Wednesday, June 24, 2009



Saturday, June 13, 2009

Another dire warning for 2012

Michio Kaku, a somewhat regular on Coast to Coast A.M., especially duriing the Art Bell years, appears on Fox News, predicting a cataclysmic event coming in the year 2012. Go figure! Don't worry, though, he's not some religious nut. He's not a tin-foil-hat kind of guy. No, he's a highly respected theoretical physicist. Or in other words, he's another college professor that has all of the answers.

Friday, June 12, 2009


A meteor (possibly two) and Milky way.

The current official definition of a meteoroid from the International Astronomical Union is "a solid object moving in interplanetary space, of a size considerably smaller than an asteroid and considerably larger than an atom."[1] The Royal Astronomical Society has proposed a new definition where a meteoroid is between 100 µm and 10 m across.[2] The NEO definition includes larger objects, up to 50 m in diameter, in this category. Very small meteoroids are known as micrometeoroids (see also interplanetary dust).

The composition of meteoroids can be determined as they pass through Earth's atmosphere from their trajectory and the light spectra of the resulting meteor. Their effects on radio signals also yield information, especially useful for daytime meteors which are otherwise very difficult to observe. From these trajectory measurements, meteoroids have been found to have many different orbits, some clustering in streams (see Meteor showers) often associated with a parent comet, others apparently sporadic. The light spectra, combined with trajectory and light curve measurements, have yielded various compositions and densities, ranging from fragile snowball-like objects with density about a quarter that of ice,[3] to nickel-iron rich dense rocks. A relatively small percentage of meteoroids hit the Earth's atmosphere and then pass out again: these are termed Earth-grazing fireballs. Millions of meteors occur in the Earth's atmosphere every day. Most meteoroids that cause meteors are about the size of a pebble. They become visible between about 40 and 75 miles (65 and 120 kilometers) above the earth. They disintegrate at altitudes of 30 to 60 miles (50 to 95 kilometers).

Meteoroids travel around the sun in a variety of orbits and at various velocities. The fastest ones move at about 26 miles per second (42 kilometers per second). The earth travels at about 18 miles per second (29 kilometers per second). Thus, when meteoroids meet the Earth's atmosphere head-on, the combined speed may reach about 44 miles per second (71 kilometers per second).

Comet 17P/Holmes and Geminid.

A meteor is the visible streak of light that occurs when a meteoroid enters the Earth's atmosphere. Meteors typically occur in the mesosphere, and most range in altitude from 75 km to 100 km.

For bodies with a size scale larger than the atmospheric mean free path (10 cm to several metres)[clarification needed] the visibility is due to the air friction that heats the meteoroid so that it glows and creates a shining trail of gases and melted meteoroid particles. The gases include vaporized meteoroid material and atmospheric gases that heat up when the meteoroid passes through the atmosphere. Most meteors glow for about a second.

Meteors may occur in showers, which arise when the Earth passes through a trail of debris left by a comet, or as "random" or "sporadic" meteors, not associated with a specific single cause.


A fireball is a brighter-than-usual meteor. The International Astronomical Union defines a fireball as "a meteor brighter than any of the planets" (magnitude -4 or greater).[5] The International Meteor Organization (an amateur organization that studies meteors) has a more rigid definition. It defines a fireball as a meteor that would have a magnitude of -3 or brighter if seen at zenith. This definition corrects for the greater distance between an observer and a meteor near the horizon. For example, a meteor of magnitude -1 at 5 degrees above the horizon would be classified as a fireball because if the observer had been directly below the meteor it would have appeared as magnitude -6.

For the Swedish guided missile BOLIDE, see RBS 70.

The word bolide comes from the Greek βολις, (bolis) which can mean a missile or to flash. The IAU has no official definition of bolide and generally considers the term synonymous with fireball. The term is more often used among geologists than astronomers where it means a very large impactor. For example, the USGS uses the term to mean a generic large crater-forming projectile "to imply that we do not know the precise nature of the impacting body ... whether it is a rocky or metallic asteroid, or an icy comet, for example".[7] Astronomers tend to use the term to mean an exceptionally bright fireball, particularly one that explodes (sometimes called a detonating fireball).

Main article: meteorite

A meteorite is a portion of a meteoroid or asteroid that survives its passage through the atmosphere and impact with the ground without being destroyed.[8] Meteorites are sometimes, but not always, found in association with hypervelocity impact craters; during energetic collisions, the entire impactor may be vaporized, leaving no meteorites.

Main article: tektite
Two tektites.

Molten terrestrial material "splashed" from a meteorite impact crater can cool and solidify into an object known as a tektite. These are often mistaken for meteorites.

Meteoric dust

Most meteoroids are destroyed when they enter the atmosphere. The left-over debris is called meteoric dust or just meteor dust. Meteor dust particles can persist in the atmosphere for up to several months. These particles might affect climate, both by scattering electromagnetic radiation and by catalyzing chemical reactions in the upper atmosphere.

Ionization trails

During the entry of a meteoroid or asteroid into the upper atmosphere, an ionization trail is created, where the molecules in the upper atmosphere are ionized by the passage of the meteor. Such ionization trails can last up to 45 minutes at a time. Small, sand-grain sized meteoroids are entering the atmosphere constantly, essentially every few seconds in a given region,[clarification needed] and thus ionization trails can be found in the upper atmosphere more or less continuously. When radio waves are bounced off these trails, it is called meteor burst communications.

Meteor radars can measure atmospheric density and winds by measuring the decay rate and Doppler shift of a meteor trail.


Numerous people have over the years reported sounds being heard while bright meteors flared overhead. This would seem impossible, given the relatively slow speed of sound. Any sound generated by a meteor in the upper atmosphere, such as a sonic boom, should not be heard until many seconds after the meteor disappeared. However, in certain instances, for example during the Leonid meteor shower of 2001, several people reported sounds described as "crackling", "swishing", or "hissing"[10] occurring at the same instant as a meteor flare. Similar sounds have also been reported during intense displays of Earth's auroras.

Many investigators believe the sounds to be imaginary — essentially sound effects added by the mind to go along with a light show. However, the persistence and consistency of the reports have caused others to wonder. Sound recordings made under controlled conditions in Mongolia in 1998 by a team led by Slaven Garaj, a physicist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology at Lausanne, support the contention that the sounds are real.

How these sounds could be generated, assuming they are in fact real, remains something of a mystery. It has been hypothesized that the turbulent ionized wake of a meteor interacts with the magnetic field of the Earth, generating pulses of radio waves. As the trail dissipates, megawatts of electromagnetic energy could be released, with a peak in the power spectrum at audio frequencies. Physical vibrations induced by the electromagnetic impulses would then be heard if they are powerful enough to make grasses, plants, eyeglass frames, and other conductive materials vibrate. This proposed mechanism, although proven to be plausible by laboratory work, remains unsupported by corresponding measurements in the field.


Meteoroids orbit around the Sun, in greatly differing orbits. Some orbit together in streams; these are probably comet remnants that would form a meteor shower. Debris from these trails may eventually be scattered into other orbits. Other meteoroids are not associated with any stream clustering (although there must also be meteoroids clustered in orbits which do not intersect the path of Earth or any other planet).

The fastest objects travel at roughly 42 kilometers per second (26 miles per second) through space in the vicinity of Earth's orbit. Together with the Earth's orbital motion of 29 km/s (18 miles per second), collision speeds can reach 71 km/s (44 miles per second) during head-on collisions. This would only occur if the meteor were in a retrograde orbit. Meteors have roughly a fifty percent chance of a daylight (or near daylight) collision with the Earth as the Earth orbits in the direction of roughly west at noon. Most meteors are, however, observed at night as low light conditions allow fainter meteors to be observed.

A number of specific meteors have been observed, largely by members of the public and largely by accident, but with enough detail that orbits of the incoming meteors or meteorites have been calculated. All of them came from orbits from the vicinity of the asteroid belt.

Notable meteors

Perhaps the best-known meteor/meteorite fall is the Peekskill Meteorite which was filmed on October 9, 1992 by at least 16 independent videographers.

Eyewitness accounts indicate that the fireball entry of the Peekskill meteorite started over West Virginia at 23:48 UT (±1 min). The fireball, which traveled in a northeasterly direction had a pronounced greenish colour, and attained an estimated peak visual magnitude of -13. During a luminous flight time that exceeded 40 seconds the fireball covered a ground path of some 700 to 800 km.
One meteorite recovered at Peekskill, N.Y., for which the event and object gained its name, (at 41.28 deg. N, 81.92 deg. W) had a mass of 12.4 kg (27 lb) and was subsequently identified as an H6 monomict breccia meteorite.[18] The video record suggests that the Peekskill meteorite probably had several companions over a wide area especially in the harsh terrain in the vicinity of Peekskill.


Although shooting stars have been known since ancient times, they were not known to be an astronomical phenomenon until early in the 19th century. Prior to that, they were seen in the West as an atmospheric phenomenon, like lightning, and were not connected with strange stories of rocks falling from the sky. Thomas Jefferson wrote "I would more easily believe that (a) Yankee professor would lie than that stones would fall from heaven."[19] He was referring to Yale chemistry professor Benjamin Silliman' investigation of an 1807 meteorite that fell in Weston, Connecticut.[19] Silliman believed the meteor had a cosmic origin, but meteors did not attract much attention from astronomers until the spectacular meteor storm of November 1833.[20] People all across the Eastern US saw thousands of meteors, radiating from a single point in the sky. Astute observers noticed that the radiant, as the point is now called, moved with the stars, staying in the constellation Leo.

The astronomer Denison Olmsted made an extensive study of this storm, and concluded it had a cosmic origin. After reviewing historical records, Heinrich Wilhelm Matthias Olbers predicted its return in 1867, which drew the attention of other astronomers. Hubert A. Newton's more thorough historical work led to a refined prediction of 1866, which proved to be correct.[20] With Giovanni Schiaparelli's success in connecting the Leonids (as they are now called) with comet Tempel-Tuttle, the cosmic origin of meteors was now firmly established. Still, they remain an atmospheric phenomenon, and retain their name "meteor" from the Greek word for "atmospheric."

Aerosmith - I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing

Armageddon is a 1998 disaster/science fiction-action film about a group of blue-collar deep-core drillers who are sent by NASA to stop an Asteroid on a collision course with the Earth. It was directed by Michael Bay, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and released on Disney's Touchstone Pictures label. It stars Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton, Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler and Michael Clarke Duncan.

Armageddon arrived in theatres only two and a half months after a similar impact-based movie, Deep Impact, which starred Morgan Freeman. Astronomers described Deep Impact as being more scientifically accurate,[2] and it was better received by critics[3] [4], but Armageddon fared better at the box office.[5]

Due to a fire that destroyed the master print of the film, if Armageddon was scheduled to be released in Blu-Ray, it would have to be remastered.

After several meteoroids destroy the Space Shuttle Atlantis and bombard New York City, NASA discovers that an asteroid the size of Texas is on a direct collision course with Earth and will likely wipe out all life on the Earth and destroy the planet. It is not publicly revealed that it will hit the Earth within 18 days. The scientists at NASA devise a plan to activate a nuclear bomb at a precise point under the asteroid's surface which will split it in two and cause it to miss the Earth. NASA locates the best oil driller on the planet, Harry Stamper, to get advice. Harry and Grace (Liv Tyler), his daughter, are taken to NASA and Dan Truman (Billy Bob Thornton), the head of NASA, informs him of the situation. Harry immediately recognizes that he and his crew must accompany the astronauts on the mission to ensure the job is done properly. After Harry's crew is collected from across the country and NASA acquiesces to their demands, they are put through a training program and outfit a drilling rig with the proper equipment for the job.

