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Fri, 27 Nov 2020
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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.

Fireball

Spectacular meteor fireball caught on camera above St. Louis, Missouri - Event seen from across US Midwest

Fireball over St.Louis
© Screenshot/AMS American Meteor Society
Earthcam footage captures the moment in which a fireball streaks across the Missouri nighttime sky near St. Louis' Gateway Arch.
Hundreds of local residents across the US state of Missouri were given front row tickets to a meteor show late Monday after a flaming rock streaked across the nighttime sky.

Local news station KMOV reported that the jaw-dropping meteor was spotted "from Columbia to St. Charles County and into St. Louis County and south St. Louis City," before disappearing into the night over Wellsville.

Reports of a fireball - a bright, slow-moving meteor - began to emerge at roughly 8:45 p.m. local time, with some residents reporting that the flashing rock was accompanied by the sound of a loud boom.

Comment: No, no, no. You CANNOT predict these things.

These are NOT the teensy-weensy flits you see during meteor showers. Those are 'shooting stars'.

These other things are LARGE CHUNCKS OF SPACE ROCK EXPLODING IN THE ATMOSPHERE.


Comet 2

ANOTHER one! Chelyabinsk-sized asteroid skims Earth, third close fly-by in 5 days

asteroid
© urikyo33
A 65-foot asteroid is set to shoot past the Earth at 26,843mph in a close flyby altitude of just 107,850 miles. Worryingly, NASA's space rock hunters only spotted the asteroid about a week ago.

Asteroid 2019 VD was first picked up by NASA asteroid trackers on October 25, meaning they had little time to crunch the numbers and assess the threat level.

The space rock is roughly the same size as the infamous Chelyabinsk meteor which exploded in the skies above Russia, causing widespread damage to 7,200 buildings and injuring over 1,000 people.

Comment: There was another one yesterday, and another (the 'closest ever') on Halloween.

These 'newly discovered' asteroids have been buzzing us at an alarming rate of late: According to astronomers Clube and Napier:
"...there is a great swarm of cosmic debris circulating in a potentially dangerous orbit, exactly intersecting the Earth's orbit in June (and November) every few thousand years. More surprisingly, perhaps, it has been found that the evidence for these facts was in the past deliberately concealed.

When the orbits exactly intersect, however, there is a greatly increased chance of penetrating the core of the swarm, a correspondingly enhanced flow of fireballs reaching the Earth, and a greatly raised perception that the end of the world is nigh. This perception is liable to arise at other times as well, whenever fresh debris is formed, but deep penetrations occurred during the fourth millennium BC, again during the first millennium BC, taking in at their close the time of Christ, and will likely take place yet again during the millennium to come."



Fireball 4

Halloween surprise! Asteroid narrowly missed Earth yesterday - Discovered as it flew by - Closest on record


Comment: Week after week, 'newly-discovered' asteroid after 'newly-discovered' asteroid, closer and closer...


Asteroid approaching Earth C0PPEV1

According to data from these early observations, the asteroid came closer to the surface of our planet (without actually colliding with our atmosphere) than any other close approach in NASA's database of known near-Earth objects.
Even space rocks are supplying jump scares on Halloween, just like your favorite horror flick.

A near-Earth asteroid currently identified as C0PPEV1 was spotted in the early morning hours Thursday by the Catalina Sky Survey, based in Arizona, and shortly thereafter by New Mexico's Magdalena Ridge Observatory and Arizona's Mt. Lemmon Steward Observatory.


Comment: Just to be clear (because the author isn't): it was only FIRST DISCOVERED at this point.


According to data from these early observations, the asteroid came closer to the surface of our planet (without actually colliding with our atmosphere) than any other close approach in NASA's database of known near-Earth objects.

Simulations show the asteroid passing above southern Africa within 3,852 miles (6,200 km) at the moment of closest approach, around 7:45 a.m. PT. To get an idea of how close this is, consider that many telecommunications satellites orbit at an altitude of 22,236 miles (35,786 km).

