Sunday, November 10, 2013

FIRE IN THE SKY: Monumental Signs In The Heavens - Four Comets Seen In Earth's Sky; Comet Lovejoy Shines Brightest; Comet ISON Is Now A Binocular Object And Brightening As It Approaches The Sun; NASA's All-Sky Cameras Capture 36 Fireballs Intersecting With Our Planet Over The Last 4 Days, 26 Sporadics!

November 10, 2013 - SPACE - Comet ISON is brightening as it approaches the sun.

Multiple observers now report that it is a binocular object. "I finally saw Comet ISON for the first time using small binoculars!" says pilot Brian Whittaker. He was flying 38,000 feet over the Mediterranean Sea on November 8th when he took this picture showing where to look:

"It was faint, but is predicted to brighten and move each day," he adds. "Exciting! "

"I have made my first confirmed binocular sighting of C/2012 S1 ISON as well," reports Pete Lawrence of Selsey UK on Nov. 9th. "ISON's head appears small and stellar through a pair of 15x70s optics."

Comet ISON is currently moving through the constellation Virgo low in the eastern sky before dawn. Shining like an 8th magnitude star, it is still too dim for naked eye viewing, but an increasingly easy target for backyard optics. Amateur astronomers, if you have a GOTO telescope, enter these coordinates. Special dates of interest are Nov. 17th and 18th when the comet will pass the bright star Spica.

Sky maps: Nov. 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19.

Don't delay, because Comet ISON is plunging toward the sun for a perilous encounter on Nov. 28th. At closest approach, the comet will be deep inside the sun's corona and little more than a million kilometers from the fiery stellar surface. If ISON survives--a big IF--it could emerge from solar fire as a naked-eye comet for northern-hemisphere observers in December. Monitoring is encouraged!

BRIGHTER THAN ISON: Comet ISON is getting all the press, but it's not even the brightest comet in its own patch of sky.

That would be Comet Lovejoy (C/2013 R1), one of four comets now rising in the east before dawn:

Pictured from left to right are exploding Comet LINEAR X1, sungrazing Comet ISON, short-period Comet Encke, and the brightest of them all, Comet Lovejoy. All four are visible in binoculars or backyard telescopes, and Comet Lovejoy (mag. +6.0) is visible to the naked eye from dark-sky sites. Comet ISON is actually one of the faintest of the group; only expanding Comet LINEAR X1 (mag. +8) is more difficult to see.

An apparition of so many comets at once is a rare thing, and amateur astronomers are encouraged to wake up early for a tour of the pre-dawn sky. Dates of special interest include Nov. 15-18 when Comet LINEAR X1 passes by the bright star Arcturus, Nov 17-18 when Comet ISON has a close encounter with Spica, and Nov. 18-20 when Comet Encke buzzes Mercury. These stars and planets make excellent naked-eye guideposts for finding the comets. Meanwhile, bright Comet Lovejoy is approaching the Big Dipper; if you can't see it with your unaided eye, a quick scan with binoculars will reveal it.

Sky maps: Nov. 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19.

Comet ephemerides: Comet ISON, Comet Lovejoy, Comet Encke, Comet LINEAR X1

FIREBALLS: Every night, a network of NASA all-sky cameras scans the skies above the United States for meteoritic fireballs. Automated software maintained by NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office calculates their orbits, velocity, penetration depth in Earth's atmosphere and many other characteristics. 

On Nov. 7, 2013, the network reported 8 fireballs. (7 sporadics, 1 Northern Taurid)

On Nov. 8, 2013, the network reported 10 fireballs. (5 sporadics, 5 Northern Taurids)

On Nov. 9, 2013, the network reported 15 fireballs. (11 sporadics, 4 Northern Taurids)

On Nov. 10, 2013, the network reported 3 fireballs. (3 sporadics)

In these diagrams of the inner solar system, all of the fireball orbits intersect at a single point--Earth. The orbits are color-coded by velocity, from slow (red) to fast (blue). [Larger image] [movies]

NEAR-EARTH ASTEROIDS: Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) are space rocks larger than approximately 100m that can come closer to Earth than 0.05 AU. None of the known PHAs is on a collision course with our planet, although astronomers are finding new ones all the time.

On November 10, 2013 there were potentially hazardous asteroids.

- Space Weather.

SOLAR WATCH: Yet Another X-Flare On The Sun - Sunspot 1890 Explodes With Major X1.1 Solar Flare And CME; Earth-Directed Component; 40% Chance Of Polar Geomagnetic Storms On November 10!

