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Tue, 28 Sep 2021
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Meteor strike: Investigating a cosmic crime scene

© Youtube
A meteorite causes panic as it falls in the Ural Mountains region of Russia, Feb. 2013.
A new video tells the tale of an unlikely bit of astronomical forensics.

Is there anything sneakier than an asteroid? They run silent, run deep and run very, very fast - hurtling toward Earth from any point in the vast bowl of the sky at speeds that can exceed 40,000 mph (64,000 k/h). They typically whiz right past us or plunge harmlessly and spectacularly into the atmosphere, burning up before they hit the ground - unless, of course, they explode in the sky or collide with the surface, leaving a massive footprint of destruction for miles around.

Asteroids - or, in their atmospheric incarnations, meteors or meteorites - don't do that kind of damage very often anymore, perhaps once every 70 to 100 years on average.

Comment: This may change very soon, as Earth is facing an imminent cosmic threat.

But when they do, they can spell big trouble. You could ask the folks living in the Tunguska region of Russia in 1908, where a 330 ft. (100 m) rock exploded in the sky one morning, flattening trees in an 830 sq. mi. (2,150 sq. km) radius. You could ask the dinosaurs - if they weren't all dead of course, thanks to a 6 mi. (10 km) rock that struck off the Yucatan 65 million years ago, throwing up a sky darkening debris screen that made the planet too cold for them to survive.

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Narrow escape for British family after red-hot sulphuric meteorites rain down on their Shrewsbury garden

© Yahoo!News/SWNS
Sarah Marston-Jones shows off some of the inch-wide fragments which landed in her garden.
A mother-of-two told how her young children had a lucky escape - after fragments from a meteor shower rained down in their back garden.

Sarah Marston-Jones was playing outside with Harry, two, and Benjamin, four, when asteroid rocks fell behind her house in Shrewsbury.

The teacher heard a large 'whooshing' sound and a 'cracking' noise as 15 rocks from the meteorite shower blazed through the earth's atmosphere and onto her lawn at 9.30am on Tuesday.

She was forced to rush her two young children off their trampoline to safety indoors as brown and black fragments showered down just inches from where they were playing.

The red-hot rocks, some of which were more than an inch wide, even left a strong burning smell in the family's Shropshire garden.

Comment: Officially, meteorites are not supposed to be red-hot when they hit the ground. So much for experts...

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Dramatic meteor streaks across San Francisco, California skies

© Danville Patch
This screen shot captures the last big Bay Area meteor siting to create a stir, the Orionids shower in October.
A dramatic meteor reportedly lit up the skies over the East Bay Saturday night, streaking over Alamo and crossing over the Las Trampas Regional Wilderness toward Moraga, according to one witness.

"It looked like a missile," said a Walnut Creek Patch reader, who said it covered miles in a second in a fast, straight line, with a contrail. "We all jumped up."

Meteors of course are a common occurrence, but sometimes they can create quite the buzz, as did the Orionid earlier this year. Read about how that impacted the Bay Area here.

To report meteor sitings or find out news about sitings, here's a cool blog tracking such things: Lunar Meteorite Hunters.

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Delhi school students discover new asteroid

A new asteroid has been discovered by two students from a Delhi school and the find has been confirmed by the international space community, an NGO for popularising space said Saturday. Shourya Chambial and Gaurav Pati from Amity International school in south Delhi's Pushp Vihar made the discovery as part of the All India Asteroid Search Campaign.

"The discovery has been confirmed by the international scientific community and the asteroid has been provisionally named as 2013 LS28," said Science Popularization Association of Communicators and Educators (SPACE) who organized the campaign with International Astronomical Search Collaboration (IASC).

"We are waiting for it to be placed in the world's official minor body catalogue maintained by International Astronomical Union (Paris)," it added.

According to Space, which has been organizing such camps since 2012 and is providing training to students and amateur astronomers for asteroid hunting, the project was started with an aim to increase the love for science, astronomy and scientific research in Indian students.

"The project has provided opportunities to more than 500 students and amateurs in India to discover asteroids till now, 15 new asteroids discoveries have been discovered," said Space.

Sachin Bahmba, of Space said: "Indian students have beaten students all over the world in asteroid discoveries and India is now looked upon as a leader in bringing revolutionary changes in the field of astronomy and space science education and research."

