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Tue, 22 May 2018
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Comets

Comet 2

Death from the clouds - Toxic Comets

Cumulus Congestus
© Flickr/Kevin Dooley
Although molecular Nitrogen represents 78.09% of the air we breath this doesn't mean all substances containing Nitrogen are nice and nurturing.

In reality Nitrogen is a very curious substance that can also be very nasty.

The combination of Nitrogen and Carbon in the form of Cyanogen is very toxic.
Cyanogen is the chemical compound with the formula (CN)2.

It is a colorless, toxic gas with a pungent odor.
cyanogen
© Malaga Bay
Like other cyanides, cyanogen is very toxic, as it readily undergoes reduction to cyanide, which poisons the cytochrome c oxidase complex, thus interrupting the mitochondrial electron transfer chain.
...
Inhalation of 900 ppm over a period of 10 minutes is considered lethal.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyanogen
Comet Composition
© Wikipedia
Comets are very toxic because they produce cyanogen.

Info

Meteorite impacts may have created Earth's tectonic plates

Meteorites hitting the early Earth
© Mark Stevenson/UIG
An artist’s impression of meteorites hitting the early Earth.
Meteorite impacts might have kick-started the Earth's tectonic plates and boosted the planet's magnetic field, according to a study from Australia's Macquarie University.

The research, led by Craig O'Neil from the university's Planetary Research Centre, and published in the journal Nature Geoscience, offers a scenario to illuminate what happened during the first 500 million years of the Earth's existence - a period known as the Hadean, or, more poetically, the geologic dark ages.

To date, the question of whether the young planet featured moving tectonic plates has been moot, primarily because almost nothing of its early crust remains.

Some scientists have proposed that grains of zircon, dating to before 4.1 billion years ago, are evidence of early, active tectonics. Others, however, are more convinced by geochemical data indicating that in its formative years the Earth was encased in a motionless "lid", with moving tectonic plates emerging later.

Tectonic plates were until recently thought to be unique to Earth, at least within the solar system. However, research by scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles, in 2012, using satellite imagery, established that Mars also experiences plate movement, although on a smaller scale.

Comet 2

Unique 'ring comet' discovered by Hubble telescope

Ring Like Comet
© ESA/Hubble
With the help of the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, a German-led group of astronomers have observed the intriguing characteristics of an unusual type of object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter: two asteroids orbiting each other and exhibiting comet-like features, including a bright coma and a long tail. This is the first known binary asteroid also classified as a comet. The research is presented in a paper published in the journal Nature today.

In September 2016, just before the asteroid 288P made its closest approach to the Sun, it was close enough to Earth to allow astronomers a detailed look at it using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope [1].

The images of 288P, which is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, revealed that it was actually not a single object, but two asteroids of almost the same mass and size, orbiting each other at a distance of about 100 kilometres. That discovery was in itself an important find; because they orbit each other, the masses of the objects in such systems can be measured.

But the observations also revealed ongoing activity in the binary system. "We detected strong indications of the sublimation of water ice due to the increased solar heating - similar to how the tail of a comet is created," explains Jessica Agarwal (Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Germany), the team leader and main author of the research paper. This makes 288P the first known binary asteroid that is also classified as a main-belt comet.

Fireball 4

Green meteor fireball spotted over Montgomery, Alabama

Green Meteor
© Andrew Yawn/Montgomery Advertiser
A home security system catches a glimpse of a piece of a comet that burned bright across the South Monday night.
Was it a dragon? A sign of the apocalypse? A warning shot from North Korea?

No, that bright, green fireball seen streaking over Montgomery early Tuesday morning was just your average piece of celestial space rock burning up in the atmosphere, according to Bill Cooke with the NASA Meteor Environment Office.

Cooke said the fireball was a fragment of a comet measuring about 5 to 6 inches in diameter. Igniting as it hurtled into the atmosphere about 54 miles above Highway 84 in Conecuh County, the fireball flew well over the speed limit at approximately 83,000 mph.

It was spotted by three NASA cameras located in Georgia and North Carolina at approximately 3 a.m., but perhaps the best footage was captured by one Montgomery resident's doorbell camera. Posted on Facebook Tuesday morning and shared with the Montgomery Advertiser, the video shows the comet briefly and brilliantly blazing by Alabama's capital, obviously late for something.

Comet 2

Evidence suggest a collision and several close encounters with comets in the last 2000 years

Comet
© NASA
If you have long suspected the mainstream is being less than honest [or simply delusional] when they describe Comets as "dirty snowballs" or [more recently] "icy dirtballs" then you might be interested to discover Close Cometary Encounters are associated with sudden spikes in the level of Thorium 232.
Cometary nuclei are composed of an amalgamation of rock, dust, water ice, and frozen gases such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, methane, and ammonia.

As such, they are popularly described as "dirty snowballs" after Fred Whipple's model.

However, some comets may have a higher dust content, leading them to be called "icy dirtballs".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comet
Dangerous Close Cometary Encounters occur when:

a) Comets collide with the Earth.
b) Comets pass directly between the Earth and the Sun.

