Friday, November 8, 2013

The Earth Groans - Loudly

What experts are calling the most powerful storm ever recorded has hit the Philippine Islands. The sustained winds of super typhoon Haiyan were estimated by the U. S. Navy at 195 miles per hour.  NOAA estimated the barometric pressure at 858 millibars.  If this pressure it verified it would shatter the record of 870 millibars.  The problem is that Haiyan is so powerful that the experts find themselves in unknown territory when trying to measure it.

The number of earthquakes at the Yellowstone National Park are making some scientists rather nervous.  In the time period between September 10 and September 16 there were 130 small earthquakes.  Yellowstone Park is very geologically active.  It sits on top of one of the largest super-volcanoes in the world.

Hybrid Eclipse over New York City
There is plenty going on for those who have the time to look up.  There was a hybrid eclipse of the Sun last Sunday.  That is not the only way that the Sun is making its prescence known though.  A few months ago scientists were puzzled by the quietness of the sun.  But it has roared back to life with 28 solar flares between October 23 and October 30.  And we have had even more since then with and X3.3 solar flare on November 5.  An X class is the most powerful class of solar flare.

If scientists are surprised by the solar activty, they are comepletely baffled by the six tailed comet or asteroid or...something that the Pan-STARRS telescope in Hawaii has spotted. They are calling it P/2013 P5. It has an orbit like an asteroid but it looks like a comet...a weird six tailed comet. Scientists were “literally dumbfounded” as they were trying to find an adequate explanation for out-of-this-world appearance of this “weird and freakish object,” said the lead investigator of the University of California at Los Angeles, David Jewitt, in NASA’s press-release according to RT.

There are a lot of things flying around in space.  It turns out that there are more than anyone thought.  And they are smashing into the earth much more often than anyone suspected. According to studies released in the journals "Nature" and "Science", events like the meteor in Chelyabinsk, Russia on February 15 are much more common than the "once per century" event scientists thought them to be. As if to prove this point there was a giant fireball spotted over Los Angeles on November 6.  And NASA has recently discovered two "surprisingly large" near earth asteroids.

On a somewhat less terrifying note, the Comet Ison is beginning to brighten up.  It is hoped that it will be a naked eye comet.  
The Comet ISON