Tagged: asteroids

Big Eye Wide, But Shut - Out of Space

Duncan Steel Nov 23, 2020

[avatar user=”duncansteel” size=”thumbnail” align=”right” /] A few days ago the US National Science Foundation (NSF) announced the decommissioning of the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. This story has been the subject of items in the mass media around the globe, and also in New Zealand. Cables supporting the massive horns and radio receivers above the dish have snapped, the … Read More

Water on the Moon? - Out of Space

Duncan Steel Oct 27, 2020

[avatar user=”duncansteel” size=”thumbnail” align=”right” /] The space news this week is largely focused on an announcement from NASA regarding the discovery of water on the Moon. Not liquid water – the lunar surface is far too cold for that – but apparently ice deposits in the surface layers in near-polar regions, and perhaps deeper below the surface too. Finding water … Read More

Science at the movies: The new comet impact film - Out of Space

Duncan Steel Oct 22, 2020

[avatar user=”duncansteel” size=”thumbnail” align=”right” /] Disaster movies forever capture the public attention… but did you ever stop to think that the word disaster actually means bad star? That is, ‘dis’ implies a pejorative (as in disease, or disgust, or disrespect), while ‘aster’ comes from the Latin astrum, similarly the Greek astron. Obviously enough, this derives from old astrological beliefs. In modern … Read More

Small asteroid to make near-miss of Earth in NZ skies tonight - Out of Space

Duncan Steel Sep 24, 2020

[avatar user=”duncansteel” size=”thumbnail” align=”right” /] Sorry for the late notice on this one, but I only just heard myself, in common with most of the human race. A small asteroid, somewhere between the size of a truck and the size of a house in dimensions, will hurtle past the Earth tonight, dipping closer to our planet’s surface than the altitude … Read More

Tiny asteroid whizzing past Earth today - Out of Space

Duncan Steel Jul 28, 2020

[avatar user=”duncansteel” size=”thumbnail” align=”right” /] Four weeks ago I wrote about the last time a sizable asteroid hit our planet – the ‘Tunguska Event’ of 1908, when an object about 50 metres across exploded above the Siberian taiga – but smaller cosmic rocks shoot close by Earth fairly frequently. In the past 42 hours (as I write) a tiny … Read More

The day the sky fell in - Out of Space

Duncan Steel Jun 30, 2020

[avatar user=”duncansteel” size=”thumbnail” align=”right” /] It’s June 30th, marked as Asteroid Day by many people of an astronomical bent around the globe. On this date in 1908, early in the morning in a remote part of central Siberia, the sky fell in. Well, not literally. What happened is a substantially-sized bit of cosmic detritus – a lump of rock … Read More

Among my favourite asteroids: (2309) Mr. Spock - Out of Space

Duncan Steel Nov 27, 2019

[avatar user=”duncansteel” size=”thumbnail” align=”right” /] Minor planet/asteroid (2309) Mr. Spock is named not for the character in Star Trek, but for a cat that was itself imperturbable, logical, intelligent and had pointed ears.  In a preceding blog post I introduced one of my favourite asteroids, (2472) Bradman, and also mentioned (6581) Sobers amongst a few others. I did have … Read More

Among my favourite asteroids: (2472) Bradman - Out of Space

Duncan Steel Nov 25, 2019

[avatar user=”duncansteel” size=”thumbnail” align=”right” /] There are many thousands of asteroids with formal names, some humdrum but other more noteworthy (depending on your predilections). One of my favourites, the name of which I was involved in suggesting, is (2472) Bradman, named for the Australian cricketing great. After discussing (2472) Bradman, I also make some comments about (6581) Sobers.  As a … Read More

All Blacks take a bath in Beppu - Out of Space

Duncan Steel Sep 28, 2019

[avatar user=”duncansteel” size=”thumbnail” align=”right” /] The All Blacks are currently resting up in the Japanese spa town of Beppu, awaiting their next game. Like Rotorua and several other spa towns spread around the globe, Beppu has an