Blog Archives

Meteor Streaks Over The Skies of Central Russia Causing Damage and Injuries

A meteorite traversed across the sky and exploded over central Russia near Chelyabinsk, Russia on Friday February 15, 2013 at 9:30 AM local time. It  Meteorite-2-jpgshowered fireballs over a large expanse while causing aerial explosions that damaged buildings, shattered windows and injured 1,200 people. The Interior Ministry said that the meteorite explosions are a very rare spectacle, it also unleashed a sonic boom.
The meteor was traveling at a speed of 30 km (19 miles) per second according to Russian space agency Roscosmos as it flared across the horizon, leaving in its wake a long white trail that could be seen as far as 200 km (125 miles) away.
The early-morning blast and subsequent shock wave blew out windows on Chelyabinsk’s central Lenin Street, buckled some shop fronts and rattled apartment buildings in the city center.
One piece of meteorite broke through the ice of the Cherbakul Lake near Chelyabinsk, leaving a hole several meters (yards) wide.
According to Russia’s Academy of Sciences the falling celestial body weighed about 10 tonnes and may have been made of iron, entered Earth’s atmosphere and broke apart 30-50 km (19-31 miles) above ground.
A wall and roof were badly damaged at the Chelyabinsk Zinc Plant but a spokeswoman said no environmental threat resulted.
Russia’s Emergencies Ministry said deaths were reported but 20,000 rescue and clean-up workers were sent to the region after President Vladimir Putin told Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov to ease the disruption and help the victims.
The Emergencies Ministry described Friday’s event as a “meteorite shower in the form of fireballs” and said background radiation levels were normal. It urged residents not to panic.
Simon Goodwin, an astrophysics expert from Britain’s University of Sheffield, said that roughly 1,000 to 10,000 tonnes of material rained down from space towards the earth every day, but most burned up in the atmosphere.
The Interior Ministry said about 1,200 people had been injured, at least 200 of them children, and most from shards of glass.
The regional governor in Chelyabinsk said the meteorite shower had caused more than $30 million in damage, and the Emergencies Ministry said 300 buildings had been affected.
The energy released when it entered the Earth’s atmosphere was equivalent to a few kilo-tonnes, the power of a small atomic weapon exploding.
The meteorite struck ironically just as asteroid 2012 DA14, a 46 m in diameter object was due to flyby closer to Earth than some of our orbiting satellites at a distance of 27,520 km (17,100 miles). This is nearer to our planet than any other known object of its size since scientists began routinely monitoring asteroids about 15 years ago.
“This is a record-setting close approach,” says Don Yeomans of NASA‘s Near Earth Object Program at JPL. “Since regular sky surveys began in the 1990s, we’ve never seen an object this big get so close to Earth.”
Scientists compared this recent meteor over Russia with an incident known as the Tunguska Event of 1908, when a meteorite was thought to have devastated an area of more than 2,000 sq km (1,250 miles) in Siberia breaking windows as far as 200 km (125 miles) from the point of impact.

Venus Transit 2012 Is Space History

By Ryan Matthew Dernick

The Venus transit that passed last night is a phenomenon, which occurs in a pattern repeated every 243 years, with pairs of transits eight years apart separated from each other by 105 or 121 years. The last transit was in 2004.  Similar to a solar eclipse, the planet Venus visibly moved across the face of the sun during the event, partially blocking light from the sun to Earth.

June 5-6th SDO images reveal Venus as it transits across the Sun
(Image Source NASA )

Transit took approximately six and a half hours.  If you plan on living another 150 years you shall witness the Venus Transit again in the year 2117.

Historically,transits of Venus helped astronomers gain the first realistic estimates of the size of our solar system. It was noted researcher Johannes Kepler who, in 1627, first accurately predicted a transit of Venus, which occurred four years later.

Venus has truly helped shape the way we observe the heavens at night and allowed us to gain better understanding of Space Science.

