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Tue, 22 Sep 2020
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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


Fireball 4

Meteor fireball booms over California in stunning video - ''That was a close call'

FIREBALL
A huge meteor streaked in the skies above California, leaving onlookers stunned with one claiming it was "a close call".

Residents of California were stunned when a bright fireball boomed above them, producing stunning green colours. The meteor hit Earth's atmosphere on Sunday, September 6, above California, with dozens reporting the sighting.

Some Californians claimed it to be the best meteor sighting they had ever seen, while others were stunned by how close it seemingly came to ground.


Cloud Precipitation

Nigeria flood death toll rises to 20, over 50,000 families displaced in Jigawa - 500,000 hectares of farmland devastated in Kebbi

floods
The Jigawa State government has said the death toll in Jigawa flood has risen to twenty.

Executive Secretary, State Emergency Management Agency, (SEMA) Yusuf Sani disclosed this to DAILY POST.

He said those affected were mostly children as a result of a collapsed building caused by heavy rainfall .

DAILY POST reported that sixteen people lost their lives while thousands of houses and farmlands were destroyed as a result of a heavy downpour last week.

Yusuf explained that the flood displaced over 50,000 families, and thousands of farmlands were also submerged.


Comment: AllAfrica reported on the same date:
Floods have again hit several parts of the country, severely affecting farmlands and displacing thousands of people, especially in Kebbi State where our correspondent reports that it ravaged over 500,000 hectares of farm produce estimated at over N5billion, while also rendering people homeless in other states, heightening threats to food security.

Besides other factors threatening food security in Nigeria, including the seemingly intractable terrorism, banditry and killer herdsmen's onslaught which are steadily spreading across the country, harvest of farm produce might be imperiled this year and even the next as a result of flooding.

In Kebbi State for instance, 500,000 hectares was recently devastated by flood, 450,000 hectares of it being for rice farms.

This has heightened fears that by next year, majority of farmers in the state, particularly rice farmers, would be out of business.

Many farmlands visited by our correspondent were overrun by floods, just as rice farms were submerged.



Fireball 2

Meteor fireball over central Spain (Sep. 4)

FIREBALL
This bright meteor overflew Spain on 2020 September 4 at about 3:14 local time (equivalent to 1:14 universal time). It was generated by a rock from a comet that hit the atmosphere at around 54,000 km/h. It began at an altitude of about 101 km over the province of Toledo, and ended at a height of around 75 km. The total length travelled by the meteoroid in the atmosphere was of about 45 km.

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 La Hita (Toledo), La Sagra (Granada), and Seville.