Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Comet Elenin (C/2010 X1), widely known from inaccurate reports that it was a threat to Earth, appears to be breaking apart. Observations show a rapid dimming and elongation of the comet's nucleus akin to that of Comet LINEAR (C/1999 S4), which also disintegrated when it approached the sun in 2000. Comets are fragile objects, so this development, while unexpected, comes as no surprise.

**Star light, star bright,
The first star I see tonight,
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Have the wish I wish tonight.**
Nursery ryhme

This morning -

Yesterday -
8/29/11 -

Multiple Virginia Quake Aftershocks - The region continues to feel the effects of last week's quake. Since Sunday, the U.S. Geological Survey recorded 5 aftershocks in the area. The strongest of the tremors happened at 11:16 p.m. Sunday evening, registering 2.7 in magnitude. There have been no reports of significant damage. Four of the aftershocks were epicentered near Louisa. The first, a magnitude 2.2, occurred at 4:18 p.m. Sunday. It was followed by a magnitude 2.3 aftershock at 9:06 p.m. Sunday, a 2.0 magnitude aftershock at 11:15 p.m. Sunday and another two minutes later was the one of 2.7 magnitude. A fifth aftershock occurred at 12:19 a.m. Monday 7 miles south of Mineral, the epicenter of last Tuesday's 5.8 magnitude earthquake. The quake was THE STRONGEST IN VIRGINIA SINCE THE 19TH CENTURY. Because of the nature of the East Coast's plate tectonics, quakes are less common than on the West Coast but are felt across a much larger area. Virginia and the surrounding region could continue to feel aftershocks for weeks.


Mount Etna's eruption intensifies a week after the volcano sprang back to life - Mount Etna is spewing out ash and shooting spectacular bursts of lava high into the air as the eruption on the island of Sicily intensifies. This event generated tall lava fountains and an eruption column that caused ash falls in the southeast sector of the volcano, as well as various lava flows down the western slope of the Valle del Bove.

RUSSIA - Ash forces air traffic reroute. Ash thrown kilometres into the sky by an increasingly active volcano in a remote Russian Pacific coast territory has forced a reroute of international air traffic, government officials said on Monday.

-Tropical Depression Twelve was located about 460 mi...740 km SW of the southernmost Cape Verde Islands.
Could become a tropical storm tonight over the far eastern tropical Atlantic.

- Tropical storm 14w (Nanmadol) was located approximately 150 nm west-southwest of Taipei, Taiwan.

-Tropical storm 15w (Talas) was located approximately 625 nm south of Tokyo, Japan.

Tropical Storm Nanmadol is heading towards China after leaving a trail of destruction in Taiwan and killing 16 people in the Philippines. Nanmadol was expected to make landfall in the south-eastern province of Fujian this afternoon, bringing heavy rains to the region. Although Nanmadol was downgraded to a tropical storm from a typhoon yesterday after making landfall in Taiwan, it was still packing winds of 80km/h. Fujian province recalled more than 44,000 boats carrying over 119,000 fisherman to harbour.
The province had also suspended shipping services and warned that bullet train services might be slowed or halted.
Yesterday, Taiwan deployed more than 50,000 troops and evacuated thousands of people as Nanmadol pummelled some of the island's most densely populated areas in the island's worst typhoon since 2009. A motorcyclist was killed by falling glass in northern Taiwan after strong winds smashed a window, while landslides trapped more than 300 people in a remote village. In the Philippines, more than 61,000 people were evacuated after Nanmadol lashed the northern edge of the main island of Luzon at the weekend, causing landslides and floods. Most of the 16 killed were buried in landslides.

Death toll from Hurricane Irene keeps rising - The number of people killed by Post-Tropical Cyclone Irene hits 40, as authorities warn flooding may continue for days in some US states.
Swaths of the Northeast still submerged under water face an arduous recovery as hundreds of homes remain clogged with mud and crushed roads isolate deluged communities.

A tropical depression far out in the Atlantic is forecast to become a hurricane this week, but it's too early to know if it'll strike the U.S. or anywhere else. The new depression is forecast to become Tropical Storm Katia early today. The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said Monday the depression south of the Cape Verde Islands could reach hurricane strength Thursday, still far out in the Atlantic.


El Nino doubles risk of civil war in tropics - A new study makes a direct connection between the frequency of civil war in tropical countries, and extreme weather patterns. The study suggests the risk of major violence doubles during El Nino.


Bird flu fear as mutant strain hits China and Vietnam - Avian flu shows signs of a resurgence, while a mutant strain - able to sidestep vaccines - could be spreading in Asia, the United Nations has warned. The variant appeared in Vietnam and China and its risk to humans cannot be predicted. Virus circulation in Vietnam threatens Thailand, Malaysia and Cambodia, where eight people have died after becoming infected this year, they warned. The World Health Organization says bird flu has killed 331 people since 2003. It has also killed or provoked the culling of more than 400 million domestic poultry worldwide and caused an estimated $20 billion of economic damage.
The virus had been eliminated from most of the 63 countries infected at its 2006 peak, which saw 4,000 outbreaks across the globe, but remains endemic in Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia and Vietnam. And the number of cases has been rising again since 2008, apparently because of migratory bird movements.
"Wild birds may introduce the virus, but people's actions in poultry production and marketing spread it." Avian flu has in the past two years appeared in poultry or wild birds in countries that had been virus-free for several years: Israel and the Palestinian Territories, Bulgaria, Romania, Nepal and Mongolia are among those recently affected. The new strain has infected most parts of northern and central Vietnam and could also pose a risk to Japan and the Korean peninsula. South Korea began culling hundreds of thousands of chickens and ducks in December last year after confirming its first cases since 2008. The FAO is calling for countries to adopt "heightened readiness and surveillance" against a resurgence of the virus.