Sunday, March 25, 2012

PLANETARY TREMORS: Powerful 7.2 Magnitude Earthquake Rocks Maule, Chile!

A magnitude 7.2 earthquake hit central Chile on Sunday, shaking buildings in the capital of Santiago and the government emergency agency, ONEMI, said it was preventively evacuating some areas of the coast.
The quake struck 64 miles (103 km) west north west of the town of Talca at a depth of 6.2 miles (10 km), the U.S. Geological Survey said. Magnitude 7.0 quakes or greater are capable of causing widespread, heavy damage.

ONEMI said, however, that the quake was not expected to generate a tsunami off the coast. The latest earthquake hit near the same central region that struck by a massive 8.8 magnitude earthquake in 2010 and ensued tsnunamis in 2010 that killed about 500 people.

The central area is home to some important copper mines, but the bulk of output in the world's top copper exporting nation is concentrated in the far northern region. (Reporting Alexandra Ulmer in Santiago and Alonso Soto in Brasilia) - Reuters.

MONUMENTAL SOLAR SYSTEM CHANGES: Mystery of Strange Cloud Formations Over Martian Landscape - "It's Completely Unexpected"?!

An amateur astronomer has managed to capture recent images of Mars which appear to show cloud like formations on Mars. Wayne Jaeschke, from West Chester, Pennsylvania, noticed the formations which can be seen rising up from the edge of the Martian disk after he took the pictures on March 20.

The phenomenon has caused a buzz among astronomers who are set to
investigate into the cloud-like formation further.
Some observers have suggested the so-called clouds are at least 150 miles away from the surface while others have suggested it could be debris which was disturbed after the Red Planet was hit by a meteor. Social networking sites have been buzzing with the latest find which has prompted astronomers to investigate further and before they disappear. 'It's not completely unexpected. But it's bigger than we would expect, and it's definitely something that our atmosphere guys want to take a look at,' said Jonathon Hill, a member of the Mars Space Flight Facility at Arizona State University, to Cosmic Log.

A Thermal Emission Imaging System (Themis) on Nasa's Mars Odyssey orbiter will be used to look at the area where the cloud was spotted. Mr Hill said the Themis camera is capable of getting simultaneous visible and thermal infrared images which would capture the cloud structures and their temperatures. Themis will be looking at the activity on Mars's shield volcanoes and around the southern site, which was spotted by Mr Jaeschke. Mr Jaeschke, who has a private observatory, said it looked as though the formation had reduced in size but added that it was important to act quickly and investigate the phenomenon. The feature can be viewed from the Americas and should show up show up on the edge of Mars's disk around 1:10 a.m. ET Saturday, and 39 minutes later each succeeding night. - Daily Mail.

ANCIENT ALIENS: Season 4 - Aliens and Bigfoot!

The History Channel continues its popular series on extraterrestrials, alien theories and ancient civilizations with season four of Ancient Aliens. The following video playlist constitutes program seven, entitled Aliens and Bigfoot.

People on every continent have claimed to see the footprints of Bigfoot. And ancient myths and legends speak of an ape-like giant stalking the earth. What if, as Ancient Astronaut theorists believe, there is evidence to connect Bigfoot with an alien species that once visited Earth in the distant past? - History Channel.
WATCH: Part 1 - Aliens and Bigfoot.

WATCH: Part 2 - Aliens and Bigfoot.

WATCH: Part 3 - Aliens and Bigfoot.

RATTLE & HUM: "The Sounds of the Apocalypse" - Mysterious, Unexplained "Booms" in Alabama, Georgia, and Wisconsin?!

For residents in Alabama, Georgia, and now Wisconsin, this event seems too similar. In parts of these states, residents reported a large "boom" sound, but had no idea what caused it and where it came from. On March 6, 2012 at around 4:30 pm CST, James Spann, chief meteorologist of ABC 33/40 in Birmingham, Alabama began to receive numerous complaints via twitter and facebook from people south of the Birmingham area about a loud noise that shook their houses.

James Spann writes:
I had reports of the ground shaking, very loud, explosive type booms, rattling dishes, and shaking windows from about 10 counties across Central Alabama, with the most intense reports from parts of Chilton, Bibb, southern Shelby, and Coosa counties.
On, Steve Jones of writes:
"Actually, I see two *sets* of impulses in the filtered / magnified seismogram...there looks to be 7 or 8 discrete pulses in each group, starting at approximately 4:29:35 pm CST and then again at about 4:29:55 pm CST, with each group lasting several seconds. Does this fit with the "ground truth" reports of repeated rumblings that you have been getting from this afternoon? (Yes, it does) The impulses look "non-seismic" and have the appearance of some sort of man-made explosions. Beyond that, I just don't know..."
In southeast Georgia on the morning of March 15, 2012, residents around Brantley, Camden, Charlton, Glynn and McIntosh counties felt buildings shake and people heard loud noises between the times of 8:15 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. The U.S. Geological Survey released information that there were no earthquakes or seismic activity reported in the area. Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, the Navy, and Army reported that there were no tests or planes that could have created a sonic boom. The Federal Aviation Administration did not have any reports or signs to show aircraft going supersonic.  Earlier this week, more booms were heard and felt in and around the city of Clintonville, Wisconsin. Small seismic activity was reported, and is now the "official" reason people felt and heard the booms. However, I do not buy this theory. Small seismic activity such as this would not create a loud noise and cause that much shaking, especially if it is small seismic activity less than a 2.0 quake. Many residents felt rounds of booms, and some were so scared, that they were evacuating their homes.

According to ABC News

"The city has so far managed to rule out problems with the water and sewer system, elevated gas levels, area blasting or mining, industrial businesses, and even military operations, WBAY reported."
Once again, the mystery continues. No one was hurt, but a lot of people felt nervous and scared as the strange occurrence has no explanation. When a jet or plane reaches supersonic speeds, or the rate of travel that exceeds the speed of sound, it can create a sonic boom. A sonic boom is a loud sound associated with shock waves that occurs when a jet/plane travels faster than the speed of sound. These sonic booms can cause a deep, thunder-like sound and can possibly shake buildings. The lower altitude of the aircraft, the louder the boom. Greater altitude also increases the boom's lateral spread, exposing a wider area to the boom. With this in mind, there is not any proof that a sonic boom from aircraft created these booms, especially since it targeted a large area.  If an earthquake was the reason of the boom in Wisconsin, then why was it ruled out in Alabama and Georgia? What do you think created this loud boom and shaking? It is odd that this is occurring within the same month, and effecting a large area. Bottom line: A mysterious boom shook buildings and created a loud sound in various cities in Alabama, Georgia, and Wisconsin. Earthquakes were ruled out for Alabama and Georgia, but for parts of Wisconsin, the booms were linked and associated with a minor quake. Government agencies ruled out aircraft or possible sonic booms, and there were no reports of gas explosions, possible meteors, or even a bomb explosion. For residents in these areas, the mystery remains. - Earth Sky.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Geological Upheaval - 7.4 Mexico Earthquake May Have Been Caused by Forming Volcano!

The governor Angel Aguirre reported that geologists will be supported by the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and the Autonomous University of Guerrero to investigate the possible birth of a volcano near Huajintepec Huixtepec and belonging to the municipality of Ometepec, and could be the constant factor of earthquakes in the region.

Interviewed after reviewing a monitoring visit with Secretary General of Government, Humberto Salgado Gomez, the two communities most affected by the earthquake of 7.4 on the Richter scale, the state ruler said that according to Huixtepec signs of inhabitants, there is possibility that you are born a "small volcano 'and could be causing the tremors.  "I approached a lady who tells me he has been very closely with a phenomenon of a volcano that is in Huixtepec, and she told me she found a bubbling hot water and it is to wake up and draw attention to what is happening with this phenomenon.  "It certainly is a small volcano, but we have to study and for that reason will be hitting college staff to give us an assessment and accurate information," he said. 

For this reason, came to Ometepec a group of researchers of the Department of Seismology of the Institute of Geophysics of the UNAM, led by Dr. Allen Husker, who will do the inspections.  Aguirre Rivero Huajintepec led in the beginning of the delivery of supports to people whose homes were affected by the earthquake of 7.4 degrees on Tuesday. He assured them that (we will) "not leave you alone and that support will be immediate."  He made it clear that the support and humanitarian aid from state and federal government will no intermediaries and directly to those affected, and without political distinctions, and to help all those families who were affected by the weather phenomenon.  The governor will begin in the next few minutes an evaluation meeting with the federal Social Development Secretary, Heriberto FĂ©lix Guerra, and the national coordinator of the National System of Civil Protection, Laura Gurza, to detail the support schemes that give the President Republic of the victims. - El Universal [Translated].

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: Summer in March - Spring Heat Wave Like No Other in the United States and Canada Recorded History!

The most incredible spring heat wave in U.S. and Canadian recorded history is finally drawing to a close today, after a ten-day stretch of unprecedented record-smashing intensity. Since record keeping began in the late 1800s, there have never been so many spring temperature records broken, and by such a large margin.

Airports in fifteen different states have set all-time records for March warmth, which is truly extraordinary considering that the records were set in the middle of the month, instead of the end of the month. The 29.2°C (85°F) measured at Western Head, Nova Scotia yesterday was the third warmest temperature ever recorded in Canada in March, according to Environement Canada and weather records researcher Maximiliano Herrera (top two records: 31.1°C at Alberini Beaver Creek BC on March 29th 1926, and 29.4°C in 1921 at Wallaceburg.) Michigan's all-time record for March warmth was toppled on Wednesday, when the mercury hit 90°F at Lapeer. The previous record, 89° at Lapeer in 1910, was matched at three stations yesterday--Ypsilanti, Dearborn, and Lapeer. The duration, areal size, and intensity of the Summer in March, 2012 heat wave are simply off-scale, and the event ranks as one of North America's most extraordinary weather events in recorded history. Such a historic event is difficult to summarize, and in today's post I will offer just a few of the most notable highlights.

Low temperatures beating previous high temperature records for the date
I've never seen a case where the low temperature for the date beat the previous record high. This happened on at least four occasions during "Summer in March, 2012": The low temperature at Marquette, Michigan hit 52° on March 21, which was 3° warmer than the previous record high for the date. The low at Mt. Washington, NH on March 21 (44°) beat the previous record high for the date (43°.) The low temperature for International Falls, Minnesota on March 20 bottomed out at 60°F, tying the previous record high for the date. The low temperature in Rochester, Minnesota on March 18 was 62°F, which beat the previous record high for the date of 60°.

Breaking all-time April records for warmth in March
Not only did many locations in Canada set records for their all-time warmest March day during "Summer in March, 2012", a number also broke their record for warmest April day: St. John, New Brunswick hit 27.2°C (81°F) on March 21. Previous March record: 17.5°C on March 21, 1994. April record: 22.8°C. Kejimkujik Park, Nova Scotia hit 27.9°C on March 21. Previous March record: 22.5°C on March 30, 1986. April record: 25°C on April 27, 1990. Yesterday, I reported that Halifax, Nova Scotia hit 27.2°C (81°F) on March 22, 2012. Previous March record: 25.8° set the previous day. April record: 26.3°C, set on April 30, 2004. However, Rob Paola, a meteorologist with Environment Canada's Prairie and Arctic Storm Prediction Center in Winnipeg, Manitoba, wrote to tell me that Halifax did not break its April record: In fact, Halifax recorded a temperature of 29.5°C on April 28, 2009.

Breaking daily temperature records by more than 30°F
It is exceptionally rare for a weather station with a 50+ year period of record to break a daily temperature record by more than 10°F. During "Summer in March, 2012", beating daily records by 10° - 20°F was commonplace, and many records were smashed by over 20°. Two stations broke records by more than 30°F, which is truly surreal. Western Head, Nova Scotia hit 29.2°C (85°F), yesterday, breaking their previous record for the date (10.6°C in 1969) by 18.6°C (33°F.) Yesterday's high temperature was 24°C (44°F) above average. Pellston, Michigan in the Northern Lower Peninsula--dubbed "Michigan's Icebox", since it frequently records the coldest temperatures in the state--hit 85° on March 21. This broke the previous record for the date (53° in 2007) by 32°, and was an absurd 48°F above average.

Breaking daily temperature records nine consecutive days or more
It is extremely rare for stations with a 50+ year period of record to break a daily high temperature record for seven or more days in a row. The longest such streak of consecutive high temperature records at International Falls, Minnesota, was a 5-day period March 3 - 7, 2000. The city has tied or broken their high temperature for the date ten consecutive days, as of yesterday. This streak will likely end today, as the high is predicted to be 60 - 65, and the record high for the date is 66. Chicago, Illinois has tied or broken their daily high temperature record the past nine days in a row. This ties the nine-day streak of record highs set on August 26 - September 3, 1953. Other cites that have set daily high temperature records the past nine days in a row include Fort Wayne and South Bend, Indiana. Numerous cities have broken high temperature records on seven consecutive days during "Summer in March, 2012", including Gaylord, Pellston, and Traverse City in Michigan. - Weather Underground.

BIG BROTHER NOW: The Emerging Global Police State - Surveillance Camera System Searches Through 36 Million Faces In One Second!

Using facial recognition to process surveillance footage isn't a new concept — Scotland Yard began using the technique in the wake of last year's London riots — but a new system developed by Hitachi Kokusai Electric could make the process quicker and more flexible than ever before.

Shown off at this year's Security Show expo in Japan, the system processes footage from both still images and live footage, recognizing faces in real-time, and can search through up to 36 million different faces for a comparison in one second. Recognized faces are displayed as thumbnails and grouped with matching footage, allowing the operator to look at all of the actions of a given person immediately.
To achieve the speed, the system implements the facial recognition portion of the process while the footage is being recorded from the cameras, rather than waiting to process the imagery after the fact. That said, there are some trade-offs being made: the system only works with faces turned within 30 degrees of the camera either horizontally or vertically, and faces must be at least 40 pixels in height and width for the system to work properly. Hitachi Kokusai Electric plans to begin selling the system in its next fiscal year. - The Verge.
WATCH: Surveillance Camera System Searches Through 36 Million Faces In One Second.

EXTREME WEATHER: "Persistent Snowfall" Causes Food Shortage in China - Over 25,000 Affected; Kills Over 90,000 Livestock; Cuts Power!

Over 650 people have been injured and more than 25,000 are facing food shortage and a lack of warm clothing due heavy snowfall in China's southwest Sichuan province.

Persistent snowfall has battered the province since late January, killing more than 90,000 livestock, Xinhua reported. Shiqu county has been blanketed under 15 cm of snow due to continuous snowfall since the past one month, according to the county's disaster prevention and relief bureau.

Electricity and water supply, traffic and communication facilities have also been disrupted by the snow, the bureau said. The local government has dispatched more than 400 civilians to help with relief work. A relief fund of 300,000 yuan (over $47,000) has been created through donations. The county government has sent 720,000 kg of grain, 100 tonnes of coal, 100 tents and 1,000 quilts to the affected residents. - The Economic Times.


Following the posting on the Central Bureau's Transient Object Confirmation Page about a possible Nova in Cen (TOCP Designation: PNV J13410800-5815470) we performed some follow-up of this object remotely through the 2.0-m f/10.0 Ritchey-Chretien + CCD of "Faulkes Telescope South" (MPC Code - E10).
On our images taken on March 24.5, 2012 we can confirm the presence of an optical counterpart with filtered R-Bessel CCD magnitude 9.3 (USNO-B1.0 Catalogue reference stars) at coordinates:  R.A. = 13 41 09.36, Decl.= -58 15 16.9   (equinox 2000.0; USNO-B1.0 catalogue reference stars).

Our confirmation image:

Click HERE for an animation, showing a comparison between our confirmation image and the archive POSS2/UKSTU plate (R Filter - 1994).  - Remanzacco Observatory.