Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Two asteroids to whiz closely past Earth today - Two small asteroids discovered just days ago will zip harmlessly past Earth today, a double flyby that should be visible through a telescope. The asteroids were discovered on Sunday by the NASA-funded Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona. Asteroid 2010 RX30, thought to be 10 to 20 metres long, will pass within 248,000km of Earth shortly before 8pm (AEST) today [just over half the distance to the moon away]. The second one, dubbed 2010 RF12, will fly by about 11 hours later at a distance of about 79,000km [one fifth of the distance to the moon]. NASA says the second one is 6-14 metres long. Although both are coming inside the orbit of the Moon, there is no danger of impact.

**Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?**
Abraham Lincoln

This morning -
None 5.0 or higher.

Yesterday -
9/7/10 -

NEW ZEALAND - Christchurch shaken by severe aftershock. The New Zealand city of Christchurch has suffered its most damaging aftershock since a powerful earthquake at the weekend. The 5.1 magnitude tremor cut power, further damaged buildings and sent frightened residents into the streets. Regular aftershocks have hit the area since Saturday's 7.1 quake, but this one was more damaging because of its shallow depth. "It was a devastatingly, vicious sharp blow to the city. This was a terrifying moment. We have just had to evacuate our Civil Defence headquarters. We have got staff in tears, we have got fire engines going through the middle of the city, power is out and a lot of people are very, very churned up by that." The aftershock was described as "sharp and very sudden". "It was vertical rather than side to side like the first one. If you were in a car the road moved up and down." It was centred 10km south-east of Christchurch at a depth of 6km. New Zealand's ministry of civil defence has warned that an aftershock of up to 6.0 magnitude is possible in the next few days. Saturday's earthquake caused widespread structural damage, but there were no fatalities. Some of Christchurch's most historic buildings have been damaged beyond repair and are to be pulled down. More than 100 aftershocks have rocked the area since Saturday.


CHILE - The Planchon volcano, on the border between Argentina and Chile, started erupting in the last few days, spewing pyroclastic material and gases. The plume Monrday reached as high as 1.2 kilometer (0.75 mile) above the crater. The volcano, 196 kilometers south of Santiago, has had a permanent plume of smoke for several years. The geology service described the eruption as “minor.” Geologists plan to fly over the area. An erupting volcano in 2008 forced residents to abandon the Chilean town of Chaiten.

INDONESIA - Sinabung volcano erupted again Tuesday in northern Sumatra, triggering strong tremors and sending bursts of hot ash into the air for the second time in a week. "Residents heard loud rumbles and a strong quake for around four minutes" when Sinabung volcano erupted about 12:24 a.m. Tuesday. "This was the biggest eruption to date." The Sinabung volcano erupted for the first time in four centuries on August 29, forcing the evacuation of villagers who live within 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) of the volcano's crater. (photo)

Tropical depression 11W was 247 nmi SSW of Taipei, Taiwa.
Tropical depression HERMINE was 280 nmi WNW of Galveston, Texas.
Tropical storm MALOU was 241 nmi NNE of Kagoshima, Japan.

Tropical Storm Malou approached the Japanese coast north of Kyoto, bringing heavy rain and winds of 74 kilometers (46 miles) per hour.


COLUMBIA - 9/5/10 - A "giant fireball" that fell from the sky in the Santander department, central Colombia, was a meteorite. The Colombian media has been buzzing with eye witness accounts of the fireball, which caused a massive explosion at 3:15PM local time Sunday.The meteorite left a crater 100 meters in diameter when it crashed into the earth in the San Joaquin municipality in Santander. Colombian air force helicopters were commissioned to fly over the area to try to locate the source of the explosion. In rural areas of Santander, police received reports that the explosion had shattered windows in the area. (photo)

IRELAND - 9/1/10 - The search is on in Northern Ireland and the Republic for a meteorite that could be worth more than its weight in gold. A fireball blazed across the night sky last Wednesday, leading astronomy experts to believe it came down somewhere on the island of Ireland. The discovery of a meteorite would be VERY RARE - only three meteorites have been found in Ireland in the past 200 years. A meteorite was last found in Ireland in 1999 when a Carlow woman found a handful of shattered meteorite pieces on a country lane near Leighlin Bridge. Astronomy Ireland says its switchboard has been jammed with calls from members of the public who had witnessed the meteor shower. It says it should be able to pinpoint its general location within a week. "The meteorite will stand out because it has a burnt, smooth exterior. "People can pick it up. There is no kryptonite or any crazy substance that would poison or radiate a person." The group is urging those who saw the latest shower to visit and fill in a Fireball Report Form to allow experts trace its path and identify possible landing sites.