Comment: No, we were NOT getting pinged like this before.

In just the last couple of decades, there has been a steady increase in:
  • the number of 'new moons' acquired by the solar system's planets
  • impacts on bodies such as our Moon and Jupiter
  • meteor fireball events in our atmosphere
  • the number of asteroids/comets circulating the inner solar system
That is NOT all just 'thanks to better detection'. Standards are slipping in every other field, so there's no reason to suppose they're excelling in the other direction in just this one field...

These 'newly discovered' space rocks are buzzing by at an alarming frequency: A perfect occasion to read or re-read Witches, Comets and Planetary Cataclysms


Crusader

Witches, Comets and Planetary Cataclysms

witch1
© Dot Connector Magazine
When you think of Halloween, what is the first image that comes to mind? I took a little informal poll among my friends, family and associates. Guess what image came in first? Jack-o-lanterns! Bet you thought I was going to say "witches". Well, I sure thought it would be witches, but they only came in a close second!..

When I think of Halloween, I think of grade-school art projects where we cut out silhouettes of witches to paste onto large yellow moons made of construction paper. The witch was always on a broom with her black dress flying in the wind, accompanied by a black cat sitting on the back of the broom. I wondered even then how the cat managed to stay on and why anybody would think that straddling a broomstick as a seat would be even remotely comfortable.

Comet 2

Water from beyond our solar system found on interstellar comet 2l/Borisov

Borisov
© (UCLA)
Comet Borisov, the interstellar visitor. NASA, ESA, and D. Jewitt
Water from a completely alien star system has been detected on the interstellar comet 2I/Borisov, which is currently passing through our space neighborhood.

In an extraordinary breakthrough, astronomers studying Borisov believe they have detected the tell-tale signs of water on the visiting comet. Water from another planetary system has never before been spotted inside our solar system.

Borisov was spotted by an amateur astronomer on 30 August, and the professionals have been scrambling to analyse before it flies away. Researchers had already detected gas being spewed from the comet's surface, but finding water would signal a hugely significant discovery.


Comment: See also: And check out SOTT radio's:


Comet 2

New evidence that an impact event triggered abrupt climate change 12,800 years ago

Younger Dryas  Event
© Christopher R. Moore, CC BY-ND
The muck that’s been accumulating at the bottom of this lake for 20,000 years is like a climate time capsule.
What kicked off the Earth's rapid cooling 12,800 years ago?

In the space of just a couple of years, average temperatures abruptly dropped, resulting in temperatures as much as 14 degrees Fahrenheit cooler in some regions of the Northern Hemisphere. If a drop like that happened today, it would mean the average temperature of Miami Beach would quickly change to that of current Montreal, Canada. Layers of ice in Greenland show that this cool period in the Northern Hemisphere lasted about 1,400 years.

This climate event, called the Younger Dryas by scientists, marked the beginning of a decline in ice-age megafauna, such as mammoth and mastodon, eventually leading to extinction of more than 35 genera of animals across North America. Although disputed, some research suggests that Younger Dryas environmental changes led to a population decline among the Native Americans known for their distinctive Clovis spear points.

Conventional geologic wisdom blames the Younger Dryas on the failure of glacial ice dams holding back huge lakes in central North America and the sudden, massive blast of freshwater they released into the north Atlantic. This freshwater influx shut down ocean circulation and ended up cooling the climate.

Some geologists, however, subscribe to what is called the impact hypothesis: the idea that a fragmented comet or asteroid collided with the Earth 12,800 years ago and caused this abrupt climate event. Along with disrupting the glacial ice-sheet and shutting down ocean currents, this hypothesis holds that the extraterrestrial impact also triggered an "impact winter" by setting off massive wildfires that blocked sunlight with their smoke.

The evidence is mounting that the cause of the Younger Dryas' cooling climate came from outer space. My own recent fieldwork at a South Carolina lake that has been around for at least 20,000 years adds to the growing pile of evidence.