Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Jupiter Gets Slammed By A Huge Impactor, And We Missed It.

Jupiter -the solar systems hoover vacuum- the planet that has literally swallowed major asteroids and comets that would have destroyed life on earth in a heart beat, got whacked recently by an impactor of unknown origins.

And even more interesting, it was discovered by an amateur astronomer-

Preliminary image showing a black mark in Jupiters South Polar Region (SPR) which is almost certainly the result of a large impact - either an asteroid or comet - similar to the Shoemaker-Ley impacts in 1994.

Date and Time of Report

Dark impact mark first noted at approximately 1330UTC on 19th July 2009 from my home observatory just outside Murrumbateman NSW Australia.

Inspection of earlier images shows the impact visible on the planets limb at 1411UTC.

Equipment and Contact Details

Contact info: Anthony Wesley

NASA's Infrared Telescope Facility at the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii, confirmed that this was a major impact.

Scientists have found evidence that another object has bombarded Jupiter, exactly 15 years after the first impacts by the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9.

Following up on a tip by an amateur astronomer, Anthony Wesley of Australia, that a new dark "scar" had suddenly appeared on Jupiter, this morning between 3 and 9 a.m. PDT (6 a.m. and noon EDT) scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., using NASA's Infrared Telescope Facility at the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii, gathered evidence indicating an impact.

To give you an idea of how big this hole in Jupiter is, I give you a size comparison-

So something close to the size of the moon slammed in to Jupiter, and we completely missed it.

A 1992 U.S. Congressional study produced a "Spaceguard Survey Report" which led to a mandate that NASA locate 90% of large near-Earth asteroids larger than 1 km diameter within 10 years.

Clearly the ten year estimate was insufficient, because we missed an enormous impactor that was in our cosmic backyard, which was also one hell of a lot bigger than 1 km in diameter.

Our current NASA budget is around $17 billion annually. We haven't spent anywhere near close to a tenth of that in terms of Near Earth Object detection in the last ten years.

Priorities, that's all I'm saying.

Once again, visit the B612 Foundation for further information on what needs to be done to address this obvious shortcoming in the protection of our planet.

Friday, July 03, 2009

PJ O'Rourke- "Where Was The Government With Studebaker?"

A little PJ to cheer you up on this glorious Fourth of July Weekend. I love his bit explaining how the automobile allowed the United States to come together. As someone who very much enjoys driving across this great country, I can't imagine having to do it in a train, where your freedom to go where you want is extremely limiting.

Reason.tv’s Ted Balaker sat down with O’Rourke at the Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. Topics include: bailouts, who ruined the U.S. auto industry, politicians’ love affair with trains, how easy women made O'Rourke a youthful socialist and how getting a paycheck turned him into a libertarian.