Friday, November 29, 2013

FIRE IN THE SKY: Huge Meteor Fireball Fragments Seen Over Queensland, Australia - Eye-Witness Described It As "Comet-Like With Many Tails"!

November 29, 2013 - AUSTRALIA - The stars aligned for some lucky Fraser Coast sky watchers on Wednesday evening.

File illustration.

Dozens of people reported seeing what was believed to be a meteorite crossing the sky about 8pm.

Cassandra Perry was among those who caught a glimpse and shared her experience on the Fraser Coast Chronicle's Facebook page.

"Yes, I saw a light moving fast through the sky, so I ran outside and saw it was a meteor," she said.

"I could see it burning up, looked like it had a tail similar to what fireworks looks like, an awesome sight."

Commenter Sally Mackay said she saw it with her daughter as they were leaving a school awards night.

Another Facebook poster, Florence McMaster, said she saw it too but was too awe-struck to capture a photo.

"It was comet-like with long tails ... we and another couple saw it, much slower than a shooting star and (there were) several moving together."

Hervey Bay Astronomical Society president Joe Mather said he saw a couple of meteorites on Wednesday night.

"It's staggering," he said.

Mr Mather said during the past week there had been some incredible sightings.

He said meteorites were often created from debris left by a comet and gravity attracted them to Earth. - Sunshine Coast Daily.

Initial Meteor Sighting Reports
27 November 2013 Mark D Brisbane, Qld, AUSTRALIA 20:15 AEST (UTC+10)
9 seconds N-S Facing West Red main body with yellowish tail Venus Started as one moving light, fragmented into 2 clusters, larger cluster at the top, maybe 20-30 fragments, smaller cluster at the bottom, maybe 5-10 fragments awesome. scared the kids a little bit!
27 November 2013 Tiff Logan City, Qld, AUSTRALIA 1955
About 10 seconds. North-SouthWest Viewed facing west. Yellow/white. No sound. At least as big and bright as the moon. Started out big and solid then as it travelled it broke up into numerous smaller pieces that fizzled out. It was very, very low and fairly slow. I've never seen anything like it. Amazing!
27 November 2013 Delgray Mountain creek, Sunshine Coast, QLD Australia Between 7.30-8pm
10-15 seconds N/NE - S/SW White/yellow/gold, no sound Possibly the moon but a bit more yellow co,luring Yes, definitely fragmentation, 1 major part and the numerous trailing afterwards I am not sure what this was, defiantly had numerous fragments and wasn't moving too fast across the sky, but disappeared down to the SW of maybe Brisbane city, AUSTRALIA

27 November 2013 Kevin Druery Chambers Flat, Qld, Australia 19:55:00
3-5 secs N-S, right to left, facing west Large orange ball which broke into a number of smaller ones as it travelled. No sound As bright as a near full moon, but orange Yes Amazing experience! Never seen anything like this before.
27 November 2013 Mark Williams Caloundra Queensland Australia 1951 19.50PM
27 November 2013 Karen Stevenson Calliope River Qld Australia 19:55hrs; Australian Eastern Standard Time, PM
15 seconds north west to south east direction; observed travelling from left to right. First Noted just above horizon trailing across sky to other horizon no sound. Colour yellow to orange moon yes multiple parts trailing an amazing site - at first thought it was a falling star however far more spectacular.
- Lunar Meteorite Hunters.

FIRE IN THE SKY: Comet ISON Lives - The "Comet Of The Century" Sweeps Near The Sun, Shows Sign Of Life!

November 29, 2013 - SPACE - Hold the obituary. Experts now think Comet ISON -- or at least part of it -- survived its close encounter with the sun.

Karl Battams, a comet scientist for the Naval Research Laboratory, said it is believed some parts of ISON's nucleus survived perihelion.

Comet ISON appears as a white smear heading up and away from the sun on Thursday, November 28.
Scientists initially thought the comet had been disintegrated by the sun, but images suggest
a small nucleus may still be intact.

"It now looks like some chunk of ISON's nucleus has indeed made it through the solar corona, and re-emerged," he said. "It's throwing off dust and (probably) gas, but we don't know how long it can sustain that."

However, he said, its fate is uncertain.

"Now it has emerged and started to brighten, we need to observe it for a few days to get a feel for its behavior," Battams said.

ISON swept about 730,000 miles over the sun's surface Thursday about 2 p.m. ET.

A fleet of spacecraft watched ISON plunge toward the sun, including NASA's STEREO satellite, the European Space Agency/NASA SOHO spacecraft and the Solar Dynamics Observatory.

Comets are giant snowballs of frozen gases, rock and dust that can be several miles in diameter. When they get near the sun, they warm up and spew some of the gas and dirt, creating tails that can stretch for thousands of miles.

Most comets are in the outer part of our solar system. When they get close enough for us to see, scientists study them for clues about how our solar system formed.

Astronomers Vitali Nevski and Artyom Novichonok discovered ISON last year using a telescope near Kislovodsk, Russia.

ISON -- officially named C/2012 S1 -- was 585 million miles away at the time. Its amazing journey through the solar system had been chronicled by amateur astronomers and by space telescopes.

"From the beginning, ISON has confused, surprised and amazed us, and in hindsight its latest little escapade really should not shock us," Battams said. "Nonetheless, this has been one of the most extraordinary comets we have ever encountered, and just goes to reiterate how beautiful, dynamic and exciting our universe is."

Observers have been watching the comet for more than a year, hoping it would survive its sunbath and emerge to put on a sky show, visible to the naked eye in the Northern Hemisphere.

Comet ISON is seen, top left, after its close encounter with the sun on November 28. In this picture, called
a coronagraph, the bright light of the sun is blocked so the structures around it are visible.

Comet ISON moves close to the sun at 10:51 a.m. ET on November 28.

Comet ISON's position is seen near the sun at 9:30 a.m. ET on November 28. This composite image
comes from NASA and the European Space Agency.

Earlier Thursday, NASA scientists had pretty much declared ISON dead at the end of a Google Hangout to watch the comet swing by the sun. But professional and amateur astronomers were undeterred by the reports and kept analyzing NASA satellites. They found images that clearly show something emerging from the sun.

"What we see here is the dust tail emerging first, pointing away from the sun," said Padma Yanamandra-Fisher with the Space Science Institute and a member of the ISON Observing Campaign.

A video made by observing campaign member John Maclean shows the comet slicing toward the sun and then something -- apparently ISON -- emerging from the other side. Maclean is a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society at Norman Lockyer Observatory Sidmouth in Devon, England.

The discovery stunned many in the comet-watching community and led some to nickname ISON the zombie comet.

Others repeated an old joke about comets and cats.

"Comets are like cats; they have tails, and they do precisely what they want," David H. Levy said.

This comet also seems to have something else in common with cats -- nine lives. - CNN.

COMET ISON LIVES (UPDATED): Cancel the funeral. Comet ISON is back from the dead. Yesterday, Nov. 28th, Comet ISON flew through the sun's atmosphere and appeared to disintegrate before the cameras of several NASA and ESA spacecraft. This prompted reports of the comet's demise. Today, the comet has revived and is rapidly brightening. Click to view a SOHO coronagraph movie of the solar flyby (updated Nov. 29 @ 1800 UT):

Before the flyby, experts had made many predictions about what might happen to the comet, ranging from utter disintegration to glorious survival. No one predicted both.

Karl Battams of NASA's Comet ISON Observing Campaign says, "[colleague] Matthew Knight and I are ripping our hair out right now as we know that so many people in the public, the media and in science teams want to know what's happened. We'd love to know that too! Right now, here's our working hypothesis:

"As comet ISON plunged towards to the Sun, it began to fall apart, losing not giant fragments but at least a lot of reasonably sized chunks. There's evidence of very large dust in the long thin tail we saw in the [SOHO coronagraph] images. Then, as ISON plunged through the corona, it continued to fall apart and vaporize, losing its coma and tail completely just like sungrazing Comet Lovejoy did in 2011. What emerged from the Sun was a small but perhaps somewhat coherent nucleus that has resumed emitting dust and gas for at least the time being."

