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Now they tell us...Hazardous asteroids may be colliding with the planet 10 times more often than scientists have previously believed

Image
© NASA
Chelyabinsk rock
There are scads of building-size, potentially hazardous asteroids lurking in Earth's immediate neighborhood, and they may be colliding with the planet 10 times more often than scientists have previously believed, according to a new study published Wednesday that examined the airburst of a 25-million-pound asteroid earlier this year near the Russian city of Chelyabinsk.

Three studies released Wednesday, two in the journal Nature and one in the journal Science, have provided the most detailed description and analysis of the dramatic event on the morning of Feb. 15. Scientists now estimate the diameter of the object at just a hair under 20 meters, or about 65 feet. Undetected by astronomers, the rock came out of the glare of the sun and hit the atmosphere at 43,000 miles per hour.

As it descended through the atmosphere, it broke into fragments, creating a series of explosions with the combined energy of about 500 kilotons of TNT, making it more than 30 times more powerful than the atom bomb that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945, although the energy in this case was spread out over a much broader area.

The shock wave blew out windows in nearly half the buildings in Chelyabinsk. It knocked people off their feet; dozens were sunburned by the blinding flash, which at its peak was 30 times brighter than the sun. About 1,200 people were hurt, most by broken and flying glass, but no one was killed.

Comment: Here's a great book that sheds even more light on this 'ongoing problem', Laura Knight-Jadczyk's latest:

Comets and the Horns of Moses


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Comets cause spectacular sight in Oklahoma sky


Tulsa, Oklahoma - People across Oklahoma are being treated to an amazing sight in the night sky, thanks to two comets, one familiar and one that's brand new.

The familiar one is causing the Leonid meteor shower. The shower happens every year when Earth passes through the tail of Comet Tempel-Tuttle, which was first discovered in 1865.

This year people across Oklahoma and bordering states have reported seeing brilliant meteors crashing toward Earth thanks to the Leonids. They're called that because they appear to radiate from a point in the Leo the Lion constellation.

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Meteor fireball glowed so brightly over Oklahoma and Texas, residents reported 'plane crashed into Lake Texoma'

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Lake Texoma on the border of Oklahoma and Texas
Lake Texoma -- Bryan County residents and first responders were in for a scare Saturday night when they received reports of a plane crashing into Lake Texoma.

Grayson County received a 91-1 call last night reporting a plane crashing into Lake Texoma. After investigating, authorities found what appeared to be a fiery crash may have been a meteor falling from the sky.

When the Grayson County Sheriff's Office received a 9-11 call Saturday night reporting a plane engulfed in flames crashing into Lake Texoma. A mutli-agency investigation was launched.

According to Deputy Vinny Cacace, " Bryan County Sheriff's Office, Cartwright, Colbert fire, Colbert Police Department, Lighthorse Police Department, Emergency Management, Denison Fire of course launched on their side and Grayson County, Marshall County did the same as well."

The responding agencies used all resources available to them to locate the reported plane.

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Video: Extreme weather, fireballs and UFOs of November, 2013

As the title indicates, so far this month, we've seen more extreme weather, more sinkholes, a volcano erupting that had been dormant for 400 years, more fireballs, UFOs and strange 'sky' sounds. They're all definitely signs of the times!


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Asteroid to make 'close' pass to Earth on Monday

2001 AV43
© NASA/JPL
The orbit of asteroid 2001 AV43, a space rock about the same size as the one that created Meteor Crater in Arizona, can be viewed here.
Astronomers are hoping to get a close look at an asteroid Monday as it makes a relatively close pass to Earth.

The space rock, known as 2001 AV43, will approach within 650,000 miles, or 2.7 times the distance from the Earth to the moon. That is considered an eyelash width in cosmic terms.

The rapidly spinning asteroid, discovered on Jan. 5, 2001, by MIT's Lincoln Laboratory, is flying by at a relative velocity of 8,000 mph and has an estimated diameter of between 100 and 230 feet.

That makes it about the same size as the rock that created mile-wide, 550-feet deep Meteor Crater in Arizona about 50,000 years ago. That one was 165 feet in diameter and exploded with the equivalent force of 10 megatons of TNT.

The angle of approach of 2001 AV43 makes it a good radar target for the Goldstone Deep Space Network in California's Mojave Desert and the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, scientists say.

Meanwhile, astronomers using observatories in Hawaii are gathering information on two recently discovered and surprisingly large near-Earth asteroids.

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Yet another meteor fireball blazes a trail over Japan, 16 November 2013

Another fireball traversing the sky, this time over Japan.


Source

Comment: Amazing fireball caught in the sky of Japan - October 30, 2013


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Meteor fireball roars over Bangladesh, lights up night sky - 13 November 2013

Tura - A meteorite falling in the areas bordering Bangladesh created panic among the residents of the Garo Hills region. The meteorite, which fell inside Bangladesh, lit up the night sky around 10.30 pm last night. It was eagerly watched by the residents living along these areas.

The meteorite fell close to the Dumnikura BoP in the Sherpur district of Bangladesh, just beside the international border and the impact was heard even 40 km away from the area where it fell. Dumnikura is a border outpost in the South Garo Hills, very close to where five police personnel were killed last week.

A resident of the neighbouring Dalu village in West Garo Hills, Dipu Marak, was witness to the incident.

He said, "We heard a loud noise around 10.30 pm last night and immediately rushed outside. We were in a state of shock. The meteorite lit up the night sky and narrowly missed us."

Other local residents said the whole area shook under the impact of the fall and the light could be seen even on the Indian side of the border.

Panic-stricken people, who ran out of their houses, said that the sound resembled that of an aeroplane's at a close range.

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Meteor fireballs are exploding so often these days, photographer captured precise moment one exploded over Southern California on 6 November 2013

I've been shooting photos for 20 years. I've made my living in the profession for the last 15. I can count on one hand the number of times that everything lined up perfectly and a truly rare image was created. Now, I don't want to toot my own horn about this shot, but the fact that, during a 30 second exposure, after a 10 second timer (during which I hopped down from the roof of my truck where the camera was on a tripod, and joined the scene by the fire), a meteor (or so they tell us) would enter the sky EXACTLY in the corner of the frame and explode in the very part of the frame that needed balance, just as I had finally worked out the correct exposure and lighting to match the foreground with the night sky, is beyond rare. It's a non-chance. There is no way to plan for something like this. No way to even hope for it.
Exploding Meteor
© Scott Rinckenberger
But lest you get the impression that I'm subscribing to a lifestyle of reliance on freakish luck, there is a deeper game at play here. Namely this: If you shoot enough arrows, eventually you'll pull a Robin Hood and split the arrow that was already a bulls-eye. When I took this shot, it was the final day of my project shooting fall landscapes in the American West. Five weeks previous, I had left Seattle in my truck with no mission beyond creating and sharing beautiful photography as I chased good weather almost all the way to the Mexican border. Every morning, I was up shooting the sunrise.

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Bright lights as fireball streak across the skies in Southern California


Numerous sightings of bright lights in the skies across Southern California may be the result of the South Taurids meteor showers.

These meteors are generally the most visible in the first half of November.

You can expect to see two to 10 meteors an hour, regardless of your location, according to the American Meteor Society.

Southern Taurid meteors are considered to be rather slow, but they make up for it by being exceptionally bright.

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Sunday night's fireball over Alabama was a 'Jupiter family comet,' NASA says

Meteor Path
© NASA/MSFC/Bill Cooke
This map shows the meteor's path across middle Alabama on Nov. 10, 2013.
Huntsville - NASA says the fireball that streaked across Alabama Sunday night was a piece of a comet about as wide as a can of soda. The comet was caught on four of NASA's sky watch cameras about 7:22 p.m. CT.

"It was picked up at an altitude of 55 miles moving east of south at 51,000 miles per hour," Dr. Bill Cooke, director of NASA's Meteoroid Environments Office at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, said today in an email. "It burned up at an altitude of 27 miles just south of Anniston."

Based on the "light curve" created by the fragment's passing, Cooke said it was "about 2.5 inches across and weighed about 5 ounces. It was six times brighter than Venus at its peak."