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halloween hello

29 October 2015

At http://phys.org/print365259735.html … also at www.space.com … the asteroid or dark comet has been picked up by NASA on Hawaii and by ESA at an observatory near Tenerife. Not a lot is being said. At http://phys.org/print365240817.html … there is a peculiar post taken from 'The Conversation' which seems to be worried that people might be worried about the Halloween space rock, mainly because of the time of year (when you are apparently supposed to feel a little scary). Possibly the author wants to allay his own uneasiness as he goes on to describe what might happen if it did impact or explode in the atmosphere and apart from wiping Brisbane off the face of the Earth, not a lot else (apart from a tsunami wave off the coast of eastern Australia). It is unclear why they picked on Australia as the point of contact in their fantasy but I suppose it is a long way away from America.

Little do they realise things might go bump in the night after all as at www.spaceweather.com October 29th we learn that Halloween fireballs are being predicted by astronomer David Asher. Ten years ago (or three orbits away) in late October of 2005 Earth had an encounter with a dense stream of debris from Comet Encke, source of the annual Taurid meteor shower. The result was a lot of fireballs between October 28th and November 10th (difficult to see with all those fireworks going off on Guy Fawkes Day). David Asher is now predicting we could run into another filament of debris from Comet Encke this weekend. The best time to look for fireballs is around midnight when the constellation of Taurus is high in the sky. This is not normal meteor dust but pebble size stones and therefore they flare more brightly than run of the mill puffs of smoke and bright light. Space Weather is not predicting anything – suggesting readers stay tuned. Once again the possibility of the asteroid/comet having a connection with Comet Encke (the remnant of the Clube and Napier theoretical super comet) is on the table. Why should it be arriving at the same point in time as the flux of meteorites?

Meanwhile, at http://phys.org/print365144336.html … the recent coronal mass ejection has created strange looking green eagles, auroral phenomena that is eerie as we approach Halloween. The story is using Halloween to create a sense of spookiness in what is basically auroral phenomena over the skies of Norway. A bit of a non-story. At www.spaceweather.com we have a similar take on auroral shape shifting but we also learn the gaping coronal hole is still there and has been moving around the face of the Sun and is due to line up with the Earth once again as we approach the weekend.

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