Saturday, March 23, 2013

Are there more meteors?

Wow, there are a lot of meteors, bolides, and comets crossing the skies these days.

A meteor crossed the skies of the United States last night and was seen from New England to Florida.
"East Coast residents were buzzing on social media sites and elsewhere Friday night after a brief but bright flash of light streaked across the early-evening sky –in what experts say was almost certainly a meteor coming down. Bill Cooke of NASA’s Meteoroid Environmental Office said the flash appears to be “a single meteor event.” He said it “looks to be a fireball that moved roughly toward the southeast, going on visual reports.” “Judging from the brightness, we’re dealing with something as bright as the full moon,” Cooke said. “The thing is probably a yard across. We basically have (had) a boulder enter the atmosphere over the northeast.” He noted that the meteor was widely seen, with more than 350 reports on the website of the American Meteor Society (AMS) alone."

More at link.

Current data from AMS on recent meteor sightings

AMS Heat Map For March 22nd, 2013 Northeast Fireball

I wonder if there are more meteors. It seems like there are. But is that just because we have instant access to the internet, twitter, instagram, cell phones with video and photography abilities? Let's look at the data that the American Meteor Society has kept. The AMS keeps track of called-in sightings and verifies each one. "The American Meteor Society has published a statistical analysis of fireball events reported to the society since 2005. This report is not intended to be a conclusive study regarding the rates of fireball meteors, but simply a representation of the data logged by our systems. The article also includes an appendix of the most significant sonic boom producing bolide events reported to the society over the last 8 years." Here is their result--

Caption: "Not only are more reports being submitted , but also more unique events are being created. The following is a graph of unique fireball events registered by the AMS each year from January 2005 through February 27, 2013."
You can see that there have been equal or more sightings reported in the first two months of 2013 than in the entirety of each year between the years 2005-2009. You can also see that 2012 was a banner year for sightings.

In a different kind of celestial display, the comet panSTARRS is visible in the northern hemisphere. As it rides higher it fades but one can still see it with the naked eye! They call 2013 the Year of the Comets, as this headline from Space.com explains,

2013 May See Brightest Celestial Show in Years
"This year could be the "year of the comet," according to some astronomers keeping an eye on icy balls of gas and dust roaming through the solar system. Two comets will brighten the Northern Hemisphere in a potentially history-making fashion, with the first one coming into view this week." (March 7). ... Then, in November, the most anticipated comet of the year should come into view for stargazers. Comet ISON could be the brightest comet to grace the skies in memory."

Here is a photo going around in Facebook of PanSTARRS, the comet mentioned above coming into view starting March 7-


Below, Astronomy Photo of the Day (APOD): The broad dust tail of Comet PanSTARRS (C/2011 L4) has become a familiar sight for many northern hemisphere comet watchers, as the comet fades but rises higher above the western horizon after sunset. This view of the popular comet may seem a little fantastic, though. Sweeping away from the Sun and trailing behind the comet's orbit, the curving dust tail also seems to stream away from a shining mountaintop castle. Comet Castle might be an appropriate name in this scene, but its traditional name is Castle Hohenzollern. Taken on March 15 with an extreme telephoto lens, the Comet Castle image was captured in exceptionally clear skies about 80 kilometers away from Stuttgart, Germany."

The APOD comet pan-STARRS gallery is here if you want to see more photos.

With increasing interest in the increasing celestial displays, the question was asked as to what to do if a large asteroid was headed to earth and on collision course with NYC? The NASA guy said "pray."

Large asteroid heading to Earth? Pray, says NASA
"NASA chief Charles Bolden has advice on how to handle a large asteroid headed toward New York City: Pray."

"That's about all the United States - or anyone for that matter - could do at this point about unknown asteroids and meteors that may be on a collision course with Earth, Bolden told lawmakers at a U.S. House of Representatives Science Committee hearing on Tuesday. An asteroid estimated to be have been about 55 feet (17 meters) in diameter exploded on February 15 over Chelyabinsk, Russia, generating shock waves that shattered windows and damaged buildings. More than 1,500 people were injured."

"Later that day, a larger, unrelated asteroid discovered last year passed about 17,200 miles (27,681 km) from Earth, closer than the network of television and weather satellites that ring the planet. The events "serve as evidence that we live in an active solar system with potentially hazardous objects passing through our neighborhood with surprising frequency," said Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson, a Texas Democrat."

"We were fortunate that the events of last month were simply an interesting coincidence rather than a catastrophe," said Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican, who called the hearing to learn what is being done and how much money is needed to better protect the planet."

Yes, that's what is needed, money to protect the planet. Sigh.

These startling and sudden events do have people thinking though. First, it tells us in no uncertain terms that we are more vulnerable than we thought we were to spaceballs lobbed at us from afar. Second, though the NASA guy's answer to pray was undoubtedly off-hand, it does bespeak the adage that there are no atheists in foxholes. When we look around and there is no answer, look up.

God is in control of the cosmos and everything in it!

"To the LORD your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it." (Deuteronomy 10:14).

He orders the seasons. He named the stars. He set the planets on their courses. He said that as an indication of His soon return, He will alert us by showing us He rules the cosmos. In the Tribulation He will uncreate the cosmos as He created them in Genesis. Geneva bible states the timing in its discussion of the Luke 21:25 verse: "When the times have expired which are appointed for the salvation of the Gentiles and the punishment of the Jews:"

"sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up..." (Revelation 6:12-14).

"The third angel blew his trumpet, and a great star fell from heaven, blazing like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. The name of the star is Wormwood. (Revelation 8:10-11a)

"The fourth angel blew his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, and a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of their light might be darkened, and a third of the day might be kept from shining, and likewise a third of the night." (Revelation 8:12).

That one is the one that gets me. How will the scientists explain a THIRD of the sun going dark. Whether that means literally a third will be a black stripe, or a third as much of the sun's rays will shine, it will result in a third of night and a third of day. Only a God who controls the cosmos can do that.

Luke 21:25 sums it up, "And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves,"

There is no doubt that there are more meteors, historic and unprecedented solar and celestial activity, by the data and by their own words. There is no doubt that the LORD is in control of the cosmos, by His Own word. Therefore if there are more celestial anomalies and events  happening, it is the Lord's doing.

What it means I leave up to you to pray for wisdom to learn. But, keep looking up.

2 comments:

  1. interesting article. I believe there is an increase as the Lord's coming draws closer. The last thing I remember that was so significant was Hale-bop. I even video taped it.

    I sigh* also with people thinking money is the panacea. Jesus IS the Answer not money..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I remember Hale-Bopp as the last significant comet, too. That was 15 years ago, the guy in the article said. Time flies. But these days, it seems that there is a meteor, asteroid, near earth object, earth-directed solar emission, or mysterious boom every day!

      The money thing caught my eye too.

      Delete

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