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Sat, 25 Jan 2020
The World for People who Think



Unexplained boom heard across Hamilton, Ontario remains a mystery

Boom in Hamilton, ON
© The Hamilton Spectator (file photo)
The mystery boom in the wee hours Saturday was a literally moving experience for Bryan Adlam.

"I heard the boom - it was quite loud - but I also felt it. I felt my house move," said the real estate agent, who lives in the Crown Point neighbourhood near the escarpment.

Turns out bewildered residents across the city heard the same thing after 2 a.m. On the beach strip. The Mountain. Even Ancaster.

Adlam posted a question about the sound blast on Facebook that quickly spawned 500-plus comments, theories and, obviously, fart jokes.

But so far, the source of the thunderous bang remains a mystery.

Was it a supersonic jet? An industrial accident? A skyquake? Nobody seems to know.


Residents concerned after they hear, feel loud boom in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania

Mystery boom - stock
© Thinkstock/Getty Images
People living in the New Tripoli area of Lehigh County want to know what caused an explosion Tuesday morning.

They say they heard or felt a blast, but authorities say they can't determine a cause.

Micki Tapper says she was awake at 7:30 a.m. That's when she heard it.

"There was just a really loud boom. My house shook, my windows shook," Tapper said.

The sound is picked up by her security camera microphone. You can hear a noise, but you can't discern much about it, or how far away it was.

Still, it was alarming. Tapper says she went outside to look around her home because she thought a tree fell on her house.

Comment: You can hear the booming sound starting at :25 in WTMZ's video coverage.

Fireball 5

Nuke sensors detect asteroid explosion in the atmosphere over the Caribbean

Asteroid Explosion
© William Straka III/University of Wisconsin
On June 22nd at 21:25 UT, a small asteroid entered Earth's atmosphere and exploded in broad daylight south of Puerto Rico. Airwaves recorded by the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization's infrasound station in Bermuda pegged the blast energy between 3 and 5 kilotons of TNT-a fraction of a WW II atomic bomb. The explosion was clearly visible in images from NOAA's GOES-16 weather satellite:

Meteor expert Peter Brown of the University of Western Ontario says the infrasound signal is consistent with a "small multi-meter sized near-Earth asteroid." According to data compiled by NASA's Center for Near Earth Object Studies, asteroids of this size and energy hit Earth's atmosphere about once a year. That means it's rare-but not exceptionally so.

Comet 2

ESA puts comet mission on fast track

Montezuma observing a comet.
© DEA / G. DAGLI ORTI/Getty Images
A sixteenth century illustration showing Montezuma observing a comet. The European Space Agency has a different plan.
Scientists at the European Space Agency (ESA) are working on a new "fast" mission to make the first flyby of a pristine comet - meaning one that has never before passed close to the sun.

Since the first comet mission, all the way back in 1978, numerous space agencies have made more than a dozen comet flybys, including one rendezvous and landing.

But never before has a mission attempted to visit a comet on its first plunge toward the sun, when its never-before-heated surface is almost unchanged from when it formed at the dawn of the solar system, some 4.5 billion years ago.

The recently approved mission, called Comet Interceptor, will also be unique in what it does as it nears its target.

Rather than simply flying by, it will split into four parts, each of which will whizz past the comet on a slightly different trajectory.

Three of these will be tiny instrument packages, which will view the comet from different angles. This will allow scientists back on Earth to create detailed 3D models not only of its surface, but of the gas, dust, and plasma surrounding it.

The fourth will be the mother ship, which will collect data from the smaller probes and relay it back to Earth.

"It's a novel concept," says Fabio Favata, head of the Strategy, Planning, and Coordination Office in ESA's Directorate of Science.

Details of the mission have yet to be determined, but the use of the word "fast" in its description doesn't mean it will be traveling at warp speed.


Meteor fireball sends shockwaves over Queensland, Australia

Weather monitoring cameras have captured the moment a meteor exploded over Queensland, Australia on Saturday night (June 22)

According to the operator of the cameras, the blast at 10 pm sent shockwaves towards the Brisbane area.

A second camera showed the blast lighting the sky green above homes in the city of Ipswich.

Fireball 2

Meteor fireball seen over Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, New York and New Jersey

Fireball over PA
© Christoper S.
On June 8, 2019, over 30 reports were received by the American Meteor Society of a fireball seen in six northeast US states. Christoper S. in Seven Valleys, Pennsylvania captured the meteor on his security camera:

Fireball 2

Reports of meteor fireball seen over west Texas

Fireball over Hawley, TX
© Kevin P.
The American Meteor Society received 4 reports of a fireball over west Texas on June 15, 2019. Kevin P. filmed the meteor as it flew over Hawley:

Fireball 4

Meteor fireball flying over the Ozarks in Arkansas captured on skycam

Fireball over the Ozarks, AR
© YouTube/Lost In The Ozarks
On June 10, 2019, The American Meteor Society received two reports of a fireball over the Ozark Mountains in northern Arkansas. The meteor was also visible in southwest Missouri. William M.'s Allsky camera in Marshall, Arkansas captured the event:

Fireball 3

Meteor fireball seen flying over Flagstaff, Arizona

Fireball over Flagstaff, AZ
© Spalding Allsky Camera Network S.
The American Meteor Society received 2 reports of a fireball over Flagstaff, Arizona on June 11, 2019. Spalding Allsky Camera Network S. was able to film footage of the event:


Meteor fireball soars over Qujing in China's Yunnan province

Fireball over Qujing, China
© Yaolei W.
On June 8, 2019, the American Meteor Society received a report of a meteor seen over of China's Yunnan province. Y. Wang caught video of the fireball as it flew over Qujing: