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Fireballs

Fireball 5

Researchers use lasers to manipulate spin of 'asteroid' in simulated experiment

Image
© UC Santa Barbara/Vimeo
Researchers have honed laser technology to be able to slow, stop, and reverse the rotation of an asteroid-like target in a simulated space environment. The findings could potentially help deflect Earth-bound asteroids in the event of a major-impact threat.TagsEducation, SciTech, Science,Space

The DE-STAR (Directed Energy System for Targeting of Asteroids and exploRation) can, among other uses, stop the rotation of a spinning asteroid, according to small-scale, graphic demonstrations by the Experimental Cosmology Group, led by UC Santa Barbara physicist Philip Lubin and Gary B. Hughes, a researcher and professor at California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo.

In order to simulate the laser's deflection capabilities, researchers used basalt, which is composed of materials similar to those of an asteroid. The team directed a laser at the basalt until it began to turn from a mineral to a gas. As the "asteroid" lost mass, it became a propellant.

"What happens is a process called sublimation or vaporization, which turns a solid or liquid into a gas," said Travis Brashears, a student at the University of California-Berkeley involved in the research. "That gas causes a plume cloud — mass ejection — which generates an opposite and equal reaction or thrust — and that's what we measure."


Magnets were used to spin the basalt, simulating a rotating asteroid. The laser system was also used to slow the rotation of the target.

Comment: This technology is likely being developed for reasons other than space exploration and mining asteroids.


Fireball 2

Did a bright fireball crash to earth close to Ashbourne in the UK?

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Did a bright meteor crash to earth close to Ashbourne last night? STOCK PHOTO
The News Telegraph has been contacted by reader Michelle Brooks to find out if anyone else saw a possible meteorite crash to earth last night.

Michelle said she saw a bright, fast moving fireball streak across the night skies close to Waterhouses.

She said: "It happened about 11.20pm.

"My front room window faces directly North and I guess the position was NNE .

"t was low and the 'ball' disappeared behind a rooftop the tail disappeared very quickly as normal.

"From my perspective I'd say it was football sized not a tiny pin prick we usually see.

"It was also very low indeed, not far from horizon when it disappeared from my view behind a rooftop in the distance."

Meteor

Unusual streaks of light seen in Hawaii skies

Image
© Reed Shook
Many residents across the state observed unusual streaks of light or a "fireball" over Hawaiian skies late Sunday night, raising questions about what it could possibly be.

People from Kona to Oahu's North Shore thought it was a meteor or government experiment. Turns out, it was just junk. Space junk. An abandoned Russian spy satellite -- the Cosmos 1315 -- which launched in 1981 fell to earth, burning up as it did.

"When it starts to re-enter the atmosphere its going about 18,000 miles an hour," says University of Hawaii astronomer Richard Wainscoat, "A lot of it is going to get vaporized but if there are really big pieces then some of them may make it down to the earth's surface."

Wainscoat actually missed the spectacular event.
"I'm pretty annoyed that I was asleep when this happened."


The sighting also created a lot of buzz on the Hawaii News Now Facebook page with dozens of users posting videos and photos of the curious event.

Image
© Nuran Dada

Comment: See also:


Fireball 4

Early morning fireball over St. George, Utah

Fireball
© Stock image/St. George News
St. George — Reports came in to the Utah Highway Patrol Cedar City Dispatch Center Friday describing a fireball streaking across the sky south of SunRiver St. George just before 7:30 a.m.

A fireball occurs when a meteor enters Earth's atmosphere and burns brightly before being consumed by the fire, and is defined by the American Meteor Society as an object that is brighter than the planet Venus.

The American Meteor Society received reports from three observers in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, Flagstaff, Arizona, and Pahrump, Nevada, of a fireball about the same time as the Southern Utah sighting. San Diego-based Robert Lunsford, the report coordinator for the AMS, said it was probably the same object, but it likely burned up in the atmosphere before hitting the ground.

Arrow Down

Cosmetic and cleaning products contain huge quantities of plastic particles posing serious risk to marine life

microplastic
© Thompson/Bakir/Plymouth University
This image captured by an electron microscope shows polyethylene microbeads widely used in shower gel.
Everyday cosmetic and cleaning products contain huge quantities of plastic particles, which are released to the environment and could be harmful to marine life, according to a new study.

Research at Plymouth University has shown almost 100,000 tiny 'microbeads' -- each a fraction of a millimetre in diameter -- could be released in every single application of certain products, such as facial scrubs.

The particles are incorporated as bulking agents and abrasives, and because of their small size it is expected many will not be intercepted by conventional sewage treatment, and are so released into rivers and oceans.

Researchers, writing in Marine Pollution Bulletin, estimate this could result in up to 80 tonnes of unnecessary microplastic waste entering the sea every year from use of these cosmetics in the UK alone.

