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100 million-year-old meteorite crater discovered Down Under

Ora Banda Impact Crater
© Resource Potentials
A color-coded gravity image of the Ora Banda Impact Crater site. The crater (deep blue) is in the middle of the image.
Gold miners in the Australian Outback recently discovered a gigantic meteorite crater dating to about 100 million years ago, back when dinosaurs roamed the Earth.

Found near the Western Australian town of Ora Banda, the newly dubbed Ora Banda Impact Crater is about 3 miles (5 kilometers) across. This huge hole was likely created by a meteorite up to 660 feet (200 meters) wide, or longer than the length of two American football fields, according to Resourc.ly, a Western Australia news outlet.

When geologists at Evolution Mining, an Australian gold mining company, came across some unusual rock cores at Ora Banda, they called Jayson Meyers, the principal geophysicist, director and founder of Resource Potentials, a geophysics consulting and contracting company in Perth. Meyers examined the geologists' drill core samples, as well as rock samples from the site, and he immediately noticed the shatter cones — telltale signs of a meteorite crash.

Shatter cones form when high-pressure, high-velocity shock waves from a large impacting object — such as a meteorite or a gigantic explosion (such as would occur at a nuclear testing site) — rattle an area, according to the Planetary Science Institute (PSI), a nonprofit group based in Tucson, Arizona, which was not involved with the new find. These shock waves shatter rock into the unique shatter cone shape, just like a mark that a hard object can leave on a car's windshield.

Because "we know they didn't do any nuclear testing at Ora Banda," the evidence suggests that an ancient impact crater hit the site, Meyers told Resourc.ly.

Fireball 5

Meteor fireball streaks over Western Europe

Event 5282-2020 observers map
© YouTube/AMS (screen capture)
AMS event 5282-2020 observers map
The American Meteor Society (AMS) have received 120 reports (5282-2020) about a meteor fireball seen over Western Europe (District de Luxembourg, Drenthe, England, Flevoland, Friesland, Gelderland, Groningen, Hessen, Limburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Niedersachsen, Noord-Brabant, Noord-Holland, Nordrhein-Westfalen, North Holland, Overijssel, Sachsen, Sachsen-Anhalt, Schleswig-Holstein and Vlaande) on Tuesday, September 22nd 2020 around 03:53 UT.


Question

Mystery after 'unbelievably loud bang' heard over Suffolk, England

Framlingham, UK
© Michele Doick/Getty Images
An "unbelievably loud bang" woke up residents across Suffolk this morning, prompting questions over its origin.

The noise was heard by a number of people in towns and villages across the east of the county shortly after 6.30am today.

Residents in Framlingham, Kettleburgh and Saxmundham have all reported hearing the mysterious bang, which sounded "like an explosion".

One dog walker said the noise scared her dog so much it was left shaking.

Another person described the noise as "unbelievably loud" and said it made his house shake.

Comet 2

Strange, glowing ultraviolet aurora detected around a comet

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
© ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM
Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
Aurora - the dancing glow of ionised particles in Earth's upper atmosphere - is not unique to our planet.

The phenomenon has been spotted shining in the atmospheres of every other planet except Mercury. Even Jupiter's moons Ganymede and Europa have auroras.

Never, until now, had an aurora been detected on a comet.

But, in a new analysis of data collected by the Rosetta spacecraft, the space around Comet 67P Churyumov-Gerasimenko (67P/C-G) has been observed glowing with far-ultraviolet auroral radiation.

"I've been studying the Earth's auroras for five decades," said physicist Jim Burch of the Southwest Research Institute.

"Finding auroras around 67P, which lacks a magnetic field, is surprising and fascinating."

Auroras are generated by the excitation of charged particles in an atmosphere.

Here on Earth, for instance, the solar wind blows into the magnetosphere and interacts with charged particles there.

These particles rain down into the upper atmosphere and are funneled up the magnetic field lines to the poles, where they manifest as rippling curtains of light.

It works differently on different bodies, though. The auroras of Ganymede and Europa are generated by interactions with Jupiter's magnetic field.

Venus doesn't have a magnetic field of its own that we know of, but interactions with the solar wind creates one strong enough to trigger auroras.

Mars' atmosphere is extremely thin, but its weak magnetic field can support auroras.

Comet 2

New Comet C/2020 S3 (Erasmus)

CBET 4885 & MPEC 2020-S119, issued on 2020, September 20, announce the discovery of a comet (magnitude ~18.5) by Nicolas Erasmus (South African Astronomical Observatory), in four 30-s CCD images taken in 5" seeing on Sept. 17.6 UT with a 0.5-m f/2 Schmidt reflector at Mauna Loa, Hawaii, in the course of the "Asteroid Terrestrial-Impact Last Alert System" (ATLAS) search program. The new comet has been designated C/2020 S3 (Erasmus).

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

Stacking of 151 unfiltered exposures, 30 seconds each, obtained remotely on 2020, September 19.1 from L07 (Osservatorio Salvatore di Giacomo, Agerola) through a 0.5 m f/8 Ritchey Chretien + CCD FLI PL4240, shows that this object is a comet with a diffuse coma about 20" in diameter.

Our confirmation image (click on it for a bigger version)

Comet C/2020 S3 Erasmus
© Remanzacco Blogspot

House

Mysterious tremor, deafening bang that 'shook homes' leaves Snowdonia, Wales residents baffled

Woman covering ears
© Ragip Candan
A mysterious tremor was felt by residents on the edges of Snowdonia today.

Debbie Green, who owns a farm near Cwm Silyn, described the noise as "deafening".

The farmer said that she began to feel a vibration in her feet when sat in her living room, but suddenly heard a "massive noise" before her entire house began to shake.

The incident caused her dogs to "kick off" and spooked the horses on the farm who had to be calmed down afterwards.

Other people in the area experienced something similar at 2.10pm today, including Ms Green's neighbour whose house also began to shake inexplicably at the same time.

Fireball 5

Bright meteor fireball recorded over southern Spain

Spain meteor fireball
© YouTube/Meteors (screen capture)
This beautiful meteor overflew the south of Spain on 2020 September 14 at about 2:23 local time (equivalent to 0:23 universal time). It was generated by a rock (a meteoroid) from a comet that hit the atmosphere at around 80,000 km/h. It began at an altitude of about 102 km over Ciudad Real, and ended at a height of around 34 km over Córdoba.

The event was recorded in the framework of the SMART project, which is being conducted by the Southwestern Europe Meteor Network (SWEMN). The event was spotted from the meteor-observing stations located at Sevilla, La Sagra (Granada), La Hita (Toledo), and Calar Alto.


Fireball 5

Meteor fireball stunningly captured over Djuma Game Reserve, South Africa

South Africa meteor fireball
© YouTube/ Djuma Private Game Reserve (screen capture)
A meteor fireball was recorded on camera over the Gowrie dam on Djuma Game Reserve, in the Sabi Sand Wildtuin, South Africa on 13th September. As it blazed across the night sky it was caught reflecting on the waterhole, which has the oldest cam in Africa and the world and has been broadcasting LIVE from the spot since 1998.


Fireball 4

Amateur astronomer discovers kilometer-size asteroid

Asteroid
© NASA
An artist's conception of a near-Earth asteroid.
We have not yet found all the large, potentially hazardous near-Earth objects, as highlighted by the recent discovery of a kilometer-size asteroid.

Amateur astronomer Leonardo Amaral was scanning the skies on the night of August 27th, imaging a region in the constellation Indus, when he picked up a cosmic interloper: the asteroid 2020 QU6.

Amaral used the 0.3-meter reflector at the Campo dos Amarais observatory near Sau Paulo, Brazil. The observatory had received a recent upgrade thanks to a Planetary Society grant.

Turns out, 2020 QU6 is about a kilometer across — a surprising find given that most such large objects have been found and cataloged. The asteroid orbits the Sun once every 3.26 years on an orbit inclined 23.5° relative to the ecliptic plane. It poses no current threat to Earth, having passed within 40 million kilometers (24 million miles, more than 100 times the Earth-Moon distance) on September 10th. That's the closest the asteroid will come to Earth in the 21st century.

Question

Loud boom heard in Kilkenny, Ireland - again!

Loud boom in Kilkenny
© KCLR
Tholsel in Kilkenny City
In a case of "hear" we go again another Big Bang was heard in Kilkenny last night.

A number of residents in the city & even on the Bennettsbridge Road reported a loud boom before midnight.

It follows a mystery sound that echoed on August 1, the source of which has yet to be confirmed - it's still under investigation by gardai. (More about that here).

A garda spokesperson this morning told KCLR News that some members also heard last night's noise but don't believe it to be anything sinister.

Comment: Previously: Kilkenny, Ireland residents baffled by mystery 'loud bang' heard around city