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Fri, 23 Feb 2018
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Taprobane - The Indian impact event you never heard of

Early Map
© Malaga Bay
This is the story of the biggest Indian Impact you've never heard of.

It's also a wet job that exposes the squishy grey matter of the mainstream mindset.

So don your rubber gloves.

And lock the door because this posting contains some very strong images that shouldn't be shared in polite company nor displayed within the confines of a complacent academic ivory tower.

Ready?

Comet 2

Comet Johnson joins the ranks of visible comets

Comet Johnson (C/2015 V2)
© Chris Schur
Comet Johnson (C/2015 V2) glowed pale green and displayed a short tail on April 2nd.
Another binocular comet? You better believe it. Comet Johnson takes center stage at nightfall this month and next.

Nothing against Giacobini, Kresak, Mrkos, and Pajdusakova, but this is one comet name I can pronounce with confidence. Even better, it's been humming along very well, thank you, while waiting for its turn at center stage.

At magnitude +8.5, Comet Johnson (C/2015 V2) is already bright enough to join the ranks of this year's band of binocular comets: NEOWISE (C/2016 U1), 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova, 2P/Encke, 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresak, Lovejoy (C/2017 E4), and PanSTARRS (C/2015 ER61). Comet watchers appreciate the bonanza; we've been happily toting out scopes and binoculars to follow the progress of each in its turn.

As the Moon toddles east and wanes, dark skies return as soon as May 12th. The timing couldn't be better, with Comet Johnson making a steep dive through the constellation of Boötes high in the southeastern sky at nightfall while also reaching peak brightness.

I last caught sight of the comet shortly just before dawn on May 6th. In 10×50 binoculars, Johnson was a faint, patchy glow in Canes Venatici. The view in my 15-inch reflector was more satisfying. At 76×, Johnson displayed a moderately condensed coma about 8′ across with a ¾° long broad, diffuse tail pointing northwest. Upping the magnification to 286×, I could see a tiny, almost stellar nucleus of magnitude +13.5 at coma center.
Comet Johnson
© Rolando Ligustri
What a little sunshine won't do. By May 1st, Comet Johnson had developed a long, faint ion tail pointing straight away from the Sun as well as a stubby dust tail.
Studying a comet's nucleus is a strange experience. At low magnification, it might appear fairly bright, but the more you magnify, the smaller and fainter the nucleus (pseudo-nucleus actually, since the true nucleus is hidden by reflective dust) becomes until you're staring at just a faint pinprick of light at the heart of a dusty maelstrom.

Fireball

Huge impact crater discovered near the Falklands Islands

Asteroid impacting Earth
© NASA/Don Davis
Artist impression of an asteroid impacting Earth.
Scientists have discovered what they believe is one of the biggest impact craters in the world near the Falklands Islands. They say the crater appears to date to between 270 and 250 million years ago, which, if confirmed, would link it to the world's biggest mass extinction event, where 96 percent of life on Earth was wiped out.

The presence of a massive crater in the Falklands was first proposed by Michael Rampino, a professor in New York University, in 1992 after he noticed similarities with the Chicxulub crater in Mexico—the asteroid that created this crater is thought to have played a major role in the extinction of the dinosaurs 66 million years ago.

But after a brief report at the Falklands site, very little research was carried out. Now, a team of scientists—including Rampino—have returned to the area to perform an "exhaustive search for additional new geophysical information" that would indicate the presence of an impact crater.

Their findings, published in the journal Terra Nova, suggest the huge circular depression just northwest of the islands is indeed the result of the massive impact of an asteroid or meteorite. The basin, which is now buried under sediments, measures over 150 miles in diameter.

Fireball

Earth wishing for just one passing meteor to hit!

Earth
© Waterford Whispers News
An increasingly depressed Earth has looked towards passing meteors with a wistful desire, hoping one of them could slightly change course and hurtle towards its surface, obliterating its life-sustaining self.

Growing more world weary with each passing day, Earth, home to over 7 billion people has become more listless as its chief tenants continue to treat it with disrespect.

"Aw man, that one was really close, and it looked big enough to put me out of my misery too," Earth confirmed as it stared at a meteor the size of Gilbraltar as it whizzed past.

Becoming unhappy as the level of pollution humans create which is causing irreparable damage to it, the Earth has confessed in recent times it would love nothing more than to alter its orbit for the worse and admitted to being jealous of lifeless planets.

"And hey, I'd given self-harming some consideration, but why bother when North Korea are running missile nuclear tests".

"You know, when that last big one hit I was relieved to still be standing after it all. But the more time passes, the more I think the dinosaurs were the lucky ones, not me," Earth added, unable to rouse itself from its melancholic mood.

Info

Early history and impact events in India

1st Millenium India
© Malaga Bay
Getting acquainted with 1st millennium Indian History is a daunting task.

However, Wikipedia provides a helpful Outline of South Asian History that lists the various Kingdoms and Empires that emerged during the 1st millennium.
History of South Asia - South Asia includes the contemporary political entities of the Indian subcontinent and associated islands, therefore, its history includes the histories of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Afghanistan, Bhutan, and the island nations of Sri Lanka and the Maldives.
The level of detail associated with each Kingdom or Empire is fairly variable.

Some histories are short and vague. Others are long and detailed.

Fireball 4

Bright light seen shooting across Wellington's night sky

When Stephen Moore installed a dashcam in his vehicle, it wasn't to capture footage of UFOs.

But that's exactly what happened when his son witnessed a bright light shoot across the Wellington sky shortly before 8pm on Tuesday.
Meteor
© Stephen Moore
The dashcam captured the bright light on Wellington's Featherston St.
The pair eagerly returned to their home in Hataitai and downloaded the footage from the camera.

"It records in real time, so after we saw it we thought it was too fast to be a plane," said Moore.

Brett Jennings saw something similar in Nelson, and said the light was bright green in colour.

Info

Indigenous peoples around the world tell myths which contain warning signs for natural disasters - Scientists are now listening

A Moken woman stares out to sea.
© Photo by Taylor Weidman/LightRocket/Getty
Native knowledge - A Moken woman stares out to sea.
Shortly before 8am on 26 December 2004, the cicadas fell silent and the ground shook in dismay. The Moken, an isolated tribe on the Andaman Islands in the Indian Ocean, knew that the Laboon, the 'wave that eats people', had stirred from his ocean lair. The Moken also knew what was next: a towering wall of water washing over their island, cleansing it of all that was evil and impure. To heed the Laboon's warning signs, elders told their children, run to high ground.

The tiny Andaman and Nicobar Islands were directly in the path of the tsunami generated by the magnitude 9.1 earthquake off the coast of Sumatra. Final totals put the islands' death toll at 1,879, with another 5,600 people missing. When relief workers finally came ashore, however, they realised that the death toll was skewed. The islanders who had heard the stories about the Laboon or similar mythological figures survived the tsunami essentially unscathed. Most of the casualties occurred in the southern Nicobar Islands. Part of the reason was the area's geography, which generated a higher wave. But also at the root was the lack of a legacy; many residents in the city of Port Blair were outsiders, leaving them with no indigenous tsunami warning system to guide them to higher ground.

Humanity has always courted disaster. We have lived, died and even thrived alongside vengeful volcanoes and merciless waves. Some disasters arrive without warning, leaving survival to luck. Often, however, there is a small window of time giving people a chance to escape. Learning how to crack open this window can be difficult when a given catastrophe strikes once every few generations. So humans passed down stories through the ages that helped cultures to cope when disaster inevitably struck. These stories were fodder for anthropologists and social scientists, but in the past decade, geologists have begun to pay more attention to how indigenous peoples understood, and prepared for, disaster. These stories, which couched myth in metaphor, could ultimately help scientists prepare for cataclysms to come.

Anyone who has spent time around small children gets used to the question 'why?' Why is the sky blue? Why do birds fly? Why does thunder make such a loud noise? A friend's mother told us that thunder was God going bowling in the sky. Nature need not be scary and unpredictable, even if it was controlled by forces we could neither see nor understand.

The human penchant for stories and meaning is nothing new. Myths and legends provide entertainment, but they also transmit knowledge of how to behave and how the world works. Breaking the code of these stories, however, takes skill. Tales of gods gone bowling during summer downpours seems nonsensical on the surface, but know a little about the sudden thunderclaps and the clatter of bowling pins as they're struck by a ball, and the story makes sense.

Comet 2

April 2017: The month of 4 visible comets - Comet PanSTARRS (C/2015 ER61) brightens overnight

C/2015 ER61
© José J. Chambó
Look at the difference in appearance of comet PanSTARRS (C/2015 ER61) pre-outburst (left) on April 1st and in outburst on April 4th.
2017 may well go down as the year of the binocular comet. Three have been easy catches, and it's only the start of April: 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova, 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresak and Lovejoy (C/2017 E4). Now there's a fourth. Overnight, PanSTARRS (C/2015 ER61) joined the club.

Discovered two years ago on March 15th by the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope on the summit of Haleakalā, it was a faint 21st-magnitude midge. But how it's bloomed! By late March and the start of April, the comet had brightened to around magnitude +8.5 while puttering across Sagittarius and Capricornus low in the southern sky before dawn.
PanSTARRS (C/2015 ER61)
© Gerald Rhemann
This April 5th photo catches the comet in the full glory of its outburst.
Then it happened. On April 4th, comet observer Juan José González Suárez reported a possible outburst to magnitude +7.4. This was confirmed, both visually and photographically, by several observers including myself early this morning. It's now as bright as magnitude +6.5, a leap of two magnitudes practically overnight! Although the specific cause of the outburst isn't known, it's likely that some sort of outgassing or disruption on the comet's surface exposed fresh ice to sunlight, initiating a new wave of vaporization.

Comment:

Green comet flyby on April 1st

Another comet brightens and now visible in the Northern hemisphere


Info

Deranged Dating: Cometary Carbon-14

Cometary Carbon-14
© NASA/JPL-Caltech/W. Reach (SSC/Caltech)
Earth Scientists apparently accept radiocarbon dating as the gospel truth.

However, if the Settled Science that supports radiocarbon dating is really just one huge homogenised hodgepodge then acquiescent Earth Scientists are simply being misdirected and left to flounder in the dark.
This would go some way towards explaining why so many Earth Scientists are gainfully employed chasing their tails.

Thus, the mainstream gained the scientific kudos associated with Radiocarbon Dating whilst [simultaneously] wrestling control of the Settled Science away from Willard Libby by imposing a calibration curve that was approved by the mainstream.

Sadly, this hybrid, high jacked and half-baked Settled Science has now degenerated into a recursive [incestuous] feedback loop where dendrochronology calibrates Radiocarbon Dating which, in its turn, is used to calibrate dendrochronology.

See: Carbon 14 - Libby's Ring
Carbon Dating
© Malaga Bay
Amongst the many issues associated with the Settled Science of radiocarbon dating there is the curious case of Catastrophic Cometary Carbon-14.

Arguably, the burning up of a cometary debris train in the Earth's atmosphere would significantly enhance the level of atmospheric Carbon-14.

Comet 2

Another comet brightens and now visible in the Northern hemisphere


Terry Lovejoy's new comet has gone from faint to bright in just three weeks and is now a tempting binocular target at dawn.


Comet C/2017 E4 Lovejoy
© Terry Lovejoy
Comet C/2017 E4 Lovejoy was discovered on March 9th by Australian amateur Terry Lovejoy. It's his 6th discovery and seen here on March 25th.
Who doesn't love a comet that exceeds expectations? That's exactly what's happening with Terry Lovejoy's latest discovery, C/2017 E4 Lovejoy.

Discovered on March 10th at magnitude +12, early observations suggested a peak magnitude of +9 in mid-April, assuming it didn't crumble apart en route to an April 23rd perihelion.

Forget that. This fuzzball's already at magnitude +7 - 7.5 and a snap to see in 50-mm binoculars.

I know because I got up Wednesday morning (March 29th) shortly before the start of dawn, pointed my 10×50 glass just below the figure of Equuleus, the Little Horse, and saw a small, dense ball of glowing fuzz without even trying.

Comet 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresak — now circumpolar in Ursa Major — shines at a similar brightness, but it's larger and less condensed and therefore not as easy to see as Lovejoy.
Comet Lovejoy
© Bob King
Comet Lovejoy captured with a 135-mm telephoto lens (f/2.8, ISO 2500, 10-second exposure) on Wednesday morning March 29th, when it entered the small constellation Equuleus. Though small at this focal length, the comet's blue-green color is a dead giveaway.
A little more than a week ago, Comet Lovejoy glowed at magnitude +10 - 11; a few days ago it was at +9. Given its meteoric rise in brightness, observers are anticipating the comet to crest to magnitude +6 around perihelion as it describes a roller coaster arc across Pegasus and Andromeda. Twice it passes bright deep-sky objects: the bright globular cluster M15 on April 1st and the Andromeda Galaxy on April 20 - 22. Another easy time to spot it will be on April 8 - 9 alongside β Pegasi in the northwest corner of the Great Square.