NASA said a “fireball” meteor was seen up and down the East Coast Friday night, and it landed safely in the Atlantic Ocean.
See anything strange in the sky on Friday night?
You weren’t the only one. A bright streak of light was seen by people across Long Island around 8 p.m. on Friday - a light show bright enough to be seen from most of the East coast. The Huffington Post has received accounts of the flash by people from South Carolina to Connecticut - all of who got an eyeful of what was called a “single meteor event” by Bill Cooke of NASA’s Meteoroid Environmental Office.
In an interview with the Associated Press, chief astronomer Derrick Pitts of the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia believes the phenomenon to be a meteor or “space rock” due to accounts by witnesses.
In the clearest skies, the meteor was visible for roughly 40 seconds. According to Cooke, the meteor entered the atmosphere over Eastern Pennsylvania, and looked like a “fireball,” meaning that it was a meteor that appears brighter than others - even brighter than the planet Venus.
“Judging from the brightness, we’re dealing with something as bright as the full moon,” said Cooke. “The thing is probably a yard across. We basically have (had) a boulder enter the atmosphere over the northeast.”
The rocky object that wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago may have been a comet, rather than an asteroid, scientists say.
The 112-mile (180 kilometers) Chicxulub crater in Mexico was made by the impact that caused the extinction of dinosaurs and about 70 percent of all species on Earth, many scientists believe. A new study suggests the crater was probably blasted out by a faster, smaller object than previously thought, according to research presented this week at the 44th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in The Woodlands, Texas.
Evidence of the space rock’s impact comes from a worldwide layer of sediments containing high levels of the element iridium, dubbed the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) boundary, which could not have occurred on Earth naturally.
The new research suggests the often-cited iridium values are incorrect, however. The scientists compared these values with levels of osmium, another element delivered by the impact.
The close flyby of Earth by asteroid 2012 DA14 on Friday (Feb. 15) could trigger a quake on the space rock, scientists say.
“We are going to be looking closely for evidence of seismic activity on 2014 DA14 as it passes by,” Richard Binzel, a professor of planetary science at MIT, said in a statement. “This is the first case of an object coming close enough to experience quakes and where we have enough notice to plan observations.”
During the unprecedented close approach, 2012 DA14, which is about half the size of a football field, will cruise within 17,200 miles (27,700 kilometers) of the planet. It poses no threat to Earth, but the flyby marks the first time scientists like Binzel have had the chance to observe such a big space rock this close-up.
A 300 metre-wide asteroid is making a close pass to the Earth.
Apophis - named after the Egyptian demon of destruction and darkness - has been put on a watch list by scientists.
They have calculated that in 2036 there is a very small chance it could collide with our planet.
However, its current fly-by is at a safe distance of about 14 million km - but this is close enough for astronomers to study the space rock and assess its future risk.
Apophis will not be visible with the naked eye, but space enthusiasts can watch it online via the Slooh space camera’s website.
Click the link for a photo.
CNN) — A European space probe headed toward its next target Sunday after sending back detailed images of an asteroid that scientists hope will increase understanding of how the solar system evolved.
Pictures of the asteroid Lutetia from the Rosetta probe’s deep space fly-by Saturday are some of the most detailed ever taken, the European Space Agency said.
The images, taken while the probe raced by at 15 kilometers (9 miles) per second, show a deeply pockmarked, irregular rock — possibly left over from the birth of the solar system.
Holger Sierks with the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research described the asteroid as “a very old object” in a statement Saturday.
“Tonight we have seen a remnant of the solar system’s creation,” he said.
The surface of the asteroid, shaped like a big potato, has deep craters covering its 130-kilometer length.
The Rosetta craft came within 3,162 km (1,965 miles) of Lutetia, orbiting just beyond Mars.
The probe spent several hours shooting images of the irregular shaped space rock, circling more than 450 million km (280 million miles) out from the sun. The space agency says its OSIRIS camera was able to capture detail down to just a few dozen meters.
The next stop for the Rosetta spacecraft — named for the stone that helped decipher Egyptian hieroglyphics — is comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
If all goes according to plan, the probe will intercept the comet in 2014.
The two will travel in tandem for several months as the comet hurtles from near Jupiter’s orbit toward the Sun, with Rosetta finally touching down on the surface to take samples.