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Victoria S. Hardy

Victoria S. Hardy

Monday, January 14, 2008

Comets, Meteors and Asteroids, Oh My!



Seems the last year was littered with sightings of strange lights in the sky, meteors, comets and now, asteroids. The most intriguing thus far has been Comet Holmes which still can be seen in the constellation Perseus and in the coming days it will appear to swallow the star Algol. Space Weather I’ve pondered at great length why Comet Holmes hasn’t received the media attention that it was due and I remember a time not that long ago when comets, meteor showers and celestial events were mentioned regularly in the mainstream media, but those days seem to be gone.

Recently there has been discussion of the small asteroid 2007 WD5 that was discovered on November 20th at Mount Lemmon Survey. At first astronomers gave the asteroid a 1 in 25 chance of striking Mars on January 30th of this year, but those odds have recently changed to 1 in 10,000. NASA And interestingly enough, 84 PHAs were discovered in 2007 bringing the total to 909 known Potentially Hazardous Asteroids. 2007 TU24 is included on this list, discovered on October 11th by Catalina Sky Survey, just 110 days before it passes within 345,000 miles of Earth on approximately January 29, 2008. Astroguard

Goldstone Observatory located in the Mojave Desert lists 2007 TU24 on the asteroid schedule as an extremely strong target with need of astrometry, which is the scientific measurement of the positions and motions of celestial bodies. NASA And the simulator seems to show 2007 TU24 passing incredibly close to earth at the end of this month, although NASA has not updated the information since January 1, 2008. NASA

The skies above our heads are very busy these days, as NASA has recently sent the Deep Impact probe on a new mission to meet up with Comet Hartley 2 in the year 2010. The spacecraft will swing by the earth three times, gaining momentum and then, according to William Blume of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, "We're taking laps around the sun until the comet comes.” Initially NASA wanted the probe’s second mission to be an exploration of Comet 85P/Boethin, but surprisingly it seems to be missing and both ground and space based telescopes have been unable to locate the comet. CBS

And down here on earth the skies appear to be busy as well, as people seem to be reporting more and more sightings of meteors streaking across the skies or meteorites crashing into their homes. Wednesday night in Nigeria a meteorite crashed into the home of a Mana Village resident, completely destroying the roof and coming to rest in a hole two meters deep. This Day

Also on Wednesday night a green streak of a meteor was sighted in the skies above Peterborough and Stamford in the UK. Several people spotted the streak in the sky; including systems engineer Adam Warr as he walked his dog in Peterborough. "I'm glad someone else saw it, because I thought I was imagining things.” Mr. Warr stated the meteor was football sized, very bright, had a green halo surrounding it and it was heading towards Ferry Meadows. “Any fan of HG Wells or '70s prog rock would find startling parallels between this and the Martian cylinders in the War of the Worlds. I was half expecting to see giant metal tripods emerging from Ferry Meadows.” Peterborough Today

On Tuesday in Florida, Alexandra Gregory photographed a meteor coming down in the Poinciana area. FOX Orlando And a green fireball was seen over Baltimore by several witnesses on Monday evening. One witness states it is the second one he has seen in two months. Baltimore Sun

On Christmas Eve in California, several firefighters on their way to check burn piles saw a greenish, bright light and an object streaking across the evening sky. The firefighters were not alone in spotting the flash of light in the sky as several residents, a couple of state patrol officers and a sheriff’s deputy also reported seeing the event. Shasta County Sheriff's deputy Jesse Gunsauls endured some ribbing from his co-workers when he admitted that he’d seen the “greenish light”. "It didn't look like a shooting star," he stated, adding, "Do I think it was aliens -- no." Redding.com

On December 26 in Canada, a couple out for a late afternoon walk saw a mysterious object falling from the sky followed by a dark, spiral-like plume of smoke. The couple thought it may have been a plane crash, but after calls to the area airport and the
Federal Transportation Safety Board they concluded that no planes had crashed. Ottawa Citizen

And in the most interesting case of the year a meteorite crashed in a small Peru village in September, creating a crater 65 feet wide and 15 feet deep. Soon some 200 villagers began complaining of headaches, nausea and respiratory problems. Even though the water in the muddy crater boiled for 10 minutes and released a foul odor, officials did not feel that the sickness was related to any toxic fumes released by the meteorite, but was induced by the fear of the thunderous roar the meteor made entering the atmosphere. Any sickness the villagers experienced “wouldn't be the meteorite itself, but the dust it raises," stated meteor expert Ursula Marvin. CNN

These examples are just a handful of the meteor sightings reported in recent months, not counting the UFO sightings and sightings of what NASA refers to as “fuel dumps”. It appears that an awful lot is occurring over our heads these days, both literally and figuratively and while we are focused on Britney Spears and political bickering we may be missing something quite important.

The lack of media coverage of Comet Holmes made me think that someone does not want our attention focused on the sky and the mixed message of informing us that an asteroid may hit Mars, but not informing us that an asteroid is coming very close to Earth, leaves me a bit concerned. Could we are entering some type of debris field? Will the reports of streaking lights and crashing meteorites only become more common? Over time will the drizzle of rocks become a storm as predicted in the bible?

Perhaps there is a reason that old civilizations spent so much time watching the heavens, perhaps they knew something that has been lost through the ages. In today’s world we seem to keep our eyes focused only on what is directly in front of us, but the prophets of old tell us that to be prepared for the upcoming changes we must look for signs in the sky. Perhaps it is time we began looking up.

As Usual, Keep Seeking

1 comment:

Jerry Abbott said...

If you want to learn how to do celestial mechanics yourself, I can teach you a bit of it.

Determining an orbit with three geocentric angular positions by the method of Gauss.

http://jenab6.livejournal.com/12572.html

Elliptical transfer orbits.

http://jenab6.livejournal.com/12053.html

Hohmann transfer orbits.

http://jenab6.livejournal.com/1510.html

Predicting lunar eclipses.

http://jenab6.livejournal.com/13341.html

I'm a Seeker, also. I come at it mainly in conflict with the politically correct doctrine of racial equality.

My Letter to Dr. Milford Wolpoff (anthropologist, Univ. of Michigan) on the Reality of Race.

http://jenab6.livejournal.com/12936.html

And I think that I've learned who's been responsible for most of the media's illusions for the past hundred years.

Do the mainstream media ever lie?

http://jenab6.livejournal.com/11018.html