Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Space Science

Rare Meteor Event to Inform on Dangerous Comets 64

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the lucifer's-nails-before-his-hammer dept.
David Shiga writes "September 1, 2007 may be a once in a lifetime opportunity to see a rare meteor shower called the alpha Aurigids, New Scientist reports. Unlike better-known displays like the Perseids that occur every year on the same date, the alpha Aurigids have only been spotted three times before, in 1935, 1986, and 1994. NASA's Peter Jenniskens predicts they will return again this year, only to disappear again for the next 50 years. Meteor showers are caused by debris shed from comets, and the rarity of the alpha Aurigids is due to the exceptionally infrequent passes of its parent comet through the inner solar system, just once every 2000 years. Studying the alpha Aurigids could help astronomers turn these rare showers into an advance warning system for long period comets with potentially dangerous orbits, which would be hard to spot ahead of a collision with Earth."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Rare Meteor Event to Inform on Dangerous Comets

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward
    This is a forth in a lifetime event. Hell, you only have to be 21 for it to be a thrice in a lifetime event. Then, when you are 71, viola! Your fourth viewing.
  • by frieza79 (947618) on Wednesday August 08, 2007 @05:06PM (#20163057)

    Studying the alpha Aurigids could help astronomers turn these rare showers into an advance warning system for long period comets with potentially dangerous orbits, which would be hard to spot ahead of a collision with Earth.

    So instead of a collision with Earth that kills hundreds of peope,
    we have a huge panic that kills thousands.
    great...
    • So if you were on an Airplane that was going down, you wouldn't want to know? We may not be able to do anything about a comet that may collide with Earth and kill us all, but I'd rather be at home than sitting at work finishing my T.P.S. reports when it hits.
      • by frieza79 (947618)
        If I were on an Airplane that was going down I probably would know.
        Knowing that a plane was going to crash before I got on would be different, I could actually change the outcome.
    • For a collision event your estimate is potentially off by several orders of magnitude. Estimates range from your number of 'hundreds' to as large as a global event. I think studying the sky is a pretty good idea.
    • by irtza (893217)
      not if Bruce Willis is still alive. We'll tell him that we're filming for Armageddon Two: the meteor's revenge and unbeknownst to him but knownst to us he will actually be destroying the incoming meteor.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by GnuDiff (705847)
      You only need a 10km diameter ice (not even rock or iron) asteroid to wipe out humanity due to aftereffects alone, not to mention quake:

      Energy Released: 10 million MT (MegaTons of TNT)
      (Shoemaker Levy 9 collision with Jupiter: 5 million MT)

      QUAKE!! Magnitude 10.3 (largest recorded Earthquake: 9.5)

      Crater Diameter: 67.3 km
      Crater Depth: 1.0 km

      Ohh! Look at all the dust in Earth's atmosphere! It's going to block the sunlight and make it very very cold there for many years. There will be another wave of mass extinc
  • This week: Perseids (Score:5, Informative)

    by Animaether (411575) on Wednesday August 08, 2007 @05:11PM (#20163107) Journal
    Speaking of the Perseids.. might have mentioned that -those- are this week. Specifically, the 12th should be the high point, but from thursday through monday you may catch them. As luck (or stellar physics, I suppose) would have it - it'll be New Moon, so no moonlight interference.
  • Glad I live in a rural area; nothing to obstruct the view, except maybe the car salesman's huge spotlights.
    • by MollyB (162595) *
      Perhaps you could convince the man to hold a "meteor sale" in which he could draw attention by turning off the spots for the event? A gimmick like that might make everyone happy (for a day or so, anyway). Just a thought...
      • by eboluuuh (1139173)
        Depends if he faces east or west from my house, where the meteor shower will be visible. Good thought, however.
    • Lovely.

      I suspect I am even more rural than you.
      The local GM dealer (about 12 Km away) will be closing down soon, so-
      l will then be subjected only to the lights of the giant Toyota dealer about 25 Km away!

      TRIUMPH of our Western civilisation!
      But ya gotta love that rural nightsky.


  • Once in a lifetime? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ucla74 (1093323)
    This will be my third opportunity to see this particular "shower." I probably won't make it to the next one, 50 years hence. However, my three sons, born in 1976, 1979, and 1981, all have an opportunity to live through four arrivals of the shower. "Once in a lifetime"?? What the hell happened to responsible journalism, simple fact-checking, and plain old logic or arithmetic skills?
    • Where I live, there's only about a one-in-four chance that the sky will be clear enough to make it worthwhile to watch. I don't see the "once in a lifetime" comment as any serious exaggeration.
  • 200 meteors / hour (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lord Satri (609291) <alexandreleroux@ ... inus threevowels> on Wednesday August 08, 2007 @05:35PM (#20163329) Homepage Journal
    From TA: "Based on past showers, there should be up to 200 bright meteors visible per hour, and they may have an unusual blue-green colour."

    [that's the info I wanted from the article... perfect timing since we'll be canoing with friends at that date... now, if only the god of blow-away-clouds can be with us...]
    • by nateb (59324)
      now, if only the god of blow-away-clouds can be with us...

      Sounds like Tolkien's Uomo.

  • Day of the Triffids? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Wednesday August 08, 2007 @05:41PM (#20163411) Journal
    "Based on past showers, there should be up to 200 bright meteors visible per hour, and they may have an unusual blue-green colour."

    After which all who watched the pretty green meteors will be blind and the experimental carnivorous plants will eat them.

    (Or at least that's how it went in _Day of the Triffids_ by Brian Aldiss.)
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      at least that's how it went in _Day of the Triffids_ by Brian Aldiss
      Brian Aldiss stole the plot of John Wyndham's novel, and he didn't even change the name? What a git!
      • at least that's how it went in _Day of the Triffids_ by Brian Aldiss

        Brian Aldiss stole the plot of John Wyndham's novel, and he didn't even change the name? What a git!

        Oops! I misread the start of the Wikipedia article. It mentioned a Brian Aldiss characterization of Windham's catastrophe before it mention's Windham and I cut-and-pasted the wrong author's name. B-(
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by MythMoth (73648)
      You should read the book. As others have pointed out, it was Wyndham, not Aldiss. And the comets weren't comets. And, in fact, it's nothing like as stupid as it sounds. The background to the story is a bit dated, but otherwise it's quite striking. Another good read is the Kraken Wakes, which in the light of global warming could almost be a parable!
  • by starglider29a (719559) on Wednesday August 08, 2007 @05:42PM (#20163417)
    Ok, but... how many rare showers are there? Do we have a dozen showers that we don't know which comet caused that may be sneaking up on us (again?)

    Be honest here... how much of the sky is being watched at any one time?

    I'd rather see a better effort to tracking undiscovered comets and asteroids. Or else a zillion years from now, alien archaeologists on Mars will find an AOL CD blown as ejecta from the crater that wiped out a technologically advanced race on the 3rd planet.
  • by NotQuiteReal (608241) on Wednesday August 08, 2007 @08:27PM (#20164755) Journal
    I think thousands of tiny rock fragments hitting the atmosphere will increase global warming!

    Watching them only encourages them!

    Shame on you for promoting the whole subject of potentially Earth-wreaking comets and their "oh-shiny" debris.

    Avert your eyes!

  • Meteorologists predict overnight cloud cover for September 1st, 2007, everywhere.
    • Meteorologists predict overnight cloud cover for September 1st, 2007, everywhere... ...with complete clearing right after dawn on the 2nd.
  • Augrid Project (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Laser Lou (230648) on Wednesday August 08, 2007 @10:05PM (#20165389)
    Chris Crawford, the game designer, is organizing a project to build a three-dimensional map of the Augrid meteor shower, by combining the observations of many amateurs.

    Details are here [erasmatazz.com] in his website.

  • I saw a small meteor shower in Tuesday night on my way home from the train in Sydney, saw about 6 shooting stars in as many minutes, but was too tired to sit up and watch for any more.

    Wonder if it was a prelude?
    • by osu-neko (2604)
      Actually, you were probably seeing meteors associated with the Perseids. The peak will fall around August 12th, but you'll likely see lots of them all week long if you're looking.
  • Last month, multiple cameras recorded a LARGE meteor going down over Croatia, here's the video:

    http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=d0c_1185876816 [liveleak.com]

    Here's hoping the upcoming shower will be as spectacular.
  • Rare Meteor Event to Inform on Dangerous Comets - NARC
  • Are there any plans for putting an asteroid radar (or series of radars) out there? Or it is not economically viable because asteroids ...are not enemies?

6 Curses = 1 Hexahex

Working...