November 10, 2013 - SUN - As predicted, sunspot AR1890 has unleashed another strong flare, an X1-class explosion on Nov. 10th at 05:14 UT.

X-FLARE: Solar activity again reached high levels with an X1 solar flare detected around sunspot 1890. The event was associated with a Type II Radio Emission with a velocity of 1012 km/s and a 10cm Radio Burst (TenFlare) measuring 350 solar flux units (sfu).

Iimage by the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) captures a strong X1.1 solar flare.

This is the third X-flare from AR1890 since November 5th, and all three have something in common: brevity. AR1890 tends to produce impulsive flares, peaking sharply in a matter of minutes or less. Often, brief flares do not produce coronal mass ejections (CMEs), but this one could be an exception. A movie of the flare shows a plume of material lifting off the Sun shortly after the UV flash. That could be the beginnings of an Earth-directed CME.

SUMMARY: X-ray Event exceeded X1
Begin Time: 2013 Nov 10 0508 UTC
Maximum Time: 2013 Nov 10 0514 UTC
End Time: 2013 Nov 10 0518 UTC
X-ray Class: X1.1
Optical Class: 2b
Location: S14W13
NOAA Scale: R3 - Strong

Potential Impacts: Area of impact consists of large portions of the sunlit side of Earth, strongest at the sub-solar point.
Radio - Wide area blackout of HF (high frequency) radio communication for about an hour.

The CME prediction model released by the Goddard Space Flight Center.

CME IMPACT: Coronagraph imagery by LASCO C2/C3 is now available following the X1 solar flare Saturday night. Although not exceptionally bright, the expanding shock front does appear to be Earth directed. The latest CME prediction model released by the Goddard Space Flight Center is calling for a direct CME impact by late November 12th. Geomagnetic storming will be possible once the plasma cloud arrives. 

WATCH:  EARTH-FACING X1.1 Solar Flare - November 10, 2013.

AURORA WATCH: NOAA forecasters estimate a 40% of polar geomagnetic storms on November 10th as a stream of solar wind buffets Earth's magnetic field. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras.

A high speed solar wind stream coupled with periods of southward Bz, helped generate awesome aurora displays
at high latitudes. Friday night and into Saturday morning. Mike Isaak in Alberta, Canada sends us the great
image above he captured from Elk Island National Park after 5:30am local time. Visual aurora will be possible
in the days ahead with a weak CME impact also possible during the next 48 hours.

SUNSPOTS: All other regions remain fairly stable. Region 1887 continues to decay as it rotates towards the northwest limb. Region 1891 located in the southwest quadrant is now spotless. New sunspot 1895 was numbered after rotating into view off the southeast limb.

Big sunspot AR1890 has a 'beta-gamma-delta' magnetic field that harbors energy for X-class solar flares.
Credit: SDO/HMI

CORONAL HOLE: There are no large coronal holes on the Earthside of the sun.

Credit: SDO/AIA.

SOURCES: Space Weather | Solar Watcher | Solar Ham | SWPC/NOAA.

STORM ALERT: Typhoon Warning - Vietnam Evacuates Over 600,000 In Fear Of Haiyan Devastation!

November 10, 2013 - VIETNAM - As super-typhoon Haiyan has left some 10,000 dead in the Philippines, over 600,000 people have been evacuated as it approaches Vietnam. “Those who do not move voluntarily will be forced” to move, Vietnam’s flood and storm control department said.

This satellite image of Haiyan, courtesy of NOAA, was taken Sunday evening local time.

Vietnam is preparing its defenses after the storm annihilated the Philippines over the weekend, leaving thousands dead and a trail of devastation through Tacloban, the capital of Leyte province.

Haiyan destroyed 70 percent to 80 percent of the area as it ripped through the province Friday, police chief superintendent Elmer Soria told Reuters. Aid workers are only now beginning to gain access to affected areas.

The appropriate measures are being taken in Vietnam before the typhoon strikes. “We have evacuated more than 174,000 households, which is equivalent to more than 600,000 people,” the storm department said Sunday.

Mass evacuations are taking place in the central Da Nang and Quang Ngai provinces. Numerous schools have closed nationwide as people move to higher ground, and some shelters are “overloaded,” according to state-run VNExpress.

“People must bring enough food and necessities for three days,” the report said. All boats have been grounded, with tens of thousands of those directed to take shelter situated in coastal areas. Residents of Hanoi are also preparing themselves for heavy rain and floods. The storm has already been blamed for the drowning of a school girl in the central Thua Thien Hue Province.

A soldier assists a young girl as villagers are evacuated to a safe place by a military truck in preparation
for the arrival of the super typhoon Haiyan in the central province of Quang Nam
on November 9, 2013.(AFP Photo / STR)

The announcement follows new reports that the storm is changing its course. It is now anticipated to pummel the country on Monday at 7am, after moving in a north-to-northwesterly direction at a speed of around 35 kilometers an hour, according to the Vietnamese weather bureau. Upon landfall, it will have gathered winds of around 74 kilometers an hour.

WATCH: Vietnam, China enduring Typhoon Haiyan's final blow.

The Red Cross stated that the change of direction meant that the disaster area “could be enlarged from nine provinces to as many as 15,” according to a statement released to AFP.

However, some 200,000 people evacuated from the southern central provinces have been permitted to return to their homes as they are no longer at risk, according to a governmental report published on their website.

Residents prepare sand bags to reinforce a sea dyke in the central province of Phu Yen on November 9, 2013.
Vietnam has started evacuating over 100,000 people from the path of Super Typhoon Haiyan,
state media said on November 9, 2013.(AFP Photo / Vietnam News Agency )

By Sunday afternoon, the typhoon had already battered Vietnam's Con Co Island, where its 250 inhabitants were relocated to underground shelters containing food supplies for several days. The storm brought with it three-meter high waves, according to Vietnamese newspaper, Tuoi Tre.

Haiyan is one of the world’s most powerful-ever storms, based on its recorded wind speed, which at landfall was 195 miles per hour, with gusts as much as 235 miles per hour. It is thought to have been even stronger than Hurricane Camille, which caused devastation in the US in 1969. - RT.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Magnitude 5.5 Earthquake Hits Tokyo, Japan!

November 10, 2013 - JAPAN - An earthquake with preliminary magnitude of 5.5 shook eastern Japan, including the capital Tokyo, on Sunday morning, but there were no immediate reports of damage and no irregularities at the wrecked Fukushima nuclear power plant.

USGS earthquake location.

The earthquake was centered in southwest Ibaraki Prefecture, just northeast of Tokyo. There was no threat of a tsunami.

Tokyo Electric Power Co, operator of the Fukushima nuclear plant 220 km (130 miles) northeast of Tokyo, said there was no apparent impact from the quake.

USGS earthquake shakemap intensity.

"We have so far seen no abnormalities in monitoring post figures around the plants or in other parameters," a Tokyo Electric spokesman said.

The Tohoku Shinkansen bullet trains connecting Tokyo with northern Japan were briefly suspended, while Tokyo's two international airports were operating normally and there were no reports of irregularities at the Tokai Daini nuclear facility, public broadcaster NHK said. - Reuters .

Tectonic Summary - Seismotectonics of Japan and Vicinity
Japan and the surrounding islands straddle four major tectonic plates: Pacific plate; North America plate; Eurasia plate; and Philippine Sea plate. The Pacific plate is subducted into the mantle, beneath Hokkaido and northern Honshu, along the eastern margin of the Okhotsk microplate, a proposed subdivision of the North America plate. Farther south, the Pacific plate is subducted beneath volcanic islands along the eastern margin of the Philippine Sea plate. This 2,200 km-long zone of subduction of the Pacific plate is responsible for the creation of the deep offshore Ogasawara and Japan trenches as well as parallel chains of islands and volcanoes, typical of Circumpacific island arcs. Similarly, the Philippine Sea plate is itself subducting under the Eurasia plate along a zone, extending from Taiwan to southern Honshu that comprises the Ryukyu Islands and the Nansei-Shoto trench.

USGS plate tectonics for the region.

Subduction zones at the Japanese island arcs are geologically complex and produce numerous earthquakes from multiple sources. Deformation of the overriding plates generates shallow crustal earthquakes, whereas slip at the interface of the plates generates interplate earthquakes that extend from near the base of the trench to depths of 40 to 60 km. At greater depths, Japanese arc earthquakes occur within the subducting Pacific and Philippine Sea plates and can reach depths of nearly 700 km. Since 1900, three great earthquakes occurred off Japan and three north of Hokkaido. They are the M8.4 1933 Sanriku-oki earthquake, the M8.3 2003 Tokachi-oki earthquake, the M9.0 2011 Tohoku earthquake, the M8.4 1958 Etorofu earthquake, the M8.5 1963 Kuril earthquake, and the M8.3 1994 Shikotan earthquake. - USGS.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: Mysterious Plague In The Ternopil Region, Ukraine - Already 40,000 Chickens Have Died?!

November 10, 2013 - UKRAINE - A mysterious plague chickens in the Ternopil region: already 40,000 chickens died.

The enterprise in the village Vyrlov killed almost 40,000 chickens.

For the first three days of 17,000 chickens died, and subsequently the number of dead birds has increased, and now stands at nearly 40,000.

What were sick chickens, now find out in several laboratories in Ukraine. The villagers are scared. And although experts claim that a bird from a local businessman dies not from infection, people look forward to the results of research.

A secret virus continues to kill chickens at a poultry farm near Zborowski Ternopil region.

The plant, which operates in the village for more than 3 years old, entered a closed mode.

Samples of dead birds were put on vetekspertizy and chickens that are left, give preventive drugs. On the chicken farm conduct a series of planned activities, and utilization of poultry occurs on vetsanzavode. - Svodka. [Translated]

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: Over 10,000 Dead In The Philippines Following The Passage Of Super Typhoon Haiyan - 4.3 MILLION People Affected; Widespread Looting Of Shops By Homeless And Shocked Survivors; Thousands Without Food And Water; Many Hospitals Closed Without Medicine; Almost Every Building In Tacloban Flattened; Government & International Aid Agencies In Desperate Struggle To Help Increasingly Angry Victims!

November 10, 2013 - THE PHILIPPINES - The typhoon death toll in just one city is now 10,000 and 4.3 million people across the Philippines have been affected by one of the strongest storms ever.

With the death toll from 'super' typhoon Haiyan now estimated to be well over 10,000, the Philippines government and international aid agencies are engaged in a desperate struggle to get help to increasingly angry victims of what may have been the strongest storm ever to make landfall.

Philippines President Benigno Aquino was forced to walk out of a meeting with local government officials in Tacloban City, where 10,000 people alone are feared to have perished, after furious survivors interrupted it to berate him for the authorities' slow response to the disaster.

WATCH:  Typhoon ravages Philippines city of Tacloban.

Almost every building in Tacloban was flattened on Friday, as raging, tsunami-like floods sent waves as high as seven metres crashing through the streets.

Wind speeds in the city came close to 200mph. One resident described Haiyan's impact as being "like a tornado that lasted for four hours". Local police chief Elmer Soria said the death toll in the city of 220,000 people is at least 10,000.

Damaged buildings of Baladian in the municipality of Concepcion Photo: CAPIDIPC / EPA

 "We had a meeting last night with the governor and other officials," he said. "The governor said, based on their estimate, that 10,000 people died. The devastation is so big."

There is now a rising threat of serious disorder in Tacloban, with widespread looting of shops by homeless and shocked survivors left without food and water.

 "Security is becoming a real problem," Gwendolyn Pang, the secretary-general of the Philippines Red Cross, told The Telegraph.

"People are starting to get very angry and impatient at the lack of help. They're raiding the shops for food."

So dire is the shortage of medical supplies that just one hospital in Tacloban is still open, but it can only offer basic first-aid.

Residents walk through debris and toppled power lines in Tacloban City (TED ALJIBE/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

"Many of the hospitals have had to close down. They're sending people away saying they can't help them because they have no medicine," said Mrs Pang.

While Tacloban, 380 miles south of the Philippines capital Manila, is the worst-hit area so far reached, the situation is believed to be even more serious in surrounding Leyte Province where unknown tens of thousands of people have been cut off from the outside world since Haiyan tore into the central Philippines.

WATCH:  Western Pacific Update - Haiyan Storm Footage.

Although Tacloban's airport has been re-opened for military flights carrying aid, and Mr Aquino was able to fly in for a brief visit to assess the damage, blocked roads mean it is impossible to reach more remote coastal areas.

"There's very heavy damage along the coast," said Orla Fagan, from the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Manila.

Survivors walk past a ship that lies on top of damaged homes after it was washed ashore in Tacloban city (AP)

"Distribution of aid is the real challenge. Planes are landing in Tacloban but getting it out of Tacloban is the problem."

Fears are also mounting that the death toll in Samar Province, where Haiyan first smashed into the Philippines on Friday, may match that of Tacloban.

The region remains without power or communications.

"We're really worried, given the level of reported casualties in Tacloban," said Marie Madamba-Nunez, Oxfam's spokesman in Manila. ""It's been two days since the storm hit and we have heard nothing from most of Samar Province."

In all, some 4.3 million in 36 provinces were affected by Haiyan, which is now heading towards Vietnam and southern China at a weakened strength, where it is expected to make landfall Monday morning. - Telegraph.