Catastrophic Changes and Another Smashing Week!


The Living Force
This article was highly inspired by Laura's series on Comets and some items in the recent news. I hope I've adequately quoted and referenced where appropriate. If not, please let me know so I can correct it.



In case you missed it last week, there were some pretty interesting astronomical observations made. First of all, Jupiter seems to have been impacted by some large object, no less on the anniversary of the Shoemaker-Levy 9 impact which rocked Jupiter 14 years ago.
An amateur Australian astronomer has set the space-watching world on fire after discovering that a rare comet or asteroid had crashed into Jupiter, leaving an impact the size of Earth.

Anthony Wesley, 44, a computer programmer from Murrumbateman, a village north of Canberra, made the discovery about 1am yesterday using his backyard 14.5-inch reflecting telescope.

The impact would have occurred no more than two days earlier and will only be visible for another few days.

Within hours, his images had spread across the internet on science websites.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory confirmed the discovery at 9pm yesterday using its large infrared telescope at the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii.

The only other time astronomers have discovered evidence of a space object having hit Jupiter was when the Shoemaker-Levy 9 comet collided with the giant planet in July, 1994.

Next we find an unusual bright spot on Venus, which so far astronomers have been unable to determine a cause for. The speculation now is that this spot was caused by volcanic activity on the surface of Venus, but this cannot be confirmed. It is still likely the spot could be another impact or perhaps an indirect result of an impact.

An intense bright spot has appeared in the clouds of Venus. Could it be associated with volcanic activity on the surface?

The Solar System is breaking out in spots. First Jupiter took a smack from a passing asteroid or comet, manifesting as a dark scar in the Jovian atmosphere, and now Venus is sporting a brilliant white spot in its southern polar region.

In an alert to fellow amateur astronomers, Venus observer Frank Melillo reports on his images captured on 19 July: "I have seen bright spots before but this one is an exceptional bright and quite intense area."
Venus' bright spot as captured by Frank Melillo from New York. Image courtesy Frank Melillo.

He suggests that it could be explained as an atmospheric effect, but could it be a sign of volcanic activity at the planet's surface? Venus is covered in a thick cloak of clouds which prevents any visible observation of the surface. Instead, radar is used to map the surface, but volcanic activity has never been observed directly.

"A volcanic eruption would be nice, but let's wait and find out!" says Venus specialist Dr Sanjay Limaye of the University of Wisconsin. "An eruption would have to be quite energetic to get a cloud this high." Furthermore, at a latitude of 50 degrees south, the spot lies outside the region of known volcanoes on Venus.

Melillo comments that the spot will not be seen again as intense as it is now, thanks to the rapid rotation of the planet's atmosphere. "I hope that someone will image Venus on Thursday when this part of the atmosphere is facing us again," he says.

Let's also not forget about Flight 447 and the speculation that this flight may have been taken down by a high altitude cometary explosion.

So what does this all mean to all of us living on the Big Blue Marble? Perhaps we should review some of what is known about catastrophism and the cycles of human history. Much of what influences us on this planet may have a primary factor of a cosmic nature which is often overlooked.




The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I thought this editorial piece from today's Columbus Dispatch was rather interesting. It does seem that the theme of asteroids hitting the earth is cropping up ever so incrementally in the main stream media:

Global-warming focus could get us burned
Thursday, July 30, 2009 7:54 AM
By Jonah Goldberg

The year is 2109. Celebrations continue as mankind's heroic, century-long, quintillion-dollar effort to lower the global mean temperature by 1 degree has paid off: July 2109 is just as hot as July 2009. Few can contain their jubilation.

But even as the carbon-neutral champagne corks fly, the sky darkens. A projectile of a different kind is coming our way. An asteroid streaks across the skies, giving the media just enough time to spread the word. The New York Times, now beamed directly into subscribers' brains via digital-neural networks, fulfills ancient prophecy and warns that women and minorities will be hardest hit by the incoming object. :huh:

But there's little we can do. The space flotsam smashes into the solar energy farm formerly known as Arizona. The space rock, 100 meters in diameter, hits at 50,000 mph with the force of thousands of nuclear warheads. Millions die. Dust and debris blot out the sun and will chill the planet for years. Crops fail, billions starve. The heat of impact releases torrents of nitrous and nitric acid rain.

So horrendous is the calamity that some even wonder if the enormous investment in fending off climate change might not have been better spent.

Alas, there's no time to defrost Al Gore's frozen head to ask his opinion. :lol:

This vision of the end times came to me on hearing the news that something hit Jupiter in the breadbasket the other week and nobody saw it coming.

It left a Jovian scar as "small" as the Pacific Ocean or as big as Earth. An amateur astronomer in Australia saw it first because none of the pros was even looking. Then again, the rock was probably pretty small, between 50 and a few hundred meters wide. That is to say, about the size of John Edwards' house. ;)

Now, I know what you're saying: So what? It's not like we need an early warning system for Jupiter, a "gassy giant." What have the Jovians done for us? When God starts pelting rocks at Earth, or our own gassy giants, like Chris Dodd, then we can worry.

Well, He has been, on a regular basis. In March, a meteor called 2009 DD45 came within a few inches, astronomically speaking, of smashing into Earth (about 45,000 miles). Fortunately, we spotted that one ahead of time -- a mere three days ahead of time. That's just enough warning for Keith Olbermann to knock out several top-notch diatribes on why George Bush is to blame, but not enough time to, you know, keep New York City from being liquefied.

In 1908, a DD45-sized meteor exploded over Siberia with a force 1,000 times the Hiroshima blast. It leveled 80 million trees over an area twice the size of Los Angeles. If it had arrived five hours later, St. Petersburg would have been gone.

Scientists think there are millions of such "small" near-Earth meteors out there, and more than 1,000 that are at least a kilometer wide. Those are the ones that really leave a mark. Just ask the dinosaurs.

A few years ago, a book titled The Black Swan came out. No, it's not about swans singled out by the Cambridge Police Department for breaking into their own roosts, but about sudden, unpredictable events occurring far more often than we'd like to think. There are flocks of black swans out there, but we find it discomfiting to contemplate their existence.

In 2008, science writer Gregg Easterbrook surveyed preparedness for a "space-object strike" for The Atlantic magazine. He found that even though experts believe there's as much as a 1-in-10 chance of a significant strike within the next century, NASA doesn't much care.

Things are improving, but it's still a cottage industry. A scientist quoted last month in Maclean's magazine noted that "there are more people working in a single McDonald's than there are trying to save civilization from an asteroid." :shock:

Meanwhile, the global-warming industry -- and it is an industry now -- could fill football stadiums.

For all the rush and panic, climate change -- if real -- is a slow-moving catastrophe. And, it happens to align with an agenda the left has been pushing for generations: Unregulated economic growth is bad and must be controlled by experts; nature is our master, and we must be her servants. What a convenient truth for environmentalists.

Meanwhile, a "deep impact" is a terribly inconvenient threat, partly because it requires making peace with the idea that nature can be conquered.

Better to not even think about it. :/

Jonah Goldberg is editor at large of National Review Online.


The Living Force
JEEP said:
Alas, there's no time to defrost Al Gore's frozen head to ask his opinion. :lol:

That pretty much sums it up! :cool: Along with the sunspot count going down, several large comet impacts could impart a white veil over the earth ushering in the next ice age, OSIT.



A Disturbance in the Force
If ya'll read the SoTT page - it was carried there two days ago ---


Jedi Master
It seems NASA launched a new web site for Objects Approaching Earth :scared: :

July 29, 2009

PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory is introducing a new Web site that will provide a centralized resource for information on near-Earth objects - those asteroids and comets that can approach Earth. The "Asteroid Watch" site also contains links for the interested public to sign up for NASA's new asteroid widget and Twitter account.

"Most people have a fascination with near-Earth objects," said Don Yeomans, manager of NASA's Near-Earth Object Program Office at JPL. "And I have to agree with them. I have studied them for over three decades and I find them to be scientifically fascinating, and a few are potentially hazardous to Earth. The goal of our Web site is to provide the public with the most up-to-date and accurate information on these intriguing objects."

The new Asteroid Watch site is online at .

It provides information on NASA's missions to study comets, asteroids and near-Earth objects, and also provides the basic facts and the very latest in science and research on these objects. News about near-Earth object discoveries and Earth flybys will be available and made accessible on the site via a downloadable widget and RSS feed. And for those who want to learn about their space rocks on the go, a Twitter feed is offered. "Asteroid Watch" also contains a link to JPL's more technical Near-Earth Objects Web site, where many scientists and researchers studying near-Earth objects go for information.

"This innovative new Web application gives the public an unprecedented look at what's going on in near-Earth space," said Lindley Johnson, program executive for the Near-Earth Objects Observation program at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

NASA supports surveys that detect and track asteroids and comets passing close to Earth. The Near-Earth Object Observation Program, commonly called "Spaceguard," also plots the orbits of these objects to determine if any could be potentially hazardous to our planet.

JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.
(from NASA to Provide Web Updates on Objects Approaching Earth)


The Living Force
FOTCM Member
So NASA does care!!! :D Boy, I better rush and get a Twitter account so I'll be sure to get the following message when those oh, so fascinating and intriguing near-Earth objects come barreling in:

"If you are viewing this message, you have approximately 30 seconds to live." :O


Jedi Master
JEEP said:
So NASA does care!!!
I am not sure what NASA cares about though.
Can it be that this new project of NASA is just a try to prevent masses from going into a panic for what comes?

Anyway, to me the fact NASA launched this new web site at this point in time is very curious. :shock:

edit: grammar


The Living Force
FOTCM Member
The remark about NASA caring was strictly sarcastic!

GotoGo said:
Anyway, to me the fact NASA launched this new web site at this point in time is very curious.

This is especially true considering this:

_ said:
Military Hush-Up: Incoming Space Rocks Now Classified
By Leonard David's Space Insider Columnist
posted: 10 June 2009
05:35 pm ET

For 15 years, scientists have benefited from data gleaned by U.S. classified satellites of natural fireball events in Earth's atmosphere – but no longer.

A recent U.S. military policy decision now explicitly states that observations by hush-hush government spacecraft of incoming bolides and fireballs are classified secret and are not to be released, has learned.

So, let's shut down the scientific data access but create a cheerful NASA website to amuse us concerning all those fascinating and intriguing near-Earth objects! There's definitely something rotten in Denmark, so to speak!
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