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Meteorite crashes through roof of Pennsylvania business

The mysterious rock.
Mercer, Pennsylvania - There is a mystery surrounding a strange-looking rock that came crashing through the ceiling of a Mercer County business.

It happened sometime late Thursday night or early Friday morning. Employees of the business discovered the shiny, sharp-looking object inside their warehouse Friday morning.

They also found an eight-inch by eight-inch hole in the building's 30-foot high, steel roof where the object came into the building.

The object left a nice dent in the building's cement floor where it landed, too. The owner of the company says he believes the rock could be a meteorite.

However, there's been no official word as to exactly what the object is.
The dent in the floor.

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33 pound meteorite found in Minnesota corn field

An Arlington Minnesota couple discovered a strange rock in one of their corn fields.

Source: KSTP TV Twin Cities

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Huge green fireball with red tail blazes over central Poland, 20 June 2013

Fireball Poland
Fireball over Poland, 20/21 June 2013
A huge fireball as bright as a Quarter Moon crossed the sky over Poland just before midnight on Thursday, reports the Polish Fireball Network (PKiM). It was seen as a falling green ball with a red tail, as reported by a witness from the town of Piaseczno, near Warsaw.

At 23.55 pm local time, Thomas Lewandowski, a member of the PKiM, saw a huge fireball that swept low over the horizon and ended with spectacular flashes. It was seen in the northwest part of the sky when observed from a location near Warsaw.

This observation was quickly confirmed by Paul Zareba who runs a Polish Fireball Network station equipped with four cameras. One of the cameras recorded the phenomenon in all its glory.

The fireball was also picked up on radio waves. Stayed tuned for more information.

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NASA bedtime story: Rock found in Amesbury, Massachusetts backyard 'came from space station'

  • Amesbury - Phil Green wasn't quite sure what he had, when he noticed the unusual rock on the banks of the Merrimack River.

    His yard backs up to the river and he was on one of his frequent walks, looking for arrowheads. The tide was low, leaving behind exposed mud and smooth granite. And then he noticed something that just didn't look right.

    "There she was just sitting there, sticking up like that, and I said heck what is this," recalls as he holds a large greenish colored rock. "It just didn't belong."

    The rock was covered in mud when Phil found it. It was hard to see the burn marks on the side. At first he thought it was a rock used to make arrowheads. Then he suspected it might be meteorite. He used a metal detector to check and found it wasn't metallic.


    'Flying objects' sighted over Indian city

    Residents of Mogappair claimed to have sighted an unidentified flying object (UFO) on Thursday night.

    Around 8.55 p.m. on Thursday, V.S. Ragunathan, a bank officer, saw five specks of bright orange light moving from the south to the north in the sky. "The spots appeared in batches of five and disappeared after a few seconds," said Mr. Ragunathan.

    His wife and daughter and some of their neighbours too witnessed the spectacle.

    "There was no sound at all and the bright object was flying higher than an aeroplane. Some of our neighbours too saw it," said Jayalakshmi, Ragunathan's wife.

    According to P. Iyamperumal, executive director, Tamil Nadu Science and Technology Centre, the bright objects could be a result of meteor showers. "But the season for meteor showers is usually in November and December," he said. The air traffic control officials at Chennai Airport said they did not receive any reports of foreign flying objects.

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    Fireball from space seen in Oregon sky

    oregon fireball
    © Babyboy5880 on YouTube.com/CJ Shaw
    CJ Shaw captured this image on video, He says it was "shot above Keizer, Oregon on June 15th, 2013 around 11:10 p.m., give or take a few minutes." The sighting was confirmed by OMSI Sunday. Shaw's video was edited using Sony Vegas Pro 12, "only raising [the] brightness/contrast levels and zoom[ing] in using crop/pan," he said in his YouTube post.
    A flaming meteor in the night sky could be seen in Oregon - with reported sightings from Marion to Washington counties - Saturday night.

    Note that it's the white orb to the left of the larger light, which is a street light.

    OMSI Planetarium Manager Jim Todd told KOIN 6 News the meteor was a combination of a "fireball and space junk."

    Todd said the fireball was visible for 7 seconds. He described it as being "a minus 10 on the brightness scale," which according to the International Comet Quarterly is nearly as bright as the full moon.