Friday, January 3, 2014

SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS: Massive And Luminous Green Vortex Seen Over Sweden - Solar Wind Sparks Intermittant Geomagnetic Storms And Auroras Around The Arctic Circle!

January 03, 2014 - SPACE - For the second day in a row, a solar wind stream is buffeting Earth's magnetic field, sparking intermittant geomagnetic storms and auroras around the Arctic Circle.

Last night, Northern Lights tour guide Chad Blakley photographed a luminous green vortex over Sweden's Abisko National Park:

"Tonight was one of those nights that makes being an aurora photographer the best job in the world," says Blakley. "The lights started around 5:00 PM and continued well into the night.

I had the pleasure of spending the evening with Peter Richards, a representative of National Geographic student photography expeditions.

At one point during our night under the stars I heard him say that the display was the most amazing thing he had ever seen in his life - I couldn't agree more!"

NOAA forecasters estimate a 20% chance of more polar geomagnetic storms on Jan. 4th as the solar wind continues to blow. - Space Weather.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Electric Universe - Mysterious Lights That Signal Earthquakes Explained By Scientists!

January 03, 2014 - GEOLOGY - Mysterious lights that occur before or during earthquakes have been noted by eyewitnesses for centuries but, until now, have baffled scientists.

Lights were seen before the L'Aquila earthquake in 2009
Wiki Commons

In one example from 1727, a man from New England reported how he felt the ground shake then saw a ball of light roll onto his dog, causing the animal to yelp.

In Peru in 2009, a fisherman said he saw the sky turn violet before the earthquake, while in L'Aquila in 2009, a man saw white flashes before the tremor struck.

Researchers writing in the publication Seismological Research Letters have now put forward a theory about this mystery glowing, which takes place in geological rifts when the ground is being torn apart.

The authors looked at several studies about earthquake lights to propose a mechanism for why they occur, Nature magazine reports.

They compiled all the reports of earthquake lights from 1600 to date, focusing on 27 earthquakes in the US and 38 in Europe.

Of the 65 studied, 56 earthquakes occurred along ancient or active rift zones. A further 63 took place where geological faults that ruptured were almost vertical – many fault lines have much smaller angles.

Lead author Robert Thériault, a geologist at Quebec's Ministry of Natural Resources in Quebec City, said: "Earthquake lights are a real phenomenon – they're not UFOs. They can be scientifically explained."

John Ebel, a geophysicist at Boston College in Massachusetts, explained why there have been problems studying this phenomenon in the past: "It's just not a regular area of scientific inquiry, because there's no way to do an experiment on them."

In the study, the authors say that during an earthquake, the rocks grinding against each other generate electric charges that travel up along the fault lines. When they reach Earth's surface, they create a glow.

A fisherman said he saw the sky turn violet before the Peru earthquake in 2009. Wiki Commons

They believe the steep geometry explains the earthquake lights. Team member Friedemann Freund, a mineral physicist at the NASA Ames Research Center in California, believes a chemical process causes the lights.

"When the stress of an earthquake hits the rock, it breaks chemical bonds involved in these defects, creating holes of positive electrical charge," Nature reports. "These 'p holes' flow can vertically through the fault to the surface, triggering strong local electric fields that can generate light."

However, Ebel said there are a number of other reactions that may be responsible for these mystery lights: "It makes enough sense, but that doesn't mean that it's right."

Thériault added that while they have not yet got a definitive answer about the lights, awareness of their presence could help as a warning sign for earthquakes. - IBT.

ICE AGE NOW: New Year's Storm Brings Howling Winds, Drifting Snow And Frigid Temperatures To U.S. Northwestern - 21 INCHES OF SNOW As Massachusetts Closes Offices, Threat Of Flooding In Boston!

January 03, 2014 - UNITED STATES - A New Year’s storm brought howling winds, drifting snow and frigid temperatures to the northwestern US state of Massachusetts. Nearly 55 centimeters of snow fell overnight in the Bay State, prompting the National Guard to be put on standby.

Winds whip snow from the beach across Winthrop Shore Drive January 2, 2014 in Winthrop, Massachusetts.
(Darren McCollester/Getty Images/AFP)

Almost 2 feet of snow had fallen in the town of Boxford, just north of Boston, by Thursday night and 45 cm have been recorded in other parts of the state, says the National Weather Service. The service has already issued a blizzard warning for Cape Cod, coastal areas north and south of Boston as well as in some parts of Maine and Long Island.

"We're going to see a lot of snow and a lot of wind," Jason Tuell from the National Weather Service said. "We're concerned about whiteout conditions … with the blowing and drifting snow."

The conditions on major roads in southeast Massachusetts have already deteriorated as the winter storm strengthened, WHDH 7NEWS Boston Local News reported.

“The roads are terrible. Really slippery. On and off ramps are just going down quick right now,” a local driver told WHDH 7NEWS.

City workers shovel snow from in front of the Orient Heights T Station on Bennington Street
January 2, 2014 in East Boston, Massachusetts. (Darren McCollester/Getty Images/AFP)

 Offices would remain closed on Friday, said Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. National Guard members and state police are now on standby for any high tide flooding in vulnerable coastal areas, he added.

“There is an even greater anticipated snow accumulation. ... There are two worrisome high tides ... and there are extreme cold temperatures. That’s a pretty dangerous combination of circumstances,” Patrick said in a briefing at the state’s emergency bunker in Framingham.

In Boston a parking ban has been announced by the city’s Mayor, Thomas Menino. Also all schools are now closed because of snow.

Up to a quarter of scheduled flights had been canceled on Thursday afternoon and evening at Boston's Logan International Airport, said the airport officials.

A man jogs past waves crashing against the seawall around high tide during a winter nor'easter
snowstorm in Lynn, Massachusetts January 2, 2014. (Reuters/Brian Snyder)

However, if Boston only prepares for mass flooding, some areas already face this weather phenomenon. Flooding and high winds struck the Massachusetts community of Scituate, reports New England Cable News (NECN). The residents who live in flood zones have already been evacuated before the storm. However, the officials warn about more severe flooding in the area.

 The storms are far from being over in the region as forecasters predict further drops of temperatures, with some areas seeing highs just above -17 C and wind chill readings of minus-23 C and even colder.

The National Guard has been deployed in Massachusetts and will be staging in flood prone areas.
PzFeed Top News.

As much as 60 centimeters of snow could fall in the eastern part of the state, from Gloucester to Cape Cod, say meteorologists from the National Weather Service in Taunton.

“With the winds and the blowing snow, the roads are not going to improve greatly. ... Travel will not be recommended,” said John Dlugoenski, a meteorologist with

He said at least minus 20 degrees might be expected in the Boston area soon.

New Year’s weather bring havoc to almost all states of US. Heavy snowfalls, ice storms, ruinous tornadoes and flash floods have been hitting the country since early Christmas. At least nine people died in a deluge of bad weather that caused massive flight delays and knocked out power.

Over 45 centimeters of snow has been recorded in upstate New York, while 7 centimeters of snow fell in New York’s Central Park early Friday. The governors of New York and New Jersey declared states of emergency and advised residents to stay indoors.

More than 2,300 flights have been canceled across the US due to bad weather.

Onlookers look at waves crashing against the seawall around high tide during a winter nor'easter
snowstorm in Lynn, Massachusetts January 2, 2014. (Reuters/Brian Snyder)

JFK Airport was temporarily shut down as of 6:12 am local time (11:12 GMT) due to a heavy snowstorm. The airport was expected to reopen at 8:30 am (13:30 GMT), the Federal Aviation Administration said.

Over 440,000 homes and businesses were deprived of power due to snow and ice in Michigan, New York and northern New England. - RT.

FIRE IN THE SKY: First Asteroid Of 2014 Hits Earth, 2014 AA Burns Up Over African Coast - Discovered Only HOURS Before It Collided With The Planet!

January 03, 2014 - SPACE - This was very likely the last trip around the Sun for the Earth-crossing asteroid 2014 AA, according to calculations by several teams of astronomers and published online earlier today on the IAU’s Minor Planet Center.

Discovered just yesterday by the Catalina Sky Survey, the estimated 3-meter-wide Apollo asteroid was supposed to clear Earth today by a razor-thin margin of about 611 km (380 miles)… but it’s now looking like it didn’t quite make it.

Probability pattern of 2014 AA south and west of the Cape Verde islands. (Credit: Asteroid Initiatives, LLC)

The diagram above, via Asteroid Initiatives’ Twitter feed, shows a
projected path probability pattern for 2014 AA’s re-entry. No eyewitness accounts have yet been reported, and if anyone knows of any surveillance cameras aimed in that direction that might have captured footage of a bolide feel free to share that info below in the comments and/or with @AsteroidEnergy on Twitter. 
Other calculations put the entry point anywhere between western Africa and Central America.

According to the MPEC report the asteroid “was unlikely to have survived atmospheric entry intact.”

Watch an animation below showing 2014 AA’s point-of-view as it met Earth. (Video courtesy of Pasquale Tricarico, senior scientist at the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, AZ.)

JPL’s Near-Earth Object program classifies Apollo asteroids as “Earth-crossing NEAs with semi-major axes larger than Earth’s (named after asteroid 1862 Apollo).” And while not an Earth-shattering event (fortunately!) this is just another small reminder of why we need to keep watch on the sometimes-occupied path our planet takes around the Sun! - Universe Today.

The year’s first asteroid was spotted on New Year's Day and plunged into Earth’s atmosphere and burned up somewhere between Africa and South America over the Atlantic Ocean on Thursday.

Map of the possible impact points of 2014 AA, produced by astronomer Bill Gray.  Bill Gray

The asteroid, given the number 2014 AA, was discovered hours before it hit Earth by astronomers using the Mt. Lemmon Survey telescope in Arizona. The first image showing the asteroid was taken on Wednesday around 1:20 a.m. EST, reports.

"I'm kicking myself for not having spotted this," astronomer Bill Gray of the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center said, admitting his holiday plans interfered with his daily plans of scanning telescopic images. “On New Years Day, I'd made arrangements to go with my family to visit my sister, go for a walk, stop off for a doughnut, shovel snow, etc., etc." Gray says he spotted 2014 AA only a few hours before impact, Sky and Telescope reports.

Map of the possible impact points of 2014 AA, produced by astronomer Bill Gray.  Bill Gray

Astronomers estimate from the object’s brightness that it was anywhere between 6.5 to 10 feet long – the approximate size of a car. Since it charged into Earth at a high speed, it disintegrated before it made landfall.
“According to Chesley, the impact locations are widely distributed, most likely falling on an arc extending from Central America to East Africa, with a best-fit location just off the coast of West Africa on Jan. 2.10,” the Minor Planet Electronic Circular reports, referring to astronomer Steve Chesley of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

While an asteroid hitting Earth is not unusual, the fact that it was spotted before impact is. The last time an asteroid was discovered before reaching the planet’s atmosphere was in 2008. Named TC3, the asteroid was spotted 19 hours before it burned up somewhere over Sudan. Meteorite hunters were able to recover remnants from the impact in the desert. - IBT.