Space Events

Lyrid meteor shower

The annual Lyrid meteor shower officially started up Thursday and will remain active for about 10 days, with the peak viewing night coming late Tuesday into Wednesday morning. It can be seen starting at 10 p.m., but this shower’s perfect for early risers, as the hour or two before dawn is probably the best time to spot the “shooting stars.”

The Lyrids are bits of rock and dust left behind by the comet C/1861 G (Thatcher). Each year around this time, the Earth drifts through a cloud of debris from an earlier visit by the comet — its most recent trip through the inner solar system was in 1861 — and those particles collide with our upper atmosphere at a speed of about 27 miles (43 kilometers) per second.

The 2012 Lyrid meteor shower as captured by astronaut Don Pettit aboard the International Space Station.

Screen Shot 2020 04 21 at 15 04 48

Space Events

Meteor over China

What appears to be a dazzling meteor lit up the sky over northeast China on Friday (Oct. 11), appearing as a brilliant fireball in surveillance video of the event.

Screen Shot 2019 10 15 at 1 18 59 PM

Space Events

A ‘hypersonic’ fireball hits Australia

A large meteor lit up the night skies as it passed over the south coast of Australia on Tuesday, May 21. According to NASA’s Centre for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), the meteor entered the atmosphere at 11.5km per second or 25,724mph. The meteor then partially broke up and crash landed in the waters of the Great Australian Bight bay some 186 miles (300km) west-southwest of Mount Gambier. Before this happened, however, the fireball released enough energy in the sky to equal a “small nuclear bomb”.

Screen Shot 2019 05 26 at 1 37 29 PM

Asteroid with its own moon flies by Earth

An asteroid zipping by the Earth this weekend is so big, it has its own moon. Asteroid (66391) 1999 KW4 is a binary system – two asteroids orbiting each other. The larger is 1.5km across and resembles a spinning top or a muffin, and the smaller measures 500m.

Because of its size, 1999 KW4 is classified as potentially hazardous by the Minor Planet Center. But it poses no threat to Earth this time around, and will fly by just over 5 million kilometres away – close on an interplanetary scale, but far enough away we don’t need to worry.

Screen Shot 2019 05 27 at 2 28 26 PM

Space Events

US detects huge meteor explosion

At about noon local time on 18 December, the asteroid barrelled through the atmosphere at a speed of 32km/s, on a steep trajectory of seven degrees. Measuring several metres in size, the space rock exploded 25.6km above the Earth’s surface, with an impact energy of 173 kilotons 10 times the energy released by the Hiroshima atomic bomb.

The blast was the second largest of its kind in 30 years, and the biggest since the fireball over Chelyabinsk in Russia six years ago. It was 40% the energy release of Chelyabinsk, but it was over the Bering Sea so it didn’t have the same type of effect or show up in the news.

A fireball this big is only expected about two or three times every 100 years.

106067183 fireball chart 640 2x nc

Space Events

Meteor over Mexico City – Geminids

A spectacular meteor lit up the sky of Mexico City in the early hours of Sunday. The meteor is estimated to have been travelling at more than 12,000mph and could be seen hurtling through the skies over Acapulco and Mexico City’s Xochimilco neighbourhood. Although the precise size of the meteor is hard to determine, experts say its diameter is estimated to be around 500 metres.

Later this week the stunning cosmic light show known as the Geminids meteor shower is expected to reach its peak.

Space Events

Fireball Bonanza

Treasure hunters in southwestern China recovered hundreds of meteorites after a fireball exploded over the region on June 1. Some of the meteorites crashed through the roofs of homes.

Collectors were hoping to cash in on the windfall of cosmic stones, but government officials cautioned that the meteorites would be better used in scientific research than just sitting on the shelves of wealthy collectors.

Space Events

Space Weather

3 close asteroids went by earth this week – closer than the moon’s distance to earth:

(2016 AQ164), January 10, 0.3 Lunar distance away, Estimated Diameter 2.8 m – 6.3 meters. (2016 AH164), January 12, 0.07 Lunar distance away, Estimated Diameter 3.2 m – 7.1 m. (2016 AN164), January 14, 0.1 Lunar distance away, Estimated Diameter 2.1 m – 4.7 m.

2016 Meteor Showers

Courtesy of NASA, here’s the meteor shower lineup for 2016, all times Eastern.

Jan. 4: The first meteor shower of the year was the Quadrantids, most visible at 3:01 a.m.

April 22: The second meteor shower of the year is the Lyrids, most visible at 1:30 a.m.

May 4: Eta Aquarids will be most visible at 2:45 p.m.

July 27: Delta Aquarids will be most visible at 4:32 p.m.

Aug. 12: Perseids, most visible at 8:26 a.m.

Oct. 21: The Orionids, most visible at 12:45 a.m.

Nov. 5: South Taurids, most visible at 12:13 a.m.

Nov. 11: North Taurids, most visible at 11:29 p.m.

Nov. 17: Leonids, most visible at 5:47 a.m.

Dec. 13: The Geminids will be most visible at 6:57 p.m.

Dec. 22: The final meteor shower of 2016 will be the Ursids, which will be most visible at 3 a.m.

Space Events

Earth Remains Under Threat From Meteors

“The last three big meteor events in history have been over the Russian mainland…it’s just that in comparison to Earth’s oceans, Russia is the next biggest thing to hit.”

Researchers now have a plethora of new atmospheric fireball and meteor detection methods at their disposal. NASA and other U.S. Government agencies have better sensors that now help look at such high altitude events. There are also more dash cams and security cameras and cell phone cameras; including cell phone apps, capable of easily filing reports of these bolides to a central office.

Have we underestimated the threat from near-Earth asteroids? We have a pretty good understanding of where 95 percent of the near-Earth asteroids (one km in diameter and up) actually are. But, surveys of near-Earth objects of 100 meters or less are not even one percent complete. “We used to think that a 20 meter-sized meteor wasn’t that big a threat. But the Chelyabinsk meteor was only 20 meters and we saw what it could do.”

Space Events

Meteorite Gold Rush After South Korean Impacts

Residents of the South Korean city of Jinju have been scouring the surrounding hills and rice paddies in search of meteorites since a fireball shattered overhead earlier this month.

The country’s science institute confirmed that two rocks found in the area were “ordinary chondrite” meteorites of high iron composition.

That sent off a rush of treasure hunters, looking for stones that can be sold to collectors for tens of thousands of dollars each.

The stones are believed to have come from the same chunk of space debris that exploded while entering Earth’s atmosphere on March 9.

The government says it will designate any meteorites found as cultural assets to stop them from being taken out of the country.

The meteorites from Jinu are the first to be discovered on the Korean Peninsula since one was found during the Japanese occupation 71 years ago.