Welcome to Sott.net
Fri, 24 Sep 2021
The World for People who Think


Comet 2

Long-period comet breakup is the origin of the dinosaur extinction says study

A new study blames a comet fragment for the death of the dinosaurs 66 million years ago. But most experts maintain that an asteroid caused this cataclysmic event.
Impact Event
© Roger Harris/Science Source
An artist’s rendering of the impact event 66 million years ago that ended the reign of dinosaurs.
In one searing apocalyptic moment 66 million years ago, Earth was transformed from a lush haven into a nightmare world with a fiery wound that bled soot into the skies. The extraterrestrial object that slammed into our planet spelled doom for dinosaurs and countless other species, even as its fallout opened new niches to our mammal ancestors.

For decades, scientists have debated the identity of the impactor that struck our planet that fateful day, leaving a 90-mile scar called the Chicxulub crater under what is now the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico.

Although an asteroid remains the leading candidate, a team based at the Center for Astrophysics, in Cambridge, Mass., has proposed that the culprit may have been an icy comet that flew too close to the sun.

When long-period comets from the outer reaches of the solar system approach the sun, they can be torn asunder by the star's immense tidal forces. The resulting shards may have been catapulted across Earth's orbit, providing "a satisfactory explanation for the origin of the impactor" that killed the dinosaurs, according to a study published on Monday in Scientific Reports.

"To this day, the origin of the Chicxulub impactor remains an open question," said Amir Siraj, an undergraduate studying astrophysics at Harvard who led the research. His model, he said, examines "this special population of comets" that could have produced enough shards — of the right size, at the right rate and on the right trajectories — to threaten Earth "in a way that's consistent with current observational constraints."


Meteor fireball over Andalusia, Spain (Feb. 13)

The fireball shown on this video was recorded over the south of Spain on 2021 February 13, at 19:30 local time (equivalent to 18:30 universal time). It was generated by a rock from an asteroid that hit the atmosphere at about 72,000 km/h.

It began over the north of the province of Granada at an altitude of about 95 km, and ended at a height of around 55 km. The event was recorded in the framework of the SMART project from the meteor-observing stations located at La Hita (Toledo), Calar Alto (Almeria), La Sagra (Granada), Sierra Nevada (Granada) and Sevilla.

Fireball 4

Bright meteor fireball streaks over Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne meteor fireball
© YouTube/Save Earth (screen capture)
Residents of Victoria, Australia, reported seeing a "massive fireball" streak across the night sky on February 14.

Dashcam footage posted to Facebook by Leesa Vaughan, and recorded from the Monash Freeway in Melbourne, shows the object flash in the night sky.

"That was a massive fireball," Vaughan can be heard saying in the video.

"This is likely a sporadic meteor, probably not much larger than a marble, entering the earth's atmosphere and burning up," the Astronomical Society of Victoria wrote in a Facebook post about the event. Credit: Leesa Vaughan via Storyful.

Fireball 5

Large meteor fireball reported over UK and Western Europe

AMS event 809-2021 observers map
© AMS (screen capture)
AMS event 809-2021 observers map
The American Meteor Society (AMS) received 82 reports (event 809-2021) about a meteor fireball seen over Île-de-France, Drenthe, England, Friesland, Gelderland, Grand Est, Groningen, Hauts-de-France, Hessen, Limburg, Niedersachsen, Noord-Brabant, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Normandie, Overijssel, Scotland, Vlaanderen, Wales, Wallonie, Zeeland and Zuid-Holland on Friday, February 12th 2021 around 05:10 UT.

Three videos were uploaded to the AMS website.

This one is credited to Glen Wilkinson.

Fireball 5

Meteor fireball streaks over California

California meteor fireball
© AMS/Mike L.
The American Meteor Society (AMS) received 24 reports (event 778-2021) about a meteor fireball seen over CA, NV and UT on Thursday, February 11th 2021 around 05:21 UT.

A video was uploaded to the AMS website. Credit: PxT.

Comet 2

New Comet C/2021 B3 (NEOWISE)

CBET 4929 & MPEC 2021-C16, issued on 2021, February 04, announce the discovery of a comet (magnitude ~19) in infrared images obtained during Jan. 22 UT with the Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (or NEOWISE; formerly the WISE earth-orbiting satellite). The new comet has been designated C/2021 B3 (NEOWISE).

We performed follow-up measurements of this object while it was still on the PCCP webpage.

Stacking of 50 unfiltered exposures, 30 seconds each, obtained remotely on 2021, January 27.1 from X02 (Telescope Live, Chile) through a 0.6-m f/6.5 astrograph + CCD, shows that this object is a comet with a compact coma about 10" arcsecond in diameter. (Observers E. Guido, M. Rocchetto, E. Bryssinck, M. Fulle, G. Milani, C. Nassef, G. Savini, A. Valvasori).

Our confirmation image (click on it for a bigger version; made with TYCHO software by D. Parrott):
Comet C/2021 B3 NEOWISE
© Remanzacco Blogspot


Meteorite fragments recovered after 'very bright, rumbling' fireball filmed in Sweden's skies in November

sweden fireball
More than 15 witnesses reported their sighting of the November 7, 2020, 21h27min UT fireball to the IMO.
On November 7, 2020, around 21h 27min UT, a very bright fireball was observed and caught on camera over Scandinavia. Witnesses which were close to the trajectory were affected by cloudy skies and did not see the fireball, but some heard a "deep exploding sounds" or "long rumbling sounds like thunder or a motor".

Comment: For an idea of the sounds fireballs have been making, check out this story from just a week ago: Loud blast recorded on dashcam as meteorite explodes over Sarawak, Indonesia - Locals felt earth shake

The event has been caught on cameras, some associated to a meteor observing network like the Norsk Meteornettwerk or by CCTV video recordings. Those show a slow moving meteor lasting a few seconds and which brightness lit up the ground and the sky. Another video is available here.

Comment: James Gage of VARF.se comments:
[...] It may be of interest to IMO readers that we have confirmation of a find from this meteorite. Several small pieces were recovered 22 november and analysis has confirmed them to be from an iron nickel meteorite. So far, only these have been reported, and they are very small, 1 to 6 mm. We will begin searching again when the snow has melted. The pieces were found within the calculated strewn field, but I have no information as to the exact location as of yet.
Activity in our skies certainly appears to be increasing:

Fireball 5

Video shows meteor fireball blazing over Derbyshire, UK

Derbyshire meteor
© Rachael Magowen
This video shows the incredible moment a fireball was seen falling from the sky in Derbyshire.

The footage above shows the fireball suddenly appearing from absolutely nowhere in Whaley Bridge at 5.42am this morning, exactly a year to the day after one was spotted in Derby.

The clip is from the CCTV cameras of Rachael Magowen's home in the Derbyshire town.

Mrs Magowan was left amazed after seeing the clip and even more so when she found out Derbyshire Live ran a very similar story on February 4, 2020.

On that day it was reported how Gary Rogers, 52, was lying in bed at his home in Stenson Fields when he got a notification alert on his phone.

Comment: According to the American Meteor Society (AMS) the event (677-2021) was observed from all over the UK and parts of the Netherlands. Another video of the event was uploaded to the AMS website (credit to Stewart Long):

Fireball 2

Meteor fireball flies across Kansas sky

There were several reports Sunday night and early Monday morning of a fireball lighting up the sky, including right here in Kansas.

Zackery Cheney submitted the video to Eyewitness News that he captured Sunday night near Andale.

Cheney said he was northbound on Andale Road, about four miles south of Andale when his dash cam caught what appears to be a ball of light shoot across the sky then dissolve.

According to the American Meteor Society, there were 31 reports of fireballs in the sky between Sunday night and Monday morning. Reports were made in the neighboring states of Colorado, Nebraska and Oklahoma and as far away as Texas, Wisconsin, New York, England and Scotland.

Fireball 5

Loud blast recorded on dashcam as meteorite explodes over Sarawak, Indonesia - Locals felt earth shake

Fireball sonic Boom
© The Star
Kota Kinabalu: The mysterious explosion heard by many in Sipitang, Labuan, Lawas (Sarawak), and parts close to these areas on Sunday (Jan 31) could have been a sonic boom or a meteorite which exploded in mid-air.

The Astronomical Society of Brunei Darussalam (PABD) said it received numerous reports from Bruneians who also heard the mysterious loud noise.

The PABD then issued a notice seeking eyewitness accounts of the phenomenon, which is believed to have occurred at about 11am.

Some Bruneians later shared their experiences and uploaded blurry pictures of what appears to be a fireball trailing smoke to PABD's Facebook page.

Comment: Dashcam footage of the event has just emerged on Twitter: