Category Archives: News
Holy Tunguska flashback*! Early this morning a meteor entered the atmosphere above the Chelyabinsk region of Russia, disintegrating at altitude of
50-60 km (18-32 miles) 14-20 km (12-15 miles) and creating an explosion and shockwave that shattered glass and blew in doors across the area, injuring hundreds. The space rock is estimated to have weighed about 10 7,000 metric tons.
The meteor has been captured in many amateur videos that were quickly uploaded to YouTube — watch below and see more here.
Find out more about this event on Universe Today here.
*The 1908 Tunguska event was vastly more powerful than this. But still… rocks from space!
Yesterday I buried my father.
To be exact, yesterday was the funeral for my father. It was with military honors, as he served four years in the Navy during the Vietnam War, mostly aboard the heavy cruiser U.S.S. Newport News. Family and friends were in attendance, my younger brother as well as his older and younger brothers… rifles were fired, “Taps” was played and a flag was folded, which now sits on a shelf behind me as I write this. I exchanged my father in a box for that flag and a handful of empty rifle shells yesterday, December 13, 2012. He was 64 years old. Tomorrow would have been his 65th birthday.
He passed away at home sometime Sunday morning of heart failure, most likely brought on by a recent round of intensive chemotherapy. A diagnosis of acute myeloid leukemia forced him to retire in June, although he never really got to enjoy his time out of work as most of his days were spent either in hospitals or clinics or else maintaining a regimen of tongue-twisting medications too numerous to count and planning for an uncertain future — which, this week, became suddenly very much certain.
His few and brief “good days” were spent, however, with family and friends, and he did make sure to do things he liked (and was physically able) to do. I got the opportunity to share time with him, and actually that was part of the reason that I moved back to Rhode Island from Texas after eight years away. I realize that many people don’t get to spend that kind of “extra” time with their family members before death takes them away, and for that I’m glad. Still, it’s hard to know that from now on I’ll be referring to my father in the past tense.
Today, tens of thousands of people are gathering in northeastern Australia to witness one of the most amazing and dramatic astronomical events known: a total solar eclipse. At 2:39 p.m. EDT (19:39 UT) the Moon will begin to pass in front of the Sun for viewers around Cairns, Australia, leading up to a brief period of totality at 5:12 p.m. EDT (22:12 UT). At this time, the Sun will be completely blocked by the disk of the Moon, revealing the wispy strands of the Sun’s outer corona. It will be a spectacular view that’s possible at no other time, and will give scientists a chance to study some curious aspectsof the Sun’s atmosphere.
“On a scale of one to ten, a total solar eclipse is a MILLION.” – Fred Espenak, aka “Mr. Eclipse“
These days it seems exoplanets are being discovered nearly every week, with “super-Earths”, “hot Jupiters” and “cold Neptunes” being identified (or at least announced as solid candidates) within star systems all around our neck of the galaxy. To top it all off, today the European Southern Observatory announced that an Earth-mass world has now been found orbiting Alpha Centauri B — quite literally the “star next door.”
“You know, the world needs a hero… and today it got one.”
- Jonathan Clark, M.D., Red Bull Stratos Medical Director
Earlier today… this:
After years of preparation, two “practice” jumps and one aborted launch attempt due to uncooperative weather, extreme BASE jumper Felix Baumgartner successfully ascended to over 128,000 feet in a pressurized capsule and jumped, freefalling for 4 minutes and 20 seconds before opening his chute at 6,000 feet.
If like millions of people around the world you were watching the event live, you too can attest to the fact that it was, in a word, incredible.
UPDATE: Today is the second launch attempt for the Red Bull Stratos “Mission to the Edge of Space.”
Regardless if you would do it or not, today Red Bull Stratos BASE jumper Felix Baumgartner will ride a high-tech pressurized capsule into the stratosphere and jump out at 120,000 feet — 22 miles/36 km — becoming the highest, fastest freefaller in history. (Watch a simulation of Felix’s 700 mph supersonic fall here.)
At this time the weather at the Roswell, New Mexico launch site has pushed the launch time to 11:45 a.m. EDT due to winds at 700 feet, which is the height of their enormous launch balloon.
(Feed has been in and out… if it’s not working, you can also watch live on Discovery Channel on cable TV.)
NOTE: The launch is now slated for 9:45 a.m. MDT/11:45 p.m. EDT, still pending winds.
Image and video courtesy of Red Bull Stratos
This weekend the space shuttle Endeavour is on its way to the California Science Center, getting driven via Overland Transporter along 12 miles of Los Angeles roads at a more-or-less steady 2 mph. Hundreds of onlookers have gathered along the route to catch a glimpse of a real-life spaceship passing by just outside their front doors. Now that’s really not something you see every day!
The move from Los Angeles International Airport, where it landed atop a Boeing 747 on Sept. 1, has been dubbed Mission 26. Endeavour flew 25 missions, traveled 122,883,151 miles and orbited Earth 4,671 times since 1992.
All together, the move is expected to cost about $10 million. The exhibit is set to open Oct. 30.
LA’s NBC affiliate is broadcasting Endeavour’s road trip live here.
(Images via NBC4 LA live video)