reuters / Ali jareji
One of the most famous annual meteor displays, the Leonid shower, is peaking this weekend and even though this year's show could be a downer, stargazers will still be treated to occasional spectacular fireballs and shooting stars.

The Leonid is expected to be best visible in the early hours of the morning on Monday, between 2am and 4am.

Fireball 4

Asteroid the size of the Great Pyramid could hit Earth in 2022

Asteroid
© Creative Commons
Scientists from the American space agency claim that asteroids the size of a football field collide with our planet every 2000 years, with another giant rock now heading towards the Earth.

NASA just announced when a giant asteroid, known as JF1, would hit Earth if it continues on its current trajectory - and it's not too far from now.

The American space agency predicted that a 128-meter-long space rock - the size of the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt - could collide with our planet on 6 May 2022, potentially causing devastating consequences by wiping out an entire city just in seconds and causing millions of deaths.

As JF1 is believed to strike the Earth with a power of 230 kilotons of TNT - 15 times higher than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima that was equivalent in energy to 15 kilotons of TNT.

Comet 2

Amateur Crimean astronomer discovers new comet in solar system: C2019V1 (Borisov)

New Comet Borisov
© NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA
Gennady Borisov has been contacted by the International Astronomical Union about his latest discovery.
Not content with leading NASA to detect water from an alien star system on board an interstellar visitor, Crimean amateur astronomer Gennady Borisov has discovered another comet.

The new comet, traveling at roughly 30km per second in the patch of sky between the Lynx and Cancer constellations, marks the ninth stellar object Borisov has discovered. Unlike his previously discovered comet, dubbed 2I/Borisov, this one is a resident of our solar system.

"I discovered a new comet in early November. I have just received a letter from the Minor Planet Center of the International Astronomical Union. This is not an interstellar comet. It's an ordinary one, which is a solar system object. It got the name C2019V1 (Borisov). This is a confirmed discovery," Borisov told TASS news agency.