Sunday, September 25, 2011

There will be no update tomorrow, Monday, 9/26.

UARS satellite falls somewhere off west coast of US - Where debris came down is "a bit of a mystery". Nasa says its six-tonne UARS satellite plunged to Earth over the Pacific Ocean, off the US west coast. It appears likely the decommissioned craft came down between 03:23 and 05:09 GMT - with a best estimate of 04:16. If correct, this means any debris that survived to the surface probably went into water and not on land.
The Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite is the largest American space agency satellite to return uncontrolled into the atmosphere in about 30 years. The fall to Earth was monitored by the Joint Space Operations Center at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Its best estimate for the timing of the re-entry would have seen UARS come in at a point located at 31 degrees North latitude and 219 degrees East longitude - well out into the North Pacific. However, if UARS re-entered many minutes after 04:16, it is possible debris could have reached the American landmass.
There were some unconfirmed reports of glowing wreckage moving across the sky in western Canada, but Nasa said it had yet to receive credible evidence that this was so, less still that any debris items had been found. "Obviously, we're going to continue to keep our eyes and ears open, and if we receive any reports like that we'll try to go verify." Most of the 20-year-old satellite should simply have burnt up on re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere, but modelling work indicated perhaps 500kg could have survived to the surface.
Calculations estimated this material would have been scattered over an 800km path. Nonetheless, with more than 70% of the Earth's surface covered by water, many experts had offered the view in recent weeks that an ocean grave was going to be the most probable outcome for UARS. "Because we don't know where the re-entry point actually was, we don't know where the debris field might be. If the re-entry point was at the time that JSPOC has its best guess of 04:16 GMT then all that debris wound up in the Pacific Ocean."
In the past few days, Nasa had warned members of the public not to touch any pieces of the spacecraft that might survive the fall to land, urging them to contact local law enforcement authorities instead. "I've seen some things that have re-entered and they tend to have sharp edges, so there's a little concern that they might hurt themselves if they try to pick them up." Tracking stations will typically witness the uncontrolled return of at least one piece of space debris every day; and on average, one intact defunct spacecraft or old rocket body will come back into the atmosphere every week. Something the size of UARS is seen perhaps once a year. Much larger objects such as space station cargo ships return from orbit several times a year, but they are equipped with thrusters capable of guiding their dive into a remote part of the Southern Ocean.

**Time spent laughing is time spent with the gods.**
Japanese Proverb

This morning -

Yesterday -
9/24/11 -

9/23/11 -

INDIA - Fearing fresh tremors and landslides, hundreds of people in quake-hit remote areas of Sikkim started moving out of their villages as rescue teams airlifted 22 stranded engineers and with the death toll in last Sunday's 6.8 devastating temblor rising to 118.


ICELAND - New Quakes Rattle Glacier Covering Katla Volcano. An earthquake measuring just below three points on the Richter scale was picked up by sensors north of Godabunga in Mýrdalsjökull glacier in south Iceland, which covers the volcano Katla.

No current tropical storms.
In the Atlantic -
-Tropical storm Ophelia was located about 310 mi. (495 km) E of the northern Leeward Islands. There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect.

-Tropical storm Philippe was located about 370 mi. (595 km) SW of the southernmost Cape Verde Islands. Philippe could become a hurricane by late Monday. There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect.

In the Pacific -
-Category 4 Hurricane Hilary was located about 425 mi. (685 km) SSE of the southern tip of Baja California.
There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect.

-Typhoon 20w (Nesat) was located approximately 560 nm east of Manila, Philippines.

-Tropical Storm 21w (Haitang) was located approximately 280 nm east of Hue, Vietnam.

Tropical Storm Ophelia re-strengthened Friday as it headed across the Atlantic Ocean and took aim at the Caribbean. Ophelia was expected to start weakening again by Saturday night.

Tropical Storm Philippe has formed over the far eastern Atlantic, about 550 miles southwest of the Cape Verde Islands.

Hurricane Hilary blamed for 3 deaths in Mexico.

PHILIPPINES - 'Pedring' intensifies, threatens north Luzon. Tropical cyclone “Pedring" (international code name Nesat) intensified slightly and accelerated Sunday, with state weather forecasters indicating it may intensify into a typhoon before making landfall in Northern Luzon later this week.


First Irish case of death by spontaneous combustion - A man who burned to death in his home died as a result of spontaneous combustion, an Irish coroner has ruled. The West Galway coroner said it was the first time in 25 years of investigating deaths that he had recorded such a verdict. Michael Faherty, 76, died at his home in Galway on 22 December 2010.
Deaths attributed by some to "spontaneous combustion" occur when a living human body is burned without an apparent external source of ignition. Typically police or fire investigators find burned corpses but no burned furniture. Investigators had been baffled as to the cause of Mr Faherty's death at his home at Clareview Park, Ballybane. Forensic experts found that a fire in the fireplace of the sitting room where the badly burnt body was found, had not been the cause of the blaze that killed Mr Faherty. The court was told that no trace of an accelerant had been found and there had been nothing to suggest foul play. He had been found lying on his back with his head closest to an open fireplace. The fire had been confined to the sitting room. The only damage was to the body, which was totally burnt, the ceiling above him and the floor underneath him.
A book on forensic pathology had written about spontaneous combustion and noted that such reported cases were almost always near an open fireplace or chimney. "This fire was thoroughly investigated and I'm left with the conclusion that this fits into the category of spontaneous human combustion, for which there is no adequate explanation."
A retired professor of pathology said he had examined one suspected case in his career. He said he would not use the term spontaneous combustion, as there had to be some source of ignition, possibly a lit match or cigarette. "There is a source of ignition somewhere, but because the body is so badly destroyed the source can't be found." The circumstances in the Galway case were very similar to other possible cases. "This is the picture which is described time and time again. Even the most experienced rescue worker or forensic scientist takes a sharp intake of breath (when they come across the scene)."