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Thu, 24 Sep 2020
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Comets

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.

Comet 2

An asteroid flew past Earth last night. No one knew about it until it was gone

asteroids solar system

NASA-certified NEOs in the inner solar system, as of 2018.
While much of the world was sleeping soundly and the remainder were going about their daily lives, an asteroid roughly half the size of the Statue of Liberty shot past the Earth at 22,000mph (35,406kph).

Asteroid 2019 SR8 is considered a 'near-Earth object' or NEO by NASA, and whizzed past us at a distance of over 3 million miles around 03:45 BST Wednesday. SR8 measures between 65 and 144 feet in diameter (20 and 44 meters).

For comparison, Rome's Colosseum is 157 feet (48 meters) tall and the leaning tower of Pisa measures some 183 feet (56 meters) tall. The flyby fun doesn't stop today though.

Comment: Clearly, there are far more asteroids/comets in the inner solar system these days. This is obviously connected with why meteor fireball events have gone way up. And yet the media still refuses to touch this story!

What's it gonna take people? Kersplat??

Just last week, there were SIXTEEN fly-bys of NEOs:

Asteroid swarm: SEVEN asteroids to zoom past Earth today! NINE more later this week...

Incoming! ANOTHER asteroid - discovered just today - to make fly-by this week


Comet

Incoming! ANOTHER asteroid - discovered just today - to make fly-by this week

Asteroid
© Pixabay
Earth is soon set for another close shave with a hurtling space rock as an 111-foot asteroid is poised to skim past our planet on its closest approach for 115 years.

First spotted by astronomers only earlier this week, the asteroid dubbed 2019 TA7 is set to fly by Earth at a speed of over 22,500 miles per hour at 6:53pm ET on Monday, data from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) reveals.

The new celestial visitor is estimated to measure up to 111 feet in diameter and is among a group of recently discovered asteroids that have been traveling close to Earth in recent days.

Comment: See also: Asteroid swarm: NASA detects 16 space rocks hurtling towards Earth this week


Fireball

Meteor fireball lights up sky across California

Fireball over California
© Twitter/Courtesy of @AardwolfEssex
California residents took to social media Monday night to report a glowing fireball across the night sky over multiple cities including Sacramento, Lynwood and San Diego.

One social media user caught a video of the fireball shooting across the sky while he was driving. (See below)

​Although unclear, the object appears to fit the description of a fireball, which is a meteor that burns as brightly as the planet Venus in the morning or evening sky, according to the American Meteor Society.

According to several reports, the annual Draconid meteor shower is expected to generate around eight shooting stars every hour starting Tuesday.

Comet 2

Cyanide gas found in interstellar object 2I/Borisov

Comet 2I/Borisov
© Universe Today
Comet 2I/Borisov.
When the mysterious object known as 'Oumuamua passed Earth in October of 2017, astronomers rejoiced. In addition to being the first interstellar object detected in our Solar System, but its arrival opened our eyes to how often such events take place. Since asteroids and comets are believed to be material left over from the formation of a planetary system, it also presented an opportunity to study extrasolar systems.

Unfortunately, 'Oumuamua left our Solar System before any such studies could be conducted. Luckily, the detection of comet C/2019 Q4 (Borisov) this summer provided renewed opportunities to study material left by outgassing. Using data gathered by the William Herschel Telescope (WHT), an international team of astronomers found that 2I/Borisov contains cyanide. But as Douglas Adams would famously say, "Don't Panic!"

The study, which recently appeared in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, was led by Prof. Alan Fitzsimmons of the Astrophysics Research Centre at Queen's University Belfast. He was joined by members of the European Southern Observatory (ESO), the Institute for Astronomy, the STAR Institute, the ESA's NEO Coordination Centre, the National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF), and multiple universities.

Info

New evidence sheds light on Younger Dryas impact hypothesis

Comet
© Shutterstock
Just less than 13,000 years ago, the climate cooled for a short while in many parts of the world, especially in the northern hemisphere. We know this because of what has been found in ice cores drilled in Greenland, as well as from oceans around the world.

Grains of pollen from various plants can also tell us about this cooler period, which people who study climate prehistory call the Younger Dryas and which interrupted a warming trend after the last Ice Age. The term gets its name from a wildflower, Dryas octopetala. It can tolerate cold conditions and was common in parts of Europe 12,800 years ago. At about this time a number of animals became extinct. These included mammoths in Europe, large bison in North America, and giant sloths in South America.

The cause of this cooling event has been debated a great deal. One possibility, for instance, is that it relates to changes in oceanic circulation systems. In 2007 Richard Firestone and other American scientists presented a new hypothesis: that the cause was a cosmic impact like an asteroid or comet. The impact could have injected a lot of dust into the air, which might have reduced the amount of sunlight getting through the earth's atmosphere. This might have affected plant growth and animals in the food chain.

Research we have just had published sheds new light on this Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis. We focus on what platinum can tell us about it.

Comet 2

Hunting asteroids: NASA's Planetary Defense budget grew 4000% in 10 years

asteroid earth
© Photo: Science Photo Library / ANDRZEJ WOJCICKI / Getty Images
It wasn't the arguments that changed, it was the politics.
In 2005, Congress passed a bill requiring NASA to find and track at least 90% of all near-Earth objects (NEOs) 140 meters or larger by 2020. It was a significant step toward protecting the planet from potential asteroid impacts, but it had a major flaw: Congress neglected to specify funding for the new mandate. As a consequence, NASA's NEO survey effort was sidelined for years; as of January 2019, only 40% of the total estimated population of hazardous asteroids 140 meters and larger had been found. Meeting the 2020 mandate is now impossible.

For five years after the 2005 law, NEO survey efforts at NASA limped along with an annual budget of less than $4 million per year — roughly 0.02% of the space agency's total expenditures and less than the travel budget for employees at NASA headquarters. This money supported observation time on ground-based telescopes around the world — an important but ultimately inadequate method for detecting the extremely faint signatures of near-Earth objects.

Comment: As noted in Earth enters densest stream of deadly Taurid meteor cluster this June:
[...] scientists have identified more than 90 percent of the objects large enough to cause a global-scale disaster.

But moving down the size scale, the census is far spottier. Only about 30 percent of medium-size objects - 140 meters (460 feet) in diameter or larger - have been spotted. And she said only about 1 percent of objects have been found that are the size of the Tunguska impactor, which was about 40 meters (130 feet) in diameter. She said she welcomed the idea of a special effort to look for objects during the Taurid swarm in June.
And if something even as small as the Tunguska asteroid struck over a major city it would cause mass mortality; the situation could be particularly dire if it was part of a swarm.

For more on the current threat, see: And for an idea on the previous cataclysms humanity has endured: Also check out SOTT radio's: