Kepler habitable

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

'Doomsday' Comet Elenin may be disintegrating - National Space news |

Much has been made of Comet Elenin on the Internet, namely a giant production about how the comet may just be on a collision course with Earth, just in time for 2012. Well, for anyone starting to get nervous, don't, as it is an established fact that Comet Elenin will not come all that close to earth, missing us by several million miles. However, doomsday aside, the comet is in the news again as it may actually be disintegrating.

Every night, astronomers, mostly amateurs, are monitoring and photographing the comet. In the past few days, some strange things have been taking place in regards to this cosmic visitor from the distant reaches of the solar system. So, what's been going on in space? To start with, the comet has dramatically dropped in brightness. Another, more telling sign: the comet's coma has elongated, which may hint at a disintegrating nucleus.

And all of it has been chronicled online.


On the Southern Comets website, webmaster Michael Mattiazzo has been chronicling the comet's appearance through photographs, which appear on his main homepage, just scroll about a quarter of the way down to get to the Elenin section. Obviously, it does not require a degree in astrophysics to see that the comet is indeed changing, with the elongated coma being the most obvious difference between the new and older images.

While not conclusive proof of anything, Mattiazzo has gone so far to say that the comet is breaking up and, in all probability, won't survive a close passage to the Sun, which is going to take place in early September.

Want to see the comet before it breaks apart? Well, you'll have to move to the Southern Hemisphere to do so as the comet is currently invisible from Cleveland's Northern half of the Earth. If the comet does survive perihelion (close approach to the Sun), it will appear in the Northern Hemisphere's morning sky come the very end of September. Unfortunately, this does not appear likely thanks to the latest observations.

Want to hear about a comet that you can see from Cleveland? Well, there's Comet Garradd, which is very well placed for early evening viewing right now.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

DC / Virginia Earthquake Aftermath - YouTube

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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Flooding in North Carolina Video

Flash floods ripped through Charlotte, N.C., on Friday, damaging roofs, tearing down sheds and leaving two people dead. Then the water receded almost as quickly as it rose.

One victim was identified as Gracie Nell Johnson, 43, who the police said ran into a creek after fleeing a Burlington Coat Factory store, where she had been trying to shoplift. Ms. Johnson’s body was found Friday. The police said a second person ran into the creek at the same time.

The police confirmed a second death on Saturday, but the identity was not released pending notification of the family.

WCNC-TV in Charlotte aired this report on Friday about Ms. Johnson, showing the store the police say she fled and the creek where she drowned. The video also interviews a man identified as her husband and reports that the second drowning victim was the couple’s daughter. Officials would not confirm that assertion, nor would they say whether the victim found Saturday was the person who went missing with Ms. Johnson.


Mark Basnight, a spokesman for the Charlotte Fire Department, said that the city received as much as four inches of rain on Friday, and that his department responded to more than 30 calls for rescues in a four-hour period from people stranded in homes and cars. Several neighborhoods were also evacuated. The American Red Cross said in a statement that at least 80 houses had been damaged, and that the number was expected to grow.

“The Charlotte-Mecklenburg area is prone to flash floods the way the Southwest is prone to wild land fires,” Mr. Basnight said. “Especially in the urban areas.”

This report from WBTV-TV, a CBS affiliate in Charlotte, shows people wading through water that is above waist level and shows cars struggling through what look like murky rivers.

This video, which WCNC says was recorded on a cellphone by a man named Erik Slemon, shows water pouring through the ceiling of the Embassy Suites hotel where Mr. Slemon and his father, Allan Goldberg, were staying. Water streams over furniture and a television, and onto the floor, until a piece of the ceiling comes crashing down. WCNC said that no one was injured at the hotel.