Tag Archive | NASA

NASA administrator suspended after claims of “imminent alien invasion”

Huge ‘potentially hazardous’ asteroid hurtling towards Earth

Huge ‘potentially hazardous’ asteroid hurtling towards Earth
© Denis Scott / Corbis / Getty Images
A huge 1km-wide asteroid is hurtling towards Earth, prompting astronomers to label it “potentially hazardous”. But don’t pack for Mars just yet – the giant space rock, ‘2014 JO25’, is expected to pass by our planet safely.
According to NASA the encounter on April 19 will be the closest the asteroid comes to Earth in 400 years, and no projected future encounters will be as close for at least another 480 years.
However, another fly-by is expected in 2091 and the space rock also makes regular close approaches to Mercury and Venus.
An asteroid of this size won’t have as close an encounter with Earth for more than 10 years. “The next known flyby by an object with a comparable or larger diameter will occur when 800-meter-diameter asteroid ‘1999 AN10’ approaches within one lunar distance in August 2027,” NASA said.
The asteroid was discovered by the Mt. Lemmon Survey in May 2014. Astronomers describe it as a “bright object” and believe it will be among the best targets for radar observations this year.
‘2014 JO25’ has been designated as a potentially hazardous asteroid (PHA) by the Minor Planet Center. PHA’s are asteroids larger than 100 meters that can come closer to Earth than 7,495,839km (about 4,658,000 miles), which is equal to 19.5 ‘Lunar distances’.
Despite 2014 JO25’s designation as a PHA, projections predict it will pass by Earth at a safe distance of about 1.8 million km (4.57 lunar distances).
Two other big asteroids, ‘2003 BD44’ and ‘1999 CU3’, which are both nearly 2km wide, will also pass by our planet shortly, however they won’t come as close as 2014.
Astrowatch report 1,781 PHAs were detected on Sunday, however – happily – none of them is on a projected collision course with Earth.
Courtesy of rt.com

NASA sees a comma-shaped Tropical Storm Krovanh over Marianas

The Marianas Islands in the Northwestern Pacific Ocean were in the tail of Tropical Storm Krovanh’s “comma shape” when NASA’s Aqua satellite passed overhead early on September 16.
On Sept. 16 at 03:50 UTC (Sept. 15 at 11:50 p.m. EDT) the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite captured a visible image of Tropical Storm Krovanh. The center of Krovanh was east of the northern Marianas Islands, while a thick band of thunderstorms that resembled the tail of a comma, stretched over the island chain.
National Weather Service (NWS) in Tiyan, Guam noted that a tropical storm watch remains in effect for Alamagan, Pagan and Agrihan in the northern Marianas Islands. Tropical storm conditions including tropical storm force winds of 39 mph or more are possible within 24 hours. For updated forecasts from the NWS in Guam, visit: http://www.prh.noaa.gov/guam/cyclone.php.
At 0900 UTC (5 a.m. EDT) on Sept. 16 the Joint Typhoon Warning Center noted that Krovanh had maximum sustained winds near 55 knots (63.3 mph/101.9 kph). It was 20.1 North latitude and 146.8 East longitude, about 391 nautical miles (480 miles) north-northeast of Andersen Air Force Base, Guam and within 115 miles of Agrihan. Krovanh has tracked west-northwestward at 13 knots (15 mph/24 kph).
The JTWC expects Krovanh to peak in intensity on Sept. 18 as it passes east of the island of Iwo To, Japan, when maximum sustained winds are forecast to reach 115 knots. Thereafter, Krovanh is expected to turn to the northeast over the open waters of the Northwestern Pacific and become extra-tropical.
Courtesy of eurekalert.org

A MONSTER-sized asteroid that could wipe out life on Earth if it struck is set to brush past our planet in less than a MONTH