Strongest Solar Flare Since 2003 Impacts Earth

By: Ryan Matthew Dernick

Seasoned astronomers and leisurely sky watchers near the city of Tromsø in northern Norway got a spectacular geomagnetic light  show this Tuesday night. On Jan.24, 2012 a powerful M-9 class solar storm led to a dramatic display of the aurora borealis, or Northern Lights. The northern lights even illuminated the skies above Scotland, northern England and northern parts of Ireland. More light shows are expected in the next few days. The northern lights are sometimes seen from northern Scotland but they were also visible Monday night from northeast England and Ireland, where such occurrences are more infrequent

Late Night Northern Lights on Jan 24,2012 near Tromose Norway. Courtesy of a strong Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) aka Solar Storm that departed from the sun Jan 23,2012.

In the Southern Hemisphere these beautiful light shows are referred to as the aurora australis near Antarctica or the Southern Lights.

Amazingly, according to the Solar Dynamical Observatory (SDO) This specific solar flare was ejected off the surface of the sun toward earth on Jan 23,2012 at a speed of 632 kilometers per second.  That means the solar storm traveled 91 million miles from the surface of the sun to our home planet of earth in a little over 24 hours. This is only days since the prevoius Jan.19-21 solar storm with subsequent geomagnetic effects here on earth.

In today’s solar terrestrial activity report the Solar Dynamical Observatory (SDO) reported:

The geomagnetic field was quiet to major storm on January 24. Solar wind speed ranged between 347 and 732 km/s. A strong solar wind shock was observed at SOHO at 14:34 UTC, the arrival of the CMEs observed early on January 23. The geomagnetic disturbance peaked 17-20h UTC when the planetary A index reached 80. The radiation storm peaked at the arrival of the CMEs with the above 10 MeV proton flux reaching a high of 6310 pfu, the strongest radiation event since 2003.

The Solar Dynamical Observatory was launched in February 2010. The intention of the deployment of the SDO orbiting coronal observatory was to determine if it is possible to make reliable space weather forecasts. The SDO performs this technological space forecasting feat by observing the solar atmosphere in several wavelengths. These wavelengths consist of radio waves, microwaves, infrared waves, x-rays and gamma rays.

To gauge if the solar flare is a threat scientists determine this by the polarity or angle of approach toward the Earth with a southern polarity  being the most detrimental. In the case of the M-class flare affecting us currently it has a southern polarity. This can lead to major disruption of Earth’s magnetosphere by way of geomagnetic storming. A geomagnetic storm is the subsequent effect of a solar wind shockwave, or solar magnetic field that interacts with Earth’s magnetic field. These solar storms can wreak havoc on communication systems, global positioning systems, satellites, land power grids and even the biology of plants and animals.

According to the Space Weather Prediction Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), “There is a growing body of evidence that changes in the geomagnetic field affect biological systems. Studies indicate that physically stressed human biological systems may respond to fluctuations in the geomagnetic field.”

If this isn’t enough, recently in a television interview, doctor of theoretical physics Michio Kaku warned of increased solar activity in 2012 through 2013. He said

“In 1859 we had a gigantic solar storm which knocked out telegraph wires back then, 150 years ago. If that had happened today it would knock out almost all our satellites and power stations. There would be food riots from lack of refrigeration .Airplanes would crash with the lack of radar and guidance systems. Damage estimates tally the natural disaster from the sun at an incredible 2 trillion dollars. This is a once in a century one in two century storm. We would be thrown back a hundred years.”

Over a year ago Michio Kaku asked congress for a 100 million dollar infrastructure safety prevention Bill that would have protected our solar storm susceptible world but Congress unfortunately turned down the Bill. Solar Cycle 24 does not bode well for our very vulnerable technologically based society. Whether it’s preparing for the possibility of power outages during severe weather like hurricanes, tornadoes, floods or winter weather severe solar storms should be treated no differently. Have a general preparedness plan in place for you and your loved ones at all times.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 28 other followers