When a meteorite strikes Shanghai, China, destroying the city and causing a tsunami, around 50,000 people die. At this point, the pending mission is revealed to the world. Two specially designed military shuttles, Freedom and Independence are launched simultaneously and shortly dock at a Russian space station (crewed by Lev Andropov) to refuel. AJ encounters a problem stopping the pumps after the ships tanks are full and the station explodes. The crews and Lev Andropov escape. The two shuttles perform a high G-force slingshot procedure around the Moon to land on the backside of the asteroid. However, as they enter the trailing debris of the asteroid, the Independence is struck and crash lands on the asteroid. The Freedom manages to land on the surface but misses the target landing zone. They land on an area of hard iron which will be difficult to drill through. The Freedom team try to drill but suffer several setbacks and losses due to the unexpected conditions. It is revealed that if the deadline is missed, Colonel Sharpe would activate the nuclear device on the surface. However, a surface explosion would not be sufficient to divert the asteroid from hitting the Earth. Harry is able to convince Colonel Sharpe to help them attempt to finish the job. During this time, another meteorite wipes out much of Paris, France.

All seems lost when their drilling machine is blasted off the asteroid by a gas vent, but the Freedom crew learns that the other team managed to survive the crash thanks to Lev Andropov and have driven the second drilling machine to the drilling site. Harry puts AJ in charge of finishing the drilling and they successfully drill to the necessary depth. The team lowers the bomb into the hole, but find that they can not detonate remotely after a rock storm damages the bomb's trigger, as well as killing one of the crew members. Truman tells the team that someone is going to have to stay behind to activate the bomb to destroy the asteroid. AJ is picked to detonate the bomb remotely after drawing straws, but Harry disables his air supply and takes his place. As the shuttle prepares to depart, Harry sends a final message to his daughter and gives his full support for her to marry AJ. Harry manages to activate the bomb moments before the critical deadline, and the asteroid halves successfully miss the Earth. The remaining crew of the Freedom return to Earth as heroes, AJ reuniting tearfully with Grace while the others are met by their loved ones. Grace and AJ soon marry, while Harry and their lost crew members are memorialized.


* William Fichtner- Colonel Willie Sharp: Pilot of shuttle Freedom.
* Jessica Steen- Jennifer Watts: Co-pilot of shuttle Freedom.
* Grayson McCouch- Gruber: Munitions specialist of shuttle Freedom, killed during rock storm when his helmet's face-plate is smashed open.
* Bruce Willis- Harry Stamper: Protagonist and leader of shuttle Freedom drill team, killed when he stays back to detonate the bomb in order to destroy the asteroid.
* Will Patton- Charles Chapple (Chick): Harry's best friend and drill team member of shuttle Freedom.
* Ken Hudson Campbell- Max Lennert: Operator of the armadillo, killed when during drilling a gas pocket is released sending the armadillo into outer space with Max inside.
* Steve Buscemi- Rockhound: Geologist of shuttle Freedom.


* Marshall Teague- Colonel Davis: Pilot of shuttle Independence, killed when window of shuttle is broken by space debris and is sucked out of the cockpit.
* Anthony Guidera- Tucker: Co-pilot of shuttle Independence, also killed when window of shuttle breaks.
* Greg Collins- Lt. Halsey: Munitions specialist of shuttle Independence, killed during crash of Independence.
* Ben Affleck- A.J. Frost: leader of shuttle Independence drill team and Grace's love interest.
* Clark Heathcliffe Brolly- Freddy Noonan: member of shuttle Independence drill team, killed during the crash of the Independence.
* Michael Clarke Duncan- Jayotis "Bear" Kurleenbear: Operator of the armadillo for shuttle Independence.
* Owen Wilson- Oscar Choice: Geologist of shuttle Independence, killed during Independence crash due to space debris breaking his visor and striking his face.
* Peter Stormare- Lev Andropov: Russian Cosmonaut who joined the Independence crew after the Russian space station exploded.

Aerosmith - I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing

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