Comment: Microbeads are highly potent concentrators of toxins. Tiny marine creatures often mistake these particles for food, and these plankton are eaten in large numbers by other fish. These chemicals then biomagnify up the food chain, meaning that top predators such as tuna and swordfish, which are consumed by humans, have high concentrations.


Fireball 2

Large bolide seen over eastern Norway

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© Norwegian meteor network / sun observatory
Meteor seen from Harestua.
The activity of meteor swarm Perseids is at its greatest these days and several in Eastern Norway who were up in the night to see meteors, got a great experience.

A large bolide appeared 1:50:39 and lit up the night. It shone like the brightest full moon, was yellow-green in color, some also described it as blue and white, and was visible for 8-9 seconds. However, this was not one Perseid. Over parts of eastern Norway found the admittedly coming from Perseus, but it is a random perspective effect. It was slower and lasted much longer than any Perseid, and seen from elsewhere, it went in a different direction from Perseus.


Cloud Lightning

Signs of Change: Extreme weather and environmental upheaval in August 2015 (VIDEO)

hawkkey davis
© HawkkeyDavisChannel/YouTube
Floods and infernos: August has seen flooding and fires in areas all over the world.
Hawkkey Davis' latest video compilation of extreme weather events (and general environmental chaos) from the past month or so.

The Solomon Islands, Alaska's Aleutian Islands, the Bay Area, Indonesia, Queensland and Maryland are rocked by earthquakes; Reunion Island (the site of the alleged MH370 'wreckage' found earlier this month) and Mexico by volcanoes. The Queensland quake was the biggest in a century. Flash floods in Arizona, northwest China, Iran, Pakistan, Florida, India, Myanmar, Colorado, and Argentina. Wildfires in France, Spain, Montana and California. The Dead Sea tourism industry is threatened by unprecedented sinkholes. All this, plus storms, tornadoes, sand, fireballs, record-breaking heat and more!


Comment: See also: SOTT Earth Changes Summary - July 2015: Extreme Weather and Planetary Upheaval


Comet 2

Meteorite impacts in ancient oceans may have formed DNA building blocks

nucleobases, meteorite impacts
© Dr. Yoshihiro Furukawa
These are chematics of nucleobases formation by meteorite impact on earth.
A new study shown that meteorite impacts on ancient oceans may have created nucleobases and amino acids. Researchers from Tohoku University, National Institute for Materials Science and Hiroshima University discovered this after conducting impact experiments simulating a meteorite hitting an ancient ocean.

With precise analysis of the products recovered after impacts, the team found the formation of nucleobases and amino acids from inorganic compounds. The research is reported this week in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters.

Comment: With the increased frequency of meteors entering our atmosphere in recent years, one might wonder what they might be bringing with them, and the effects on earth of their overhead airbursts and impacts.


Question

Could a meteorite have started the fire in Portland, Oregon man's front yard?

Oregon meteor

Patrick Story says the burned patch in the front yard of his Southeast Portland home lines up with a singed portion of a nearby bush.
A Southeast Portland man thinks a meteor might have caused a mystery fire in his front yard.

Patrick Story says he heard a loud boom outside his house on Wednesday night, coupled with a flash of light.

When he went outside, he found part of his front yard on fire in the shape of a circle.

Firefighters told him the fire was "naturally-caused," however they couldn't find any fragments. Story thinks it was a fallen meteorite.

"Because the bush was set on fire, you can kind of think there was a trajectory of something flying through the air," said Story. "Since it was the night of the Perseid Meteor Shower... you got to wonder."

Comment: This is a sad display of what a scientist thinks about meteors. Hopefully this is not representative of the profession in general. Yes, space is cold, yet how can a scientist given the recent well publicized meteor over Chelyabinsk, Russia and the many examples of meteors entering the atmosphere, burning up and exploding come to the conclusion that "they're simply too cold" in all instances? From an expert in the field, mind-boggling!

Pray tell, how did this meteor, which was obviously larger than a bb, light up the sky on Wednesday night during the Perseid shower?


Fireball 2

Fireball lights up the sky over London, Ontario

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© Western University
This photo shows a fireball shooting over London, Ont. on Aug 12.
Video released by Western University shows a bright fireball that quickly lit up the sky over London, Ont., on Wednesday night during a Perseid event.

According to Peter Brown, a professor with the department of physics and astronomy at Western University, the fireball was travelling at around 60 km per second.

Brown says the object was only about the size of a loonie but because of its immense speed, it was visible with the naked eye from Earth for about 1.5 seconds.

"At this speed, the fireball has the same amount of energy as 400 times its weight in dynamite," Brown said.

"The fireball was bright, much brighter than Venus and any other object in the sky. It was comparable to a half moon," Brown added.