World Asteroid Day campaigners want more done to prevent one hitting Earth in the future
World Asteroid Day campaigners want more done to prevent one hitting Earth in the future
NASA is monitoring the “close Earth” pass of the mountain-sized space rock – which measures 1.5-miles across – that will hurtle past the planet at 45,450mph, or 70 times the speed of a jumbo jet, on July 25.
The “cosmic close shave” comes as scientists and astronomers tomorrow join forces to demand more global action to develop systems on Earth that could destroy or divert a large asteroid, in the event one could take a direct collision course with the planet.
The asteroid due to approach Earth at the end of July, named 1999 JD6, is 15 times the size of anything else on the radar and dwarfs the three recent large passes that had some astronomers spooked.
These included the 1km-wide Icarus which passed five million miles away this month, the 1mile-wide 1999 FN53 in May and the 1km-wide 2014-YB35 in March.
Today is the first ever World Asteroid Day, backed by Queen legend Brian May and TV astronomer Professor Brian Cox, and will see events take place all over the globe including at the Science Museum in London.
Although 1999 JD6 is expected to pass Earth safely at a distance of around four million miles, it is feared a rock of a similar size will one day be on a direct path with our planet, meaning action would have to be taken to prevent the devastation that would follow.
If such a large asteroid hit us or broke up in the Earth’s atmosphere, it would be like hundreds of nuclear bombs exploding and send tsunamis rippling across oceans.
Asteroid 1999 JD6 is also coming in much closer this time than the 12.4million miles it passed by Earth on its last encounter five years ago in July 2010.
In May, when 1999 FN53 passed at 6.6million miles, worried astronomers warned it was an eighth of the size of Mount Everest and a collision would be nothing short of catastrophic triggering mass destruction, earthquakes and global extinction. 
Bill Napier, professor of astronomy at the University of Buckinghamshire, said: “People are concerned about an impact from a very large asteroid, and the impact of something of this scale would be nothing short of global.
“It would undoubtedly lead to the deaths of around 1.5 billion people, we are looking at a mass extinction of humanity.
“To understand the impact of something on this scale, you would have to look to the science fiction writers, it is incomprehensible.”
But organisers of World Asteroid Day are just as, if not more, concerned about smaller asteroids of up to 150 metres in length striking the planet.
Alarmingly, a 70metre-long asteroid called 2015HM10 – the size of a jumbo jet – will skim Earth just a week after World Asteroid Day on July 7.
NASA is monitoring the path of this rock, which will shoot past at 18,600mph and just 275,000 miles away – only just a little more than the distance from Earth to the Moon (239,000 miles).
And 12 days later on July 19 a “bridge-sixed” 500metre-long asteroid will pass Earth at 1.5million miles.
World Asteroid Day takes place on the anniversary of the 1908 Tunguska asteroid strike, the most recent major collision in world history.
It saw a 50-metre lump of extraterrestrial rock explode above Siberia, sending meteorites hurtling down.
Flattening around 80million trees and sending a shock wave across Russia, measuring five on the Richter scale, it would have been catastrophic had it taken place over a major city.
Prof Alan Fitzsimmons, expert in asteroids and comets at the Astrophysics Research Centre at Queen’s University Belfast, told Express.co.uk: “Although astronomers have spotted almost all the big asteroids that come near our planet, the upcoming close approach of 2015HM10 on July 7 just beyond the Moon is a sign that we’ve still got much more work to do.
“This is not an unusual event and there are millions of asteroids this big to find. If one this size hits us in the decades or centuries to come it would be similar or larger than the Tunguska impact in 1908.” 
These smaller asteroids are known to travel much nearer to Earth and could even strike out of the blue – like the 20-metre long meteor that unexpectedly exploded above Chelyabinsk in Russia in 2013, injuring 1,500 people and damaging around 7,000 buildings.
NASA admits it has no idea where 98 per cent of smaller asteroids and large meteorites are heading at any time.
Professor Cox is certain there is already an asteroid with Earth’s name on it, so action needs to happen now.
However, he believes warnings are not being taken seriously enough, and that is why he is backing the global campaign.
Ahead of World Asteroid Day, he spoke of a near miss “the size of a bus” last year, adding: “There is an asteroid with our name on it and it will hit us.”
He continued: “We didn’t see it coming. We saw it on the way out, but if it had just been a bit further over it would have probably wiped us out.”
That asteroid flew by at a staggering 38,000 miles from Earth – only a sixth of the way to the Moon.
Former astronaut Ed Lu says the asteroid threat is so real he described it as a “cosmic roulette” and “blind luck” is our saviour so far from a serious impact. 
NASA largely in agreement with the campaigners.
It has recently scoffed at conspiracy theorist predictions that a huge asteroid will destroy the Earth in late September.
But, NASA scientist Jason Kessler, who runs the ‘near Earth” asteroid programme that monitors around 1,400 space rocks within six million miles of us, said: “The likelihood of something hitting us in the future is pretty guaranteed, although we’re not freaking out that there is an imminent threat.”
NASA believes an asteroid won’t happen for a few hundred years, giving humans time to develop systems to deal with the threat.
And Express.co.uk reported earlier this month, that may include firing nuclear weapons to either blast them before impact or send them off course to avoid a strike.
Courtesy of express.co.uk

NASA sees powerful storms within Tropical Cyclone Ashobaa

NASA sees powerful storms within Tropical Cyclone Ashobaa
On June 10 at 09:00 UTC (5 a.m. EDT), the MODIS instrument aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this visible image of Tropical Cyclone Ashobaa off the coast of Oman. Credit: NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team
Two NASA satellites provided a look inside and outside of Tropical Cyclone Ashobaa. NASA and JAXA’s GPM satellite observed rainfall rates and cloud heights identifying powerful thunderstorms within the cyclone, and NASA’s Aqua satellite provided an overall look at Ashobaa’s cloud extent.
The Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) core observatory had an excellent view of Tropical Cyclone Ashobaa in the Arabian Sea over on June 8, 2015 at 2131 UTC (5:31 p.m. EDT). As expected, Tropical Cyclone Ashobaa was more powerful than when seen by GPM earlier in the day. GPM’s Microwave Imager (GMI) and Dual-Frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR) instruments showed that rain was falling at a rate of over 70.5 mm (about 2.8 inches) per hour in bands of storms west of the center of circulation.
Very powerful storms were seen west of tropical cyclone ASHOBAA’s center of circulation by GPM’s Ku Band Radar. A 3-D view constructed from GPM’s Ku band radar data shows that Tropical Cyclone Ashobaa had some extremely tall storms. GPM radar data indicated that some of these very intense storms were reaching the amazing height of 21 km (13 miles).
On June 10 at 09:00 UTC (5 a.m. EDT), the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer or MODIS instrument aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite captured a visible image of Tropical Cyclone Ashobaa off the coast of Oman. There was no visible eye in the system, although it appears to be strengthening. Bands of thunderstorms were spiraling into the low-level center from the west and east. The MODIS image showed that the northwestern quadrant of the tropical storm was already sweeping over eastern Oman.
The Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) noted that “Animated multispectral satellite imagery depicts tight spiral banding wrapping beneath a central dense overcast feature that is elongated to the west due to moderate (15-20 knot) easterly vertical wind shear that will persist throughout the forecast period.” Microwave imagery shows disorganized convection along the western edge of the storm, while an eye feature can be seen in microwave data.
By 1500 UTC (11 a.m. EDT), Ashobaa’s maximum sustained winds had increased to 55 knots (63.9 mph/ 101.9 kph). Ashobaa was centered near 20.9 North latitude and 61.0 east longitude, about 138 nautical miles (158.8 miles/255.6 km) east-northeast of Masirah Island, Oman. The tropical storm is slowly moving west at 3 knots (3.4 mph/5.5 kph).
The JTWC now expects that Ashobaa will not reach hurricane-strength before making landfall early on June 12 and will weaken quickly thereafter between the interaction with land and dry air that is forecast to move into the circulation.
Courtesy of phys.org

Strong eruption injures two at Kuchinoerabu-jima volcano in Ryuku Islands, Japan

Ash plumes from Kuchinoerabu-jima and Sakura-jima volcanoes today (MODIS Terra / NASA)
Two people have been reported injured, presumably burnt by pyroclastic surge, and were flown to a hospital in Yakushima Island.
Courtesy of volcanodiscovery.com

Asteroid a MILE wide to hurtle past Earth in 48 HOURS – as experts warn of MASS EXTINCTION

Asteroid 1999 FN53 will skim past Earth on May 14
Asteroid 1999 FN53 will skim past Earth on May 14
A COLOSSAL asteroid hurtling through space is feared to be one of the biggest EVER to threaten a collision with Earth
The gigantic missile thought to measure almost a mile across will brush closer than previous monsters which have sparked a global panic.
Worried astronomers warned 1999 FN53, which is an eighth of the size of Mount Everest, will skim the Earth in TWO DAYS.
A collision would be nothing short of catastrophic triggering mass destruction, earthquakes and global extinction.
The monster is more than TEN TIMES bigger than other meteorites currently visible on NASA’s Near Earth Object radar.
It is also double the size of the gargantuan 2014-YB35 which had astronomers around the world watching the skies in March.
Experts warn a collision would trigger an explosion similar to millions of megatons of TNT and would be capable of killing 1.5 billion people.
It would be far more destructive than the 1908 Tunguska Event which saw a 50-metre lump of extraterrestrial rock crash into Siberia.
It flattened around 80 million trees and sent a shock wave across Russia measuring five on the Richter scale.
The event is held by scientists as a benchmark for the catastrophic consequence of an asteroid impact with earth.
The gigantic lump of rock is travelling faster than 30,000 mph and will brush terrifyingly close to Earth on Thursday.
Asteroid hit earth
1.5 billion people would be killed if the asteroid hit
Bill Napier, professor of astronomy at the University of Buckinghamshire, said an impact would leave unimaginable destruction.
He said: “People are concerned about an impact from a very large asteroid, and the impact of something of this scale would be nothing short of global.
“It is certainly one of the biggest on the radar, and much bigger than the Tunguska asteroid which was one of the most significant in history.
“This is in a completely different ball park, we are talking about millions of megatons of energy, vastly more than was released in Hiroshima.
“It would undoubtedly lead to the deaths of around 1.5 billion people, we are looking at a mass extinction of humanity.
“To understand the impact of something on this scale, you would have to look to the science fiction writers, it is incomprehensible.”
The asteroid is currently hurtling around the Earth fifty times faster than a jumbo jet and double the speed of a space rocket.
Though several million miles away astronomers fear a slight deviation from its orbit will put it on a headlong collision course with the planet.
Professor Napier said: “It is a bit like shooting through a key hole. 
“All being well this one is far enough away not to do us any harm, but people are concerned because you just don’t know.”
If it were to strike the sea it would send a plume of halogen gasses into the stratosphere  destroying the ozone layer, he said.
He added: “This would allow unrestricted sunlight hit the Earth, the sky would heat up becoming strong enough to burn vegetation.
“It would also put a lot of water into the stratosphere with these effects ultimately leading to a mass extinction.”
NASA's Kennedy Space Centre
NASA are keeping a close eye on the colossal asteroid
NASA’s Near Earth Object Programme puts the enormous lump of rock on course to pass within six million miles of Earth on May 14.
In astronomical terms this is a tiny distance and close enough to prompt astronomers to keep an eye on it until is passes safely.
Its exact size is still unclear though it is estimated to be between 580 metres and 1.3km wide – most likely around 680 metres.
In a statement NASA said: “1999 FN53 was discovered on 1999 Mar 31 by the Lowell Observatory Near-Earth Object Search (LONEOS).
“It has an absolute magnitude of 18.3 suggesting a diameter within a factor of two of 680 metres but otherwise its physical properties are poorly known. 
“The asteroid will approach Earth…on 2015 May 14.”
Courtesy of express.co.uk

Typhoon Higos Makes History in NW Pacific

NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this visible image of Typhoon Higos at 0310 GMT on February 10, 2015. Image credit: NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team
With an unexpected burst of intensification on Monday, Typhoon Higos became the strongest tropical cyclone on record for so early in the year in the Northern Hemisphere. The compact typhoon dissipated quickly after its show of strength, having spun out its short life over an empty stretch of the Northwest Pacific roughly midway between the Marshall Islands and Northern Mariana Islands. The official peak intensity of Higos, as recorded by Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JWTC) was 105 kts (120 mph) at 0600 GMT on February 10, making it a Category 3. Satellite imagery suggests that Higos may have briefly spiked at Category 4 strength, with an outside chance of Category 5 strength, so the storm’s peak winds could be revised in later analyses. Two NASA satellites were in place to estimate rainfall rates below Higos.
Figure 2. The satellite image at right of Higos, collected at 0301 GMT on February 10, 2015, shows a solid field of intense convection around the typhoon’s distinct eye. The typhoon’s intensity at this point or shortly thereafter may have been stronger than the officially recorded peak of 105 kts (120 mph). Image credit: NOAA, via @ wxtrackercody.
Typhoons do form on occasion in February over the Northwest Pacific, with 36 tropical cyclones on record for the region since 1900 in NOAA’s Historical Hurricane Tracks website. However, these storms tend to develop late in the month, with their peak intensities often occurring in early March. Supertyphoon Mitag formed at the end of February 2002 and attained peak winds of 140 kts (160 mph) on March 5. The strongest intensity in the official record during February is the 1970’s Typhoon Nancy, whose winds reached 120 kts (140 mph) on February 24. This also stands as a record for the entire Northern Hemisphere, since water temperatures are normally too cool and wind shear too strong to allow for hurricane development so early in the Northeast Pacific and North Atlantic.
Another noteworthy aspect of Higos is its position-–at peak intensity, it was more than 500 miles east of the track of any other February typhoon. The next closest is 2014’s Typhoon Faxai, although Faxai did not peak until early March. Sea-surface temperatures were close to 1°C warmer than average across the region where Higos developed (see Figure 3), part of a pattern of unusual warmth covering much of the western tropical Pacific.
Figure 3. Departures from average (anomalies) in sea-surface temperature (degrees C) for February 5, 2015, just before Typhoon Higos developed. Image credit: NOAA Office of Satellite and Product Operations.
Courtesy of Dr. Jeff Masters
Credit to Bob Henson