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Meteor Lights Up Southern Michigan (arstechnica.com) 38

New submitter Foundryman writes: Amidst fake missile reports in Hawaii and Japan, Michigan gets hit by something real. From a report via Ars Technica: "Early last night local time, a meteor rocketed through the skies of southern Michigan, giving local residents a dramatic (if brief) light show. It also generated an imperceptible thump, as the U.S. Geological Survey confirmed that there was a coincident magnitude 2.0 earthquake. The American Meteor Society has collected more than 350 eyewitness accounts, which ranged from western Pennsylvania out to Illinois and Wisconsin. They were heavily concentrated over southern Michigan, notably around the Detroit area. A number of people have also posted videos of the fireball online. The American Meteor Society estimates that the rock was relatively slow-moving at a sedate 45,000km an hour. Combined with its production of a large fireball, the researchers conclude it was probably a big rock. NASA's meteorwatch Facebook page largely agrees and suggests that this probably means that pieces of the rock made it to Earth. If you were on the flight path, you might want to check your yard.
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Meteor Lights Up Southern Michigan

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  • by mnemotronic ( 586021 ) <mnemotronic&gmail,com> on Wednesday January 17, 2018 @05:23PM (#55949499) Homepage Journal
    That was BitCoin, going out in a flashbang blaze of glory. Turn out the lights, the party's over [youtu.be].
  • by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Wednesday January 17, 2018 @05:24PM (#55949503)
    >> imperceptible thump

    Well, which was it?
    • by daenris ( 892027 )
      Probably imperceptible to people, but clearly not imperceptible to machines since it was picked up as a magnitude 2 earthquake.
  • Fake != False (Score:4, Insightful)

    by djbckr ( 673156 ) on Wednesday January 17, 2018 @05:33PM (#55949553)
    For God's sake, it wasn't fake, it was false. Big difference. If it was fake, then it wasn't from legitimate sources. But it was from legitimate sources, so it was "fact". It was a false alarm, but it wasn't fake.
    • Well, Miriam Webster believes that fake and false are synonyms:
      https://www.merriam-webster.co... [merriam-webster.com]
      fake Synonyms
      Synonyms
      artificial, bogus, dummy, ersatz, factitious, imitation, false, faux, imitative, man-made,

      I didn't intend to imply that I felt the missile warnings had been intentionally faked, so I'd agree with you that the use of "false" would have been a better choice of words.

  • It also generated an imperceptible thump

    the U.S. Geological Survey confirmed that there was a coincident magnitude 2.0 earthquake

    I do not think that word means what you think it means.

    • It rattled the windows of my friend's house. He thought a utility pole transformer exploded a block over. It was quite a bit more than imperceptible.

  • by PPH ( 736903 )

    It was a direct hit from the looks of the subsequent aerial photography.

  • It's amazing that exactly the same type of event happened in Russia about a week ago with almost exactly the same description. There must have been an earthquake in Russia at the same time as their meteor.

    Coincidentally, this happened at the same time as a false missile warning because 'some guy' pressed the wrong button. Which is amazing because coincidentally the Japanese issued a false missile warning because 'some guy' pressed the wrong button the next day.

    What an amazing set of coincidences!!

    • Actually, I remember reading a short story years ago about a nuclear missile that came out of nowhere and destroyed Washington DC. The US was about to launch missiles at the Soviet Union when somebody figured out it was a meteor.

  • I've been assured repeatedly that NASA and other orgs are tracking potentially dangerous asteroids, etc., so - How DaFuck did this appear without warning? Had the trajectory and/or speed been ever-so-slightly off, the impact would have been far more, well, impactful. Anyone who follows this more closely know?
    • They only track (very) large objects. Such small object are tiny specs of dust until they're in our atmosphere. Scale matters.
      • see my other comment where I quote NASA. they don't and can't even track all the large ones.

      • Specks leave a thin streak. Ones that pop with a flash like that one are probably a few pounds to a few tens of pounds of loose material. If it was lighter it wouldn't be so bright, if it was heavier it would be far more impressive, and if it was more solid it would bounce off the atmosphere or make it to ground.
    • hahaha! You should read NASA's website and learn the reality:

      How good are we at finding and tracking NEOs?
      Over 2015-2016, observers discovered more than 1500 previously unknown NEOs each year. Roughly half of the known catalogue of NEOs are objects larger than about 460 feet (140 meters) in size. The estimated population of NEOs of this size is about 25,000. Current surveys are finding NEOs of this size at a rate of about 500 per year.

      The 460-foot cutoff point was established by a NASA NEO survey science

    • NASA is working on tracking potentially dangerous asteroids, but is limited in what they can track by funding. They have projects to track the large asteroids (i.e. ones capable of destroying a country), but no funding to track all of the smaller ones. An asteroid 100 m across can make a big dent when it lands, but is difficult to find at 100 million km.

      This video [youtube.com] shows the rate at which asteroids (some of which are near-Earth objects) are discovered.

    • How DaFuck did you come to the conclusion that this was a potentially dangerous asteroid that NASA should have been monitoring?

      Had the trajectory and/or speed been ever-so-slightly off, the impact would have been far more, well, impactful.

      And you know this how?

      Anyone who follows this more closely know?

      Oh. Got it.

  • I'm from Michigan, and I've got to ask: why is this slashdot worthy???

I bet the human brain is a kludge. -- Marvin Minsky

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