Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Rare Meteor Event to Inform on Dangerous Comets

ScuttleMonkey posted about 7 years ago | from the lucifer's-nails-before-his-hammer dept.

Space 64

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."

cancel ×

64 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

We'll if you are 72 or so (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20163047)

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.

Re:We'll if you are 72 or so (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20163105)

Then, when you are 71, viola!

Makes sense to me. As you get older you often acquire a taste for classical music.

Re:We'll if you are 72 or so (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20163239)

That took me far t0o long to catch. Must be old age. Or all the drinking.

Re:We'll if you are 72 or so (1)

jwo7777777 (100313) | about 7 years ago | (#20169959)

This reminds me of the movie "The Day the Earth Stood Still"

Cover your eyes!

Re:We'll if you are 72 or so (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20163241)

Illiterate! "Viola" is a French word. It means "violated" or "raped".

Re:We'll if you are 72 or so (3, Funny)

samwh (921444) | about 7 years ago | (#20163747)

That certianly explains how the string instrument got its name.

Re:We'll if you are 72 or so- Hey, try 66! (2, Funny)

aqk (844307) | about 7 years ago | (#20165927)

Fuck YOU! you punk!

I am 66, and I have had 28 Lifetime events!

Uhh, lesseee... OK. So I forgot about 23 of them, but nevertheless- Respect your elders, you li'l pupsquaick!

Wait! I think I remember event #21...

No... ..uhh...

Ah, well it's just/. No one will notice. Fuk, just a bunchakids anyhoo!
Zzzzz..

Re:We'll if you are 72 or so- Hey, try 66! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20170447)

Jesus, I hope i'm in better shape than that in my 60's. It's not that fricken old.

One disaster for another (3)

frieza79 (947618) | about 7 years ago | (#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...

Re:One disaster for another (1)

4solarisinfo (941037) | about 7 years ago | (#20163175)

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.

Re:One disaster for another (1)

frieza79 (947618) | about 7 years ago | (#20163207)

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.

Re:One disaster for another (1)

ShaneThePain (929627) | about 7 years ago | (#20164985)

And if we know a comet is coming we can launch nuclear missiles at it. Both catastrophes are avoidable.

Re:One disaster for another (0, Redundant)

toolie (22684) | about 7 years ago | (#20170553)

And if we know a comet is coming we can launch nuclear missiles at it. Both catastrophes are avoidable.
Lay off the Hollywood movies dude, they are dicking up your perception of reality.

Re:One disaster for another (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20166915)

"I'd rather be at home than sitting at work finishing my T.P.S. reports when it hits."

Which shows how much of a loserboy you are. If you had at least some warning, you could work on your physical appearance and social skills so that when it hits you would be at home fucking some hot chick.

Re:One disaster for another (1)

csighence (1140123) | about 7 years ago | (#20164735)

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.

Re:One disaster for another (1)

irtza (893217) | about 7 years ago | (#20165157)

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:One disaster for another (1)

CrazedWalrus (901897) | about 7 years ago | (#20167877)

Perhaps, but to pull it off, he'd have to change his name to Bruce Wiggins.

Just sayin'.

Re:One disaster for another (2, Informative)

GnuDiff (705847) | about 7 years ago | (#20166141)

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 extinctions. You humans will not survive.

See http://janus.astro.umd.edu/astro/impact/ [umd.edu]

Re:One disaster for another (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20166185)

You humans will not survive.
And what is your ASSL? (age/sex/species/location)

Re:One disaster for another (1)

GnuDiff (705847) | about 7 years ago | (#20166195)

That was a copy/paste from the linked webpage :). But it could be any bacteria or maybe an insect. They should survive allright.

Astronomers. Pah. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20163059)

Join us .. hiss.. join the electric universe theoristsss...

How about hunters? (1)

Arthur Grumbine (1086397) | about 7 years ago | (#20165653)

TFA - The best view of the meteors will be from the west coast of North America, before dawn on 1 September.

It's a good time to be a dove-hunter [ca.gov] /amateur-astronomer in California. That's going to be a beautiful pre-dawn.

Snitches get stitches (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20163095)

You might even get your coma cut off.

This week: Perseids (4, Informative)

Animaether (411575) | about 7 years ago | (#20163107)

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.

Front-Row Seats (1)

eboluuuh (1139173) | about 7 years ago | (#20163139)

Glad I live in a rural area; nothing to obstruct the view, except maybe the car salesman's huge spotlights.

Re:Front-Row Seats (1)

MollyB (162595) | about 7 years ago | (#20163951)

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...

Re:Front-Row Seats (1)

eboluuuh (1139173) | about 7 years ago | (#20163975)

Depends if he faces east or west from my house, where the meteor shower will be visible. Good thought, however.

Re:Front-Row Seats + Pontiacs (1)

aqk (844307) | about 7 years ago | (#20166097)

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? (2, Interesting)

ucla74 (1093323) | about 7 years ago | (#20163303)

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?

Re:Once in a lifetime? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20163367)

Yeah, but four times in-a-lifetime event doesn't have the same ring to it.

Re:Once in a lifetime? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20165451)

There will be plenty of people born since 1994 who will die in the next fifty years. there's been plenty of people born since 1994 who have already died and haven't seen any of them. "once in a lifetime" is relative.

Re:Once in a lifetime? (1)

fossilstar (716525) | about 7 years ago | (#20170763)

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 (4, Informative)

Lord Satri (609291) | about 7 years ago | (#20163329)

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...]

Re:200 meteors / hour (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20163733)

Keep in mind that meteor shower rate predictions tend to be very spotty, so don't be too disappointed if the peak rate is far below that.

But this will be a Saturday, so remember not to drink to heavily before early morning observing.

Re:200 meteors / hour (1)

RTofPA (984422) | about 7 years ago | (#20165605)

Wow, thats almost better. I'll be in college in California, meaning no clouds, and I won't have school the next day! Plus, I think I have to watch stars astronomy class, soooooo.... ;)

Re:200 meteors / hour (1)

nateb (59324) | about 7 years ago | (#20166695)

now, if only the god of blow-away-clouds can be with us...

Sounds like Tolkien's Uomo.

Can't Wait (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20163387)

I can't wait for all those "The world is coming to an end" poeple to pop up because it's 2000 years from when *Over-zelous black preacher voice* "JESUS" came..

Day of the Triffids? (2, Informative)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | about 7 years ago | (#20163411)

"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:Day of the Triffids? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20163533)

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!

Re:Day of the Triffids? (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | about 7 years ago | (#20164825)

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:Day of the Triffids? (1)

JockTroll (996521) | about 7 years ago | (#20166927)

That was John Wyndham, ignorant loserboy nerd. Did the beatings you suffered in school damage your brain? Or was it the toilet dunking?

Re:Day of the Triffids? (2, Informative)

MythMoth (73648) | about 7 years ago | (#20167679)

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!

Rare showers? how many? (4, Funny)

starglider29a (719559) | about 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:Rare showers? how many? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20163501)

3rd planet? I'm a 3½ planet guy myself - moon and earth as sister planets. Surely, the moon is no moon.

Re:Rare showers? how many? (4, Funny)

Chosen Reject (842143) | about 7 years ago | (#20163633)

Surely, the moon is no moon
Of course not, it's a space station.

Re:Rare showers? how many? (3, Funny)

Carbon016 (1129067) | about 7 years ago | (#20164125)

I felt a great disturbance in the International Astronomical Union, as if millions of definitions of planet suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened.

Re:Rare showers? how many? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20163677)

will find an AOL CD
... and conclude there was no intelligent life there.

Re:Rare showers? how many? (1)

niktemadur (793971) | about 7 years ago | (#20164223)

I'd rather see a better effort to tracking undiscovered comets and asteroids.

The LINEAR project http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lincoln_Near-Earth_As teroid_Research [wikipedia.org] .
From the wikipedia article:

As of 21 October 2004, LINEAR had detected 211,849 new objects of which at least 1622 were near earth asteroids and 142 were comets. All of LINEAR's discoveries were made using robotic telescopes.

What's worrisome is that the homepage http://www.ll.mit.edu/LINEAR/ [mit.edu] is also stuck at 211,849 objects. Did they run out of funds in 2004? It sounds extremely shortsighted to stop this project.

Re:Rare showers? how many? (2, Funny)

Plutonite (999141) | about 7 years ago | (#20167295)

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.
I can't believe you used "AOL CD" and "technologically advanced race" in the same sentence.

Re:Rare showers? how many? (3, Funny)

starglider29a (719559) | about 7 years ago | (#20170767)

They were found embedded in rock which was fossilized landfill. Next to the plastic bottles of Jolt.

ma83 (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20163929)

hand...don't 7uck I'll find world will have

Scientist Determine Uranus Could Use a Shower (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20163965)

such a meteor shower would be beneficial to the Klingons.

Boycot meteor showers! (2, Funny)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | about 7 years ago | (#20164755)

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!

Rare Showers? (0, Offtopic)

I7D (682601) | about 7 years ago | (#20164893)

I think that's something the slashdot crowd is familiar with.

In related news... (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about 7 years ago | (#20165039)

Meteorologists predict overnight cloud cover for September 1st, 2007, everywhere.

Re:In related news... (1)

niktemadur (793971) | about 7 years ago | (#20167547)

Meteorologists predict overnight cloud cover for September 1st, 2007, everywhere... ...with complete clearing right after dawn on the 2nd.

Augrid Project (3, Interesting)

Laser Lou (230648) | about 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:Aurigid Project (1)

Laser Lou (230648) | about 7 years ago | (#20165419)

Bad spelling mistake; it is the "Aurigid" project, not "Augrid".

I saw a small meteor shower in Tuesday night (1)

xenn (148389) | about 7 years ago | (#20165803)

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?

Re:I saw a small meteor shower in Tuesday night (1)

osu-neko (2604) | about 7 years ago | (#20166217)

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.

Sorta related... (1)

NeuroManson (214835) | about 7 years ago | (#20167611)

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.

snitch (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about 7 years ago | (#20168139)

Rare Meteor Event to Inform on Dangerous Comets - NARC

Asteroid radar? (1)

master_p (608214) | about 7 years ago | (#20172467)

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?

Re:Asteroid radar? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20173635)

It's not viable because of the huge amount of space out there to search. The Air Force AWACS radars have an effective range of about 300 miles in good conditions. Now granted that conditions in space are actually better for radar than on earth, we're talking about objects potential hundreds of millions of miles away for most of their orbit. A radar would have 0.000000001% as strong of a return signal at one AU as at 300 miles.

NASA has gotten radar returns off near earth asteroids before, but only those that have been previously discovered that we know exactly where they are and are in the process of making a close pass (~100,000 km) with a very narrow radio beam. Scanning large swaths of space that way simply isn't feasible.

Fortunately, our solar system comes built in with an extremely large transmitter (the sun) that lets us do roughly the same thing in the visible portion of the spectrum. There are telescopes connected to CCD cameras and computers automatically scanning the sky looking for objects that move relative to the stars. It's not a perfect method and it can't catch all of them, but it's the best we've got.
Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>