Battams emphasizes that it is too soon to tell how big the remnant nucleus is or how bright the resurgent comet will ultimately become. "We have a whole new set of unknowns, and this ridiculous, crazy, dynamic and unpredictable object continues to amaze, astound and confuse us to no end. We ask that you please be patient with us for a couple of days as we analyze the data and try to work out what is happening."

Astrophotographer Babak Tafreshi has edited an HD video that compares views of ISON from both of SOHO's coronagraphs. "It seems the comet could become a naked eye object with several degrees of scattered tail by Dec 2nd or 3rd," he predicts. "It's not the comet of the century for sure, and fainter than the Lovejoy sungrazer in Dec. 2011, but an interesting imaging target is just a few nights away!" - Space Weather.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: New, Aggressive HIV Strain Causes AIDS Faster!

November 29, 2013 - HEALTH - A new and more aggressive strain of HIV discovered in West Africa causes significantly faster progression to AIDS, researchers at Sweden's Lund University said Thursday.

The new strain of the virus that causes AIDS, called A3/02, is a fusion of the two most common HIV strains in Guinea-Bissau. It has so far only been found in West Africa.

"Individuals who are infected with the new recombinant form develop AIDS within five years, and that's about two to two-and-a-half years faster than one of the parent (strains)," said Angelica Palm, one of the scientists responsible for the study based on a long-term follow-up of HIV-positive people in Guinea-Bissau.

Recombinant virus strains originate when a person is infected by two different strains, whose DNA fuse to create a new form.

"There have been some studies that indicate that whenever there is a so-called recombinant, it seems to be more competent or aggressive than the parental strains," said Palm of the study published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

The strain was first discovered by the Swedish team in Guinea-Bissau in 2011.

According to researchers, the speed with which A3/02 leads to people falling ill from AIDS does not impact on the effectiveness of medication on infected individuals.

"The good news is that as far as we know the medicines that are available today are equally functional on all different subtypes of variants," Palm said.

The study warns that such recombinants may be spreading fast, especially in regions with high levels of immigration, such as Europe or the United States.

"It is highly likely that there are a large number of circulating recombinants of which we know little or nothing," said Patrik Medstrand, professor of clinical virology at Lund University.

Some 35.3 million people around the world are living with HIV, which destroys the immune system and has caused more than 25 million deaths since AIDS first emerged in the early 1980s, according to the World Health Organisation.

Existing treatments help infected people live longer, healthier lives by delaying and subduing symptoms, but do not cure AIDS. Many people in poor communities do not have access to the life-giving drugs, and there is no vaccine. - Terra Daily.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Moderate Earthquake Hits Near Iran's Bushehr Nuclear Plant - Kills 7, Injures 45!

November 29, 2013 - IRAN - An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.6 struck a town Thursday in southern Iran, killing seven people while causing no damage at the country’s only nuclear power plant, state television reported.

A picture obtained from Iran's ISNA news agency shows the wreckage of a car amid rubble in the
Iranian western city of Borazjan on Thursday after a 5.7 magnitude earthquake struck the country.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the temblor struck some 14 kilometers (8.7 miles) northeast of Borazjan. It hit some 60 kilometers (38 miles) north of the Bushehr nuclear power plant, which is near the port city of the same name.

 The website for state television carried a statement from the plant’s operators saying it sustained no damage in the quake.

Bushehr province Gov. Fereidoun Hasanvand told state television that 45 people were injured. Many people fled their homes during the earthquake, fearful the buildings would crash down on them, local media reported.

Those living in neighboring provinces also felt the quake.

The quake's epicentre was near Borazjan, around 35 miles from Bushehr, where Iran has its Russian-built reactor.

In April, a 6.1-magnitude earthquake killed at least 37 people and injured hundreds in a town near Bushehr. The nuclear plant wasn’t damaged then.

 Iran is located in a zone of tectonic compression where the Arabian plate is moving into the Eurasian plate, leaving more than 90 percent of the country crisscrossed by seismic fault lines.

Nine quakes that hit Iran in the last decades were more than magnitude 6, including a 2003 temblor that killed at least 26,000 people in the city of Bam.

Scientists say more fault lines likely will be discovered in the country and more major quakes are only a matter of time. - NY Daily News.