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Thu, 18 Jul 2019
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Fireballs

Fireball 2

SpaceX contracted by NASA to attempt to 'redirect' asteroid

Asteroids
© Pixabay

Despite an admission last year that it may be impossible to stop the 8.8 ton asteroid
Bennu from annihilating life on Earth, the perennial optimists at NASA have nevertheless granted SpaceX a $69 million contract to assist in the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), intended to save Earth from interstellar armageddon. The test, tentatively scheduled for June 2021, will have Elon's Musketeers crashing a kinetic impactor - in this case, a spacecraft equipped with cameras and solar panels - into a small moonlet accompanying Didymos, an 800-meter-long near-Earth asteroid. NASA notes that the moonlet, dubbed "Didymoon" by scientists, "is more typical of the size of asteroids that could pose a more common hazard to Earth" than its massive chaperone.

The goal, NASA says, is to launch the DART spacecraft atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that will then make its way to Didymos and Didymoon to attempt to alter the latter's trajectory in a rehearsal for what could one day be a high-stakes game of cosmic bumper cars. "By using solar electric propulsion," NASA says, "DART will intercept the asteroid Didymos' small moon in October 2022, when the asteroid will be within 11 million kilometers of Earth." Meanwhile, Earthlings will watch with bated breath.

"The collision will change the speed of the moonlet in its orbit around the main body by a fraction of one percent," NASA promises, "enough to be measured using telescopes on Earth."

Fireball 5

Meteor fireball lights up the sky in the upper Midwest

Fireball - stock image
People in the Dakotas, Minnesota and Western Wisconsin witnessed something rare Sunday night, April 14, when a bright meteor lit up the night sky.

Jason Doty of south Fargo caught this video the fireball on his doorbell camera at 11:20 p.m.

A fireball is a larger than average meteor, a rock in space that hits the atmosphere at high speed causing it to burn up.

Thousands of fireballs occur every day around the globe, but most are not seen because they are usually over the ocean.

(See video here)

Comment: Two nights later another: Meteor fireball streaks through Minnesota's night sky


Fireball

Meteor fireball streaks through Minnesota's night sky

Fireball - stock image
There were witness reports from Grand Forks all the way to the Twin Cities.

A vibrant meteor lit up the sky from North Dakota to Wisconsin overnight, and Michael Stanga captured it on video around 2:30 a.m. as he looked to the northwest from Otsego, Minnesota.


Comment: Two nights earlier in the same region: Meteor fireball lights up the sky in the upper Midwest


Fireball 2

Very bright meteor fireball illuminates night sky over Brazil

Brazil meteor
© YouTube/AMS/L. KLITZKE (screen capture)
A very bright meteor fireball illuminated the night sky over Rio Grande do Sul and State of Santa Catarina, Brazil on April 12, 2019 according to the American Meteor Society (AMS).

The impressive event (1702-2019) was recorded and a video uploaded to the AMS website.


Fireball 5

Meteor fireball recorded over San Antonio, Texas

Texas meteor
© AMS/J. Boyd
Meteor fireball over Texas (Event #2019-1671)
A bright meteor fireball was recorded blazing through the night sky over San Antonio, Texas on April 11, 2019.

The American Meteor Society (AMS) received 45 reports of the event.


Info

'Morphospace' governs recovery after mass extinction

Mass Extinction Event
© MARK GARLICK/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY/Getty Images
The re-establishment of species diversity following an extinction event is consistently slower than evolutionary theory predicts.
Theory tells us that after a mass extinction, an event where the diversity of species is drastically reduced, nature should rebound with a flurry of creativity. Species should quickly proliferate to refill desolate ecosystems, something called adaptive radiation.

Yet, the paleontological record suggests that this doesn't happen at anywhere near the expected pace. Now, research published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution argues that understanding something called "morphospace" might help us find the cause.

Extinction events happen with alarming regularity: there's the "big five", but a host of slightly smaller, yet still devastating extinctions have peppered the planet's history.

Scientists now worry that we might be in the middle of one of our own making, so this makes it all the more important to understand how the natural world bounces back from such catastrophes.

Perhaps the most well-known of the earth's mass extinctions is the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) extinction event. This took place 66 million years ago when an asteroid smacked into the earth next to what is now the Yucatán Peninsula, creating the nearly 200-kilometre-wide depression known as the Chicxulub crater. This impact drove the extinction of all the non-avian dinosaurs, and much else besides.

Meteor

Meteor fireball cause of sonic boom heard in northeast Oklahoma

The GOES-16 Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) capture a meteor in NE Oklahoma around 5:20pm. The meteor was visible across much of the area and a large green fireball.

The meteor created a smoke trail as it burned across the sky; Tisha Rowley shot this picture of the smoke.
Meteor smoke trail over NE OK
The meteor generated a sonic boom as it burned entering Earth's atmosphere; the boom was heard across much of our area.

If you heard a low rumble or something that sounded like "thunder" in the distance between 5:20-5:25pm: you heard the meteor.

Comment: A daytime meteor was also seen earlier that day over Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia


Meteor

'Loud boom' heard in central North Carolina

Mystery boom in central NC
© WGHP
Residents living along a rural road in Trinity were alarmed by a mysterious noise and movement they say happened late Monday night.

"It was a very loud boom," Dianne Williams said.

Williams was alarmed to hear such a loud noise, followed by shaking. She said it was scary for her dogs too.

"I heard bang, bang, in the laundry room, so I opened the door where we keep our pots and pans and they were on the floor!" Williams said.

But she wasn't the only person along the road to hear the noise and feel the movement in the ground.


Fireball 2

Meteor fireball caught on home surveillance camera in Las Vegas, Nevada

Fireball over Las Vegas
© KSNV
A mysterious light in the sky was caught on home surveillance cameras in the southwest valley.

Was the fiery streak a meteor? A satellite?

A doorbell camera from a Rhodes Ranch home caught a streak of light flying across the sky Tuesday morning just after 4 a.m.

Southwest resident Shannon Graham said, "Amazing. I haven't seen anything like that. It's pretty cool to see that."

Shannon Graham lives in the area. Graham says the video of the mysterious streak brings back memories as a child looking up at the sky during meteor showers.

"They are not as uncommon as you think. I remember growing up. We would go outside and put lawn chairs out and watch the meteor showers", she says.


Fireball

Bright meteor fireball filmed streaking through Puerto Rico skies

fireball puerto
© Frankie Lucena
Screen shot of the fireball from Franke Lucena's facebook
Skywatcher Franke Lucena filmed a fireball blazing through the night skies of Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico, at 04:01 local time on Tuesday 9th April. According to reports, the event lasted for about 5 seconds before burning up in the atmosphere.

Also that evening there have been 53 reports to the American Meteor Society (AMS) of a fireball sighted from the US, so there may be another sighting and more footage to come.

If you would like to report a sighting, you can do so with the AMS here.

Comment: The uptick in fireball sightings continues apace: