Tuesday, November 5, 2013

SOLAR WATCH: Activity On The Sun Increases - Sunspot 1890 Erupts With Major X3.3 Solar Flare And Coronal Mass Ejection; THIRD LARGEST Event In Terms Of Peak X-Ray Flux During Solar Cycle 24; Impulsive Event Directed South And Away From Earth!

November 05, 2013 - SUN - Earth-orbiting satellites have just detected an X3-class solar flare.

X3.3 SOLAR FLARE: A very rapid solar flare measuring X3.3 was detected around sunspot 1890 at 22:12 UTC.

The event was accompanied by a 10cm Radio Burst (TenFlare) measuring 400 sfu and a Type II Sweep Frequncy Event with a velocity of 1380 km/s.

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the extreme ultraviolet flash.

Attached image by the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) captures an impusive X3.3 solar flare.

WATCH: Major X3.3 Solar Flare - November 5, 2013. 

Although this flare was intense, it was also very brief. This will mitigate any Earth effects. For instance, any radio blackouts caused by ionization of Earth's upper atmosphere will likely be short-lived.

The X3.3 event comes in as the third (3rd) largest flare in terms of peak X-Ray flux during the current solar cycle 24.

X3.3 solar flare. Image: SDO.

The major X3.3 solar flare was the third largest flare event in terms of peak X-Ray
flux during the current Solar Cycle 24.

CME: Although the event was very impulsive, a coronal mass ejection (CME) is now visible in the latest LASCO C2 imagery. So far it looks to be directed mostly towards the south and away from Earth.

 Visible CME in the LASCO C2 image.

ALERT: Type II Radio Emission
Begin Time: 2013 Nov 05 2216 UTC
Estimated Velocity: 1380 km/s
Description: Type II emissions occur in association with eruptions on the sun and typically indicate a coronal mass ejection is associated with a flare event.

SUMMARY: 10cm Radio Burst
Begin Time: 2013 Nov 05 2212 UTC
Maximum Time: 2013 Nov 05 2212 UTC
End Time: 2013 Nov 05 2214 UTC
Duration: 2 minutes
Peak Flux: 400 sfu
Latest Penticton Noon Flux: 149 sfu
Description: A 10cm radio burst indicates that the electromagnetic burst associated with a solar flare at the 10cm wavelength was double or greater than the initial 10cm radio background. This can be indicative of significant radio noise in association with a solar flare. This noise is generally short-lived but can cause interference for sensitive receivers including radar, GPS, and satellite communications.

SUNSPOTS: One of the biggest sunspots of the current solar cycle emerged over the sun's eastern limb three days ago and now it is turning toward Earth.

Image: SDO/HMI

This movie from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory shows the approach of sunspot AR1890:

AR1890 has an unstable 'beta-gamma-delta' magnetic field that harbors energy for strong explosions. NOAA forecasters estimate a 45% chance of M-class solar flares and a 10% chance of X-flares on Nov. 5th.

CORONAL HOLE: Solar wind flowing from the indicated coronal hole could reach Earth on Nov. 7-8.

Image: SDO/AIA.

Stay tuned for more updates.

SOURCES: Space Weather | Solar Ham.

SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS: First Black Holes Discovered In Milky Way Star Clusters - "May Produce 'Ripples' In Spacetime"?!

November 05, 2013 - SPACE - A team of researchers has discovered the first examples of black holes in globular star clusters in our own galaxy, upsetting 40 years of theories against their possible existence by using an array of radio telescopes to pick up a certain type of radio frequency released by these black holes as they eat a star next to them. Black holes in globular clusters may provide a way for them to get close enough to one another to merge into bigger black holes that may produce the ‘ripples in spacetime’ we call gravitational waves,” says Tom Maccarone, an associate professor of physics at Texas Tech. “Trying to detect gravitational waves is one of the biggest problems in physics right now, because it would be the strongest test of whether Einstein’s theory of relativity is correct.”

Globular star clusters are large groupings of stars thought to contain some of the oldest stars in the universe. In the same distance from our sun to the nearest neighbor, Proxima Centauri, its nearest neighbor, these globular star clusters could have a million to tens of millions of stars.

“The stars can collide with one another in that environment,” said Maccarone. “The old theory believed that the interaction of stars was thought to kick out any black holes that formed. They would interact with each other and slingshot black holes out of the cluster until they were all gone.”

The old theory stated that the stars would kick the black holes out in the same fashion – occasionally, some black holes would have enough energy to escape the cluster, and gradually, they all would leave. While the theory may still be displaced, Maccarone said it might still be somewhat true. Black holes might still get kicked out of globular star clusters, but at a much slower rate than initially believed.

In 2007, Maccarone made the first discovery of a black hole in a globular star cluster in the neighboring NGC4472 galaxy. But rather than finding it by using radio waves, Maccarone found it by seeing an X-ray emission from the gas falling into the black hole and heating up to a few million degrees.

“Six years ago I had made the first discoveries in other galaxies,” he said. “It’s surprisingly easier to find them in other galaxies than in our own, even though they’re a thousand times as far away as these in our own galaxy are.”

This year, he and his team discovered two examples of globular star clusters in our own galaxy which host black holes by finding radio emission by using the Very Large Array of radio telescopes in New Mexico.

“As the black hole eats a star, these jets of material are coming out,” he said. “Most of the material falls into the black hole, but some is thrown outwards in a jet. To see that jet of material, we look for a radio emission. We found a few radio emissions coming from this globular star cluster that we couldn’t explain any other way.”

The object shown in the Hubble image above, Messier 54, could be just another globular cluster, but this dense and faint group of stars was in fact the first globular cluster found that is outside our galaxy belongs to a satellite of the Milky Way called the Sagittarius Dwarf Elliptical Galaxy. In 1994, that astronomers found Messier 54 to be part of the miniature galaxy and not our own. Current estimates indicate that the Sagittarius dwarf, and hence the cluster, is situated almost 90 000 light-years away — more than three times as far from the centre of our galaxy than the Solar System.

Ironically, even though this globular cluster is now understood to lie outside the Milky Way, it will actually become part of it in the future. The strong gravitational pull of our galaxy is slowly engulfing the Sagittarius dwarf, which will eventually merge with the Milky Way creating one much larger galaxy.

Other researchers included Laura Chomiuk and Jay Strader at Michigan State University; James Miller-Jones at Perth Curtin University in Perth, Australia; Craig Heinke at University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; Eva Noyola at the University of Texas at Austin; Anil Seth at University of Utah; and Scott Ransom at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The results were published in The Astrophysical Journal and featured in the National Radio Astronomy Observatory’s ENews news bulletin. Journal Reference: Laura Chomiuk, Jay Strader, Thomas J. Maccarone, James C. A. Miller-Jones, Craig Heinke, Eva Noyola, Anil C. Seth, Scott Ransom. A Radio-Selected Black Hole X-ray Binary Candidate in the Milky Way Globular Cluster M62. The Astrophysical Journal, 2013 (in press). - Daily Galaxy.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: The Most Dangerous Volcano In The United States Is Roaring To Life - Yellowstone National Park's Recent Earthquake Swarm Noted By Scientists!

November 05, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Southwestern Montana and Yellowstone National Park are certainly no strangers to earthquakes, but in September, several clusters of earthquakes were raising the eyebrows of scientists.

Yellowstone National Park's recent earthquake swarm noted by scientists.

Small earthquakes are normal around Yellowstone National Park, but between September 10th and 16th, early 130 small magnitude earthquakes with different epicenters ratled the park.

These clusters of earthquakes are known as swarms.

Mike Stickney, the director of Earthquake Studies at Montana Tech in Butte, said, "Earthquake clusters kind of come in two flavors. One is a main shock-aftershock sequence where the main shock is a big earthquake followed by smaller earthquakes that typically die away with time. A swarm is just is a bunch of earthquakes without any outstanding earthquake. You get numerous earthquakes with similar magnitude in that sequence of events."

The rumbles that hit Yellowstone in September fall into the second category.

Stickney says, "They were actually very dramatic swarms if you were looking at seismograph centered near the epicenter of those earthquakes."

"There would be two, three or four-minute earthquakes going off every minute. Most of those were tiny magnitude one or smaller earthquakes," he said.

Visitors to the park likely didn't even known it was happening.

"Depending on how excited they were about the animals they might not have even noticed the earthquake," Stickney said.

He says that there are fairly logical explanations and one of them isn't necessarily that Yellowstone's volcano is roaring back to life.

"There is good evidence to suggest that as magma, the molten rock at depth, cools, and crystallizes, it releases volatile water and gasses and those make their way out through fractures in the earth to the surface we see those as geothermal features in the park," he says.

"That fluid migrating through the earth's crust, we can think of that as lubricating some of those fractures and can produce some of those earthquakes. Probably those swarms in Yellowstone are related to the overall volcanic activity at depth and not necessarily indicating that something is getting ready to erupt," Stickney explains.

In fact, according to Stickney, it could be quite the opposite. The volcanic activity might just be quieting down, and those swarms may be just the result of gasses being released.

Stickney says that we know about 75 faults around western Montana that show evidence of seismic activity and only a handful of those faults have been studied in detail.

Scientist hope to be able to study them in more detail to understand how and why those faults might move. - KXLH.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Indonesia's Mount Sinabung Spits Powerful Burst Of Ash - Reaching Over 23,000 Feet High; About 1,300 Villagers Evacuated; Alert Raised To Second Highest Level! [STUNNING PHOTOS]

November 05, 2013 - INDONESIA - A volcano in western Indonesia erupted again Sunday, unleashing volcanic ash high into the sky and forcing the evacuation of villagers living around its slope.

Officials from the Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Center (PVMBG) watch the activity of Mount
Sinabung at Simpang Empat village in Karo district, Indonesia's north Sumatra province, November 3, 2013. 

Lightning strikes as Mount Sinabung volcano spews ash and hot lava, at Simpang Empat village
in Karo district, Indonesia's North Sumatra province, September 18, 2013.

Officials raised Mount Sinabung's alert status to the second-highest level after the 2,600-meter (8,530-foot) -high mountain erupted early Sunday, said National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.

Authorities were working to evacuate residents from four North Sumatra province villages located within the mountain's three-kilometer (two-mile) danger zone, Nugroho said. About 1,300 villagers have been relocated to safer areas so far.

The Jakarta Post reported: "A thundering sound was heard for around 10 minutes on Sunday morning as volcanic ash rose to around 7,000 meters (23,000 feet) above the peak of the volcano.

Mount Sinabung spews ash and smoke as it is pictured from Tiga Pancur village in Karo district,
Indonesia's north Sumatra province, November 4, 2013. 

 The ash from Sinabung volcano covers trees and houses at Mardingding village in Karo district,
Indonesia's north Sumatra province, November 5, 2013. 

As many as 1,293 residents from Mardinding and Sukameriah villages have been evacuated due to an increase in seismic activities of the volcano. The figure is likely to increase as more residents from three villages – Bekerah, Simacem and Sukameriah – are prepared to evacuate to Namanteran."

It was the volcano's second big eruption since late last month, with its Oct. 24 explosion prompting the evacuation of more than 3,300 people.

In September, more than 15,000 people were forced to flee when Mount Sinabung rumbled to life after being dormant for three years.

Students wearing masks to protect themselves from volcanic ash from Sunday's Mount Sinabung eruption, as they
play with rattan rings at their school at Tiganderket village in Karo district, Indonesia's north Sumatra province

Villagers walk on a road covered with volcanic ash from Mount Sinabung's eruption in Mardingding, North Sumatra,
Indonesia, Monday, Nov. 4, 2013. The volcano erupted Sunday, unleashing volcanic ash high into the sky.
(AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara)

The volcano's previous major eruption, in August 2010, killed two people and forced 30,000 others to flee. It caught many scientists off guard because it had been quiet for four centuries.

Mount Sinabung is among more than 120 active volcanoes in Indonesia, which is prone to seismic upheaval due to its location on the Pacific "Ring of Fire," an arc of volcanoes and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin. - CS Monitor.

ANIMAL BEHAVIOR & DISASTER PRECURSORS: "I've Never Seen Anything Like This Before" - Almost A THOUSAND Dolphins Gather In A "Super Pod" Off The Coast Of Vancouver, Canada?!

November 05, 2013 - CANADA - A super-sized pod of nearly 1,000 dolphins was spotted Thursday in western Canada's Strait of Georgia.

The dolphin pack was captured on video by passengers on board a BC Ferries vessel traveling from Galiano Island to Tsawwassen.

Exciting ride: A ferry boat traveling Canada's Strait of Georgia witnessed a large group of
almost 1,000 dolphins last Thursday.

'I've never seen anything like this before,' Rob Maguire, the man who filmed the dolphins, told Global News. 'The last time I saw an orca or dolphin was more than 15 years ago.'

The species of dolphins filmed yesterday was determined to be the Pacific white-sided dolphin, according to Dr Lance Barrett-Lennard, head of whale and dolphin research at Vancouver Aquarium.

This species of dolphin is known to travel in large pods of 50 to 200 and as big as 2,000 but Dr Barrett-Lennard called their appearance in the Strait as a 'rare and unique occurrence'.

Once in a lifetime: The dolphin pod was spotted in Canada's Strait of Georgia and BC Ferries
workers on the boat said they haven't seen anything like it.

Packs that big would normally be seen in coastal waters.

Mr Maguire said he spoke with BC Ferries workers who said they'd never seen 'anything like this before'.

After about three minutes, the dolphins disappeared out of sight and the experience changed the mood of the ride.

'Rare and unique occurrence': A dolphin expert told Global News it was strange to see
such a large back in Sound waters.

'It was a pretty quiet ferry ride until the dolphins turned up because no one was really talking to one another,' Mr Maguire said. 'But afterwards everyone was abuzz, strangers were talking with strangers and getting to know one another.'

Diane Williams was on the ferry and standing next to Mr Maguire when he took the video. She commented on the video when he posted it to YouTube.

WATCH: Tourists' delight at dolphin super-pod sighting.

'Absolutely amazing,' she said. 'Moved me to tears. In 35 years of traveling to Mayne [Island] I have never seen such a sight before.' - Daily Mail.

STORM ALERT: Typhoon Haiyan Poses A Serious Threat To The Philippines - Will Likely Approach Super Typhoon Status Friday; Heavy Torrential Rainfall, Damaging Winds, Mudslides And Widespread Flooding Forecast!

November 05, 2013 - PHILIPPINES - Strengthening Typhoon Haiyan remains a serious threat to lives and property across the Philippines.

Haiyan will likely approach super typhoon status as it barrels toward the Philippines this week.

This satellite image of Haiyan, courtesy of NOAA, was taken early Tuesday night (PHT).

Haiyan's strength will be equal to that of a Category 4 hurricane in the Atlantic when it crosses the Philippines Friday through Friday night.

"Haiyan will rival Utor as the strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines this year," stated AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Eric Wanenchak.

"Three storms [Nari, Utor and Krosa] have crossed the Philippines at typhoon strength so far this year. All three tracked across Luzon, while Haiyan is headed toward the central Philippines," continued Wanenchak.

Rain and wind will increase across the east-central Philippines Thursday night (local time) with conditions deteriorating from east to west Friday through Friday night as the powerful typhoon crosses the islands.

Widespread torrential rain and damaging winds will accompany Haiyan through the central Philippines, threatening to leave a trail of destruction and triggering life-threatening flash floods.

Rain totals along the path of Haiyan could top 200 mm (8 inches). Mudslides are a serious concern in the higher terrain, where localized totals of 250 to 300 mm (10 to 12 inches) are not out of the question.

The expected track of Haiyan will take it directly over the areas hardest hit by a powerful 7.1 magnitude earthquake that killed more than 150 people in the middle of October.

Haiyan will also produce a severe and inundating storm surge, especially along the eastern coast of southern Luzon and Samar islands.

Residents are urged to take the necessary precautions now ahead of Haiyan's approach and heed all evacuation orders issued by local officials.

The worst of the storm will bypass the capital city of Manila, but damaging winds of 80 to 120 kph (50 to 75 mph) and rainfall of 100 to 200 mm (4 to 8 inches) are still expected.

After slamming the Philippines, Haiyan will remain a dangerous cyclone as it emerges into the South China Sea and continues to move to the west-northwest on Saturday.

The eventual track of Haiyan will bring the storm toward Vietnam by late Sunday into Monday.

WATCH: Western Pacific Weather Update - November 4, 2013. 

WATCH: Western Pacific Weather Update - November 5, 2013. 

These areas will receive multiple rounds of heavy rainfall leading up to the approach of Haiyan as rainfall from former Typhoon Krosa and Tropical Storm 30W will soak the region.

Thus, any additional heavy rainfall from Haiyan early next week will quickly lead to flooding and mudslide threats. - AccuWeather.

MASS FISH DIE-OFF: Hundreds Of Dead Fish Found In A Creek In Bargara, Australia?!

November 05, 2013 - AUSTRALIA - The flood gates have once again opened on the topic of fish kills in the regions waterways after hundreds of dead fish were removed from Moneys Creek at Bargara.

Bundaberg Regional Council crews arrived at Moneys Creek early yesterday morning as part of a scheduled opening of the lagoon, which occurs once a month.

FISH KILL: A large portion of dead fish have been found in the Bargara area near Moneys Creek.
Photo: Zach Hogg / NewsMail Zach Hogg

Division 5 representative Greg Barnes said while on site, crews worked quickly to clear away between 500 and 600 dead fish from the backwater.

"Humid weather conditions over the weekend, combined with a lack of rain and subsequent low oxygen levels in the water are believed to be the cause of death," he said.

"Council is concerned that freshwater from upstream Moneys Creek isn't reaching the backwater with a small dam pumping the water to a nearby private property.

"Crews will inspect the site again tomorrow morning (today) and council will continue to monitor the situation moving forward and has sought the advice of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)."

Cr Barnes said the council had previously organised an unscheduled opening of the lagoon between October 16 and 18 after being alerted to the low water levels by nearby residents.

"This gave the lagoon a reasonable flush and re-oxygenated the water," he said.

"I received another request for an unscheduled lagoon opening on October 29, however, due to the high cost associated with opening and closing the lagoon, approximately $4000 each time, and its popularity as a recreational spot for swimmers on weekends, council decided to leave it until the next scheduled opening, which was this morning (yesterday)."

The gates will remain open until Thursday morning with the next opening scheduled for Monday, December 2.  - News Mail.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: Mysterious Disease - Six Hammerhead Sharks Suddenly Die In Ocean Park, Hong Kong, China?!

November 05, 2013 - CHINA - Six hammerhead sharks at Ocean Park died one by one in just seven hours yesterday because of a disease the park has not identified.

The hammerhead shark is classified as endangered by conservationists. Photo: SCMP

The remaining eight sharks "were also at risk", the park said, and its staff would continue to closely monitor them, segregating them and administering treatment if the need arose.

The dead sharks were first found "swimming abnormally" in the Grand Aquarium in the morning yesterday. They had shown no signs of illness before then, a spokeswoman said. Staff then moved them to a different area for treatment and observation, but from about 11am the sharks - all females weighing 45kg to 60kg - died one by one, until the last one perished at about 6pm.

The park's chief veterinarian Paolo Martelli said the park was experiencing high morbidity - the rate of incidence of a disease - with rapid mortality in the hammerhead shark population.

"We are now performing necropsies to better understand the cause of death," Martelli said, in a statement from the park issued yesterday evening.

The six dead sharks - all about five years old - were among the 15 hammerheads introduced from Japan in late 2010.

The park said that one had died already due to its inability to adjust to a new environment when it was moved into the Grand Aquarium in January 2011 from the old aquarium. But the other 14 "had doubled their weight and grown healthy over the past three years".

Ocean Park's spokeswoman said it had reported the death to the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department immediately. A spokeswoman for the department said it would follow up with the park on the matter.

Earlier this year Ocean Park was forced to deny that dolphins kept there were trying to commit suicide after a video emerged showing 14-year-old Indo-Pacific bottlenose Pinky slamming herself at the wall of a pool.

According to Nimal Fernando, senior veterinarian at the park: "Dolphins can't really commit suicide. The mental ability to make a decision to kill yourself is beyond a dolphin's reasoning capability."

Samuel Hung Ka-yiu, a marine conservationist, said the dead fish were scalloped hammerhead sharks, which were listed as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

"We'd warned the park not to introduce endangered species into its captive environment, no matter whether they are blue fin tuna or hammerhead sharks," Hung said. "I hope the park will learn a lesson from such a saddening loss."

Hung believes that the eight remaining hammerhead sharks are "in great danger", since the others died so suddenly. In June 2008, a sturgeon died at the park soon after being bitten by a barracuda kept in the same tank. Another sturgeon died six months later because of an infection induced by the poorly maintained tank water. - SCMP.

PROTESTS & SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: "We Are Legion!" - The Anonymous Group Protest Against Corruption In Global Million Mask March; More Precursors To The Collapse Of The FAILED White Supremacy Paradigm!

"All these wars, protests and color revolutions,... are all in divine order,... all connected to the rise of the Moors." - Aseer, The Duke of Tiers.

November 05, 2013 - EARTH
- Members and supporters of hacktivist collective Anonymous are marking Guy Fawkes Day with a global ‘Million Mask March’ to protest against government corruption, corporate malfeasance and the expanding surveillance state.

Image from twitter.com @YourAnonNews.

Image from twitter.com @OccupySydney.

The global action on November 5 coincides with Guy Fawkes Day, which is celebrated by Britain with fireworks to remind of the botched attempt to blow up the Parliament in 1605. But the image of the notorious plotter has a new meaning for Anonymous and their supporters today. The Guy Fawkes mask was adopted by the hacker activists from the V for Vendetta graphic novel and film as a symbol of the anarchic fight against tyranny.

WATCH: Anonymous supporters rally worldwide to protest corruption, police state. 

Cities in Japan, Australia, and New Zealand have already started their local events. Activists in Europe and US are expected to join soon. Event organizers have planned rallies and marches at 450 locations around the world, although the majority of the events have thus far attracted between several dozen people or a couple of hundred people.  

Image from twitter.com @YourAnonNews.

In London, thousands are expected to rally at Trafalgar Square, where supporters of Anonymous have congregated on past Guy Fawkes Days in huge numbers.

On the website for London’s OpVendetta event, an administrator wrote, “Anonymous have changed the rules by turning this morality of petition into more of a festival of ideas and new age discussion that has formed the political views of the youth of today. Anonymous understand now that we have filled the void in the protest world that others have failed Anonymous have managed to hold on to the system of having no system which allows everyone's beliefs to join the great debate.”

Image from twitter.com @YourAnonNews.

The US capital Washington is expected to hold a massive ‘Million Mask March’ event.

“To remind this world what it has forgotten, that fairness, justice and freedom are more than just words,” is the stated aim, according to the gathering’s Facebook page. The rally is scheduled to involve a meet-up near the Washington Monument that will then involve a march up the street to the nearby White House.

Image from twitter.com @YourAnonNews.

Often described in the media as a loose-knit collective, Anonymous was propelled to public prominence over the last years for a series of politically-motivated cyber-attacks on businesses and government institutions. Groups calling themselves by that name targeted entertainment industry, financial institutions, websites of governments from Latin America to Asia and international organizations.

WATCH: Million Mask March in Washington DC. 

The current agenda of the people behind Tuesday’s protest is wide-ranging. Some are protesting whatever crimes their local governments committed. Others take on global goals, like stopping the mass digital surveillance by the US National Security Agency and its allies, or the advance of genetically modified food championed by Monsanto and similar companies. The movement is apparently growing in strength.

“We are not slowing down, we are speeding up,” John Anthony Fairhurst, one of the organizers of the Million Mask March in Washington, DC, told RT. “These people all over the world need some serious change.”

As a worldwide movement, Anonymous-at-large has in the past rallied in support of the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks and Army soldier-turned-whistleblower Chelsea Manning. They supported Arab Spring anti-dictatorship protesters in the Middle East as well as the Occupy Wall Street movement, which started in New York City two years ago, but has since spread across the world as a means of addressing the overt, allegedly corrupt ties between corporations and the authorities. - RT.

FIRE IN THE SKY: The Electric Universe - Comet LINEAR Suddenly And Unexpectedly Brightens With Outburst, Puzzling Astronomers?!

November 05, 2013 - SPACE - It’s swiftly becoming an “all comets, all the time” sort of observing season. The cyber-ink was barely dry on our “How to Spot Comet 2P/Encke” post this past Monday when we were alerted to another comet that is currently in the midst of a bright outburst.

That comet is C/2012 X1 LINEAR. Discovered on December 8th, 2012 by the ongoing Lincoln Near Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) survey based in Socorro, New Mexico, Comet X1 LINEAR was expected to peak out at about +12th magnitude in early 2014.

That all changed early this week, when amateur observers began to report a swift change in brightness for the otherwise nondescript comet. Japanese observer Hidetaka Sato reported the comet at magnitude +8.5 on October 20th, a full 5.5 magnitudes above its expected brightness of +14. Remember, the magnitude scale is logarithmic, and the lower the number, the brighter the object. Also, 5 magnitudes represent an increase in brightness of 100-fold.

Comet C/2012 X1 LINEAR as imaged by Howes, Guido & Nicolini on Monday, October 21st.
(Credit: remanzacco.blogspot).

Astronomers Nick Howes, Martino Nicolini and Ernesto Guido used the remote 0.5 metre iTelescope based in New Mexico on the morning of Monday, October 21st to confirm the outburst. Other amateurs and professional instruments are just now getting a look at the “new and improved” Comet X1 LINEAR low in the dawn sky. Romanian amateur observer Maximilian Teodorescu noted on yesterday’s Spaceweather that the comet was not visible through his 4.5 inch refractor, though it was easy enough to image.

Comet X1 LINEAR currently sits in the constellation Coma Berenices about mid-way between the stars Diadem, (Alpha Coma Berenices) and Beta Coma Berenices. Shining at +8.5 magnitude, the coma is about 85” across with a 10” bright central region. This gives X1 LINEAR the appearance of an unresolved +8th magnitude globular cluster. In fact, a classic globular and a star party fave known as M3 lies about 8 degrees away at the junction of the constellations Canes Venatici, Boötes and Coma Berenices. M3 shines at +7th magnitude and will make a great contrast on the hunt for the comet.

WATCH: Comet C/2012 X1 (LINEAR) Outburst.

Unfortunately, the window of time to search for the comet is currently short. From latitude 30 degrees north, the comet sits only 15 degrees about the northeast horizon 30 minutes before local sunrise. The situation is a bit better for observers farther to the north, and mid-November sees the comet 20 degrees above the horizon in the dawn sky.

Comet X1 LINEAR is currently covering 40’ (2/3rds of a degree, or 1 1/3 the size of a Full Moon) a day, and will spend most of the month of November in the constellation Boötes. Keep in mind, X1 LINEAR is currently still on brightening trend “with a bullet.” Revised light curves now show it on track to reach magnitude +6 near perihelion early next year, but further brightening could still be in the cards for this one. Remember Comet 17P/Holmes a few years back? That one jumped from an uber-faint +17th magnitude to a naked eye brightness of +2.8 in less than 48 hours.

WATCH: Astrophysicist Wal Thornhill explains comets and cometary displays from an Electric Universe standpoint.

Comet X1 LINEAR will reach a perihelion of 1.6 Astronomical Units (A.U.s) from the Sun on February 21st, 2014, and pass 1.6 A.U.s from the Earth around June 28th, 2014. The comet has a high inclination of 44.4° degrees relative to the ecliptic, and is on a respectable 1872 year orbit.

Here are some notable dates for the comet through the end of 2013:

- Universe Today.

FUK-U-SHIMA: Massive Fukushima Debris Island The Size Of Texas Floating Towards The United States - Could House Invasive Organisms That Could Disrupt Local Environments!

November 05, 2013 - JAPAN - A massive island of debris is slowly making its way to the United States after forming in the wake of the tsunami that rocked Japan back in 2011.

Reuters / Kim Kyung-Hoon.

The tsunami killed almost 16,000 people in Japan, caused numerous problems at the nuclear plant in Fukushima, and dislodged more than 1.5 million floating objects into the Pacific Ocean. Now, a collection of debris the size of Texas is roughly 1,700 meters off the coast of California.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the debris scattered by the tsunami has been spread around an area of the ocean that’s three times the size of the continental United States. It also said to expect trash to continue arriving on American shores for the next few years.

Already, objects such as boats, rooftops, soccer balls, and docks have hit various parts of the West Coast. Even more will arrive with the Texas-sized island, but, more than the trash, scientists are interested in the organisms that could be living on them.

"At first we were only thinking about objects like the floating docks, but now we’re finding that all kinds of Japanese organisms are growing on the debris," John Chapman of the Marine Science Center at Oregon State University told Fox News.

"We've found over 165 non-native species so far," he continued. "One type of insect, and almost all the others are marine organisms … we found the European blue mussel, which was introduced to Asia long ago, and then it grew on a lot of these things that are coming across the Pacific ... we’d never seen it here, and we don’t particularly want it here."

The worst-case scenario would be that the trash is housing invasive organisms that could disrupt the local environment’s current balance of life.

Other concerns such as radiation, meanwhile, have been downplayed. On its website, the NOAA says, “Radiation experts agree that it is highly unlikely that any tsunami generated marine debris will hold harmful levels of radiation from the Fukushima nuclear emergency.”

Independent groups like the 5 Gyres Institute, which tracks pollution out at sea, have echoed NOAA’s findings, saying that radiation readings have been “inconsequential.” Even the release of radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear reactor shouldn't be a grave concern, since scientists say it will be diluted to the point of being harmless by the time it reaches American shores in 2014. - RT.

FIRE IN THE SKY: Amazing Fireball Seen In The Skies Over Japan - October 30, 2013!

November 05, 2013 - JAPAN - This car driver was lucky to have is camera on... He indeed recorded a long fireball traveling across the sky over Japan.

Fireball seen across Japan – October 30 2013. Photo: Sonotaco.

This great meteor record was caught on Oct. 30, 2013 near Yokohama, in Japan. The picture above, was shot from Asahi Village in the Nagano Prefecture.

WATCH: Fireball over Japan. 

- Strange Sounds.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Global Volcano Report For November 5, 2013 - Updates On Klyuchevskoy, Etna, Bagana, Manam, White Island And Fuego!

November 05, 2013 - WORLDWIDE VOLCANOES - The following constitutes the new activity, unrest and ongoing reports of volcanoes across the globe, courtesy of  Volcano Discovery.

Klyuchevskoy (Kamchatka): Tremor and degassing have increased with respect to the last report from KVERT. A steam plume rises about 2 km above the crater and a thermal anomaly over the volcano is visible on satellite data. This suggests that some volcanic activity (perhaps strombolian) has resumed (or continues).

Current view of Klyuchevskoy volcano (KVERT webcam).

Etna (Sicily, Italy): While the summit craters have remained calm, seismic activity shows continuing unrest at the volcano. A number of relatively shallow earthquakes occurred this morning under the volcano.

Location of the 2.9 earthquake under Etna this morning.

The only quake located by an international agency was a 2.9 magnitude event at 05:30 (GMT) at 18 km depth under the SW flank, while the other earthquakes were too small to be included, but appear to be shallower. More precise data will hopefully be available soon from INGV Catania.

Bagana (Bougainville Island, Papua New Guinea): A relatively large SO2 plume from the volcano today indicates a surge in activity (ash explosions, strombolian activity?).

SO2 plume from Bagana volcano (NOAA).

Manam (Papua New Guinea): Elevated SO2 emissions are visible today on NOAA satellite data.

White Island (New Zealand): No further eruptive activity has occurred since the moderate eruption on the evening of 11 October 2013. Seismic activity and gas flux from the volcano have been at a low level since the eruption. The Aviation Colour Code has been lowered from Yellow to Green. (GeoNet).

Current webcam image of White Island (GeoNet).

Fuego (Guatemala): The volcano observatory of INSIVUMEH reports an increase in activity today: A new lava flow started to descend on the southern flank towards the Trinidad canyon and currently has a length of 100 m. Another branch towards the Ceniza canyon is 50 m long. From both flow fronts, incandescent avalanches detach with run-out lengths of up to 500 m.

The risk of pyroclastic flows triggered by collapse of the steep lava flow fronts is elevated.

Current seismic signal from Fuego volcano (FG3 station, INSIVUMEH).

Accompanied by elevated seismic activity, more and stronger explosions have occurred today. Ash plumes rose up to 800 m height above the crater and often produced loud shock waves that rattled roofs and windows of houses in villages Panimaché, Morelia and Panimaché II.

There are constant degassing sounds similar to a locomotive, and incandescent material is ejected to heights of 125-200 meters above the crater, generating avalanches on the upper slopes.

Complete Earthquake list (worldwide) for November 5, 2013.

- Volcano Discovery.