In the second case the alignment exposes the Earth to a potential Cometary Double-Tap whereby:

1) The "gas tail" of the Comet is delivered directly into the Earth's upper atmosphere.
2) The "dust tail" of the Comet side-swipes the Earth with a debris train.

Fireball

Meteor shower stuns residents of Townsville, Australia

Meteor
© Townsville Bulletin
A meteor shower was seen in Townsville.
Dozens of people have reported seeing an impressive meteor shower over Townsville tonight.

The celestial event occurs when a number of meteors are seen to radiate from one point in the night sky.

Joe Martin saw the event from Bushland Beach at 7.06pm.

"I saw four or five lights that looked just like shooting stars or fireworks heading towards the ground,'' he said.

"Three of them got very bright, then I saw a flash. Then they were gone.

Fireball 5

Asteroid impact caused devastating tsunami in 11th century Britain

Tsunami
© Sadatsugu Tomizawa/AFP/Getty Images
A tsunami was believed to have hit Britain in the 11th century causing destruction.
A devastating tsunami caused by an asteroid impact in the Atlantic may have swept across the west coast of Britain in the 11th century, scientists believe.

The disaster is said to have submerged large numbers of villages and was mentioned in 1014 AD in the Anglo Saxon Chronicles, but there are doubts over whether the event really occurred.

Researchers say they have now found likely tsunami deposits at Marazion Marsh, Cornwall, and Chesil Beach, Dorset, from roughly the same time period that suggest the story is more than a legend.

Geographer Dr Phill Teasdale, from the University of Brighton, said: "If we can investigate this a bit more, we can talk about the geographical spread of the impact.

"Analysing the depth of the tsunami deposit can tell us whether that postulated asteroid impact in the Atlantic ocean was a reality."

Comet 2

Ancient Maya may have known about periodic meteor showers

Temple of the Jaguar Ruins
© Jon G. Fuller/VWPics/Alamy Stock Photo
The ruins of the Temple of the Jaguar (Temple I) and the North Acropolis loom over what remains of the ancient Mayan city of Tikal in El Petén, Guatemala. Two major events in the city, the coronation of the 6-year-old Lady of Tikal in 511 CE and a defeat by the city-state Caracol in the 562 CE “Star War,” took place in approximate synchrony with meteor outbursts. Recently published research suggests that the Maya may have linked the timings of events such as royal accessions and wars to astronomical predictions of meteor showers.
Using state-of-the-art computer models, an amateur historian and a professional astronomer have found evidence that many important societal events recorded in Mayan hieroglyphic inscriptions may coincide with outbursts of meteor showers related to Halley's Comet.

In newly published research, the two-person research team has found more than a dozen instances of hieroglyphic records from the Mayan Classic Period (250-909 CE) indicating that important events occurred within just a few days of an outburst of Eta Aquariid meteor showers, one of the celestial displays tied to the comet.

No Mayan astronomical records from that period survived the Spanish invasion, and the four surviving Mayan codices from later eras do not mention meteor showers. However, the researchers suspect that many significant historical events that coincided with meteor showers, like a ruler's assumption of power or a declaration of war recorded in the codices and carved in stone monuments, are not chance overlaps.

Instead, the Maya most likely predicted meteor showers, the researchers argue in a paper, already available online, that will be published in the 15 September issue of Planetary and Space Science. What's more, the ancient civilization might have purposefully timed significant occasions to coincide with portentous celestial events.

If this new research is validated by further computational tests, it would help address a longstanding puzzle, said David Asher, an astronomy research fellow at Armagh Observatory in Northern Ireland: How did the ancient Maya, a civilization that meticulously recorded astronomical information about Venus, eclipses, and seasonal patterns, fail to note meteor showers in their astronomical studies? They likely did record meteor showers, assert Asher and his colleague Hutch Kinsman, who has been an independent scholar of Mayan history and hieroglyphics for nearly 25 years, but the records were lost to us.

Fireball 4

Meteor lights up northern New Zealand skies

Stargazers
© Fred Thornhill
Stargazers in northern parts of the country were treated to a "fantastic sight". (File photo)
A long-tailed meteor was seen streaking across the sky on Tuesday evening.

People in northern parts of New Zealand witnessed a "shooting star" travelling west to east across the "orange sunset backdrop" at about 6:30pm.

Stargazers from Hamilton to Whangarei posted their sightings on the WeatherWatch website.

One person in Tauranga saw a "fairly sizeable fireball" trailing behind it, while someone in Auckland said it had "a red/blue head".

Fireball 4

Meteor fireball streaks across US east coast skies

Fireball
© UTSC
Did you see a fireball streak across the sky tonight? You weren't alone.

A bright green meteor was spotted across Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland and West Virginia about 9:14 p.m., prompting more than 50 reports to the American Meteor Society. A high concentration of sightings came from the D.C. area.

"Glowing bright near the ball and lasting on its own fading at the tail," one Arlington resident wrote.

Comment: The American Meteor Society (AMS) has received over 710 reports about a fireball seen over VA, DC, PA, NJ, NY, MD, WV, RI, District of Columbia, Virginia, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, CT, New Jersey, West Virginia, OH and DE on Saturday, August 26th 2017 around 01:15 UT.

AMS event 2925-2017
© AMS (screen capture)
AMS observers map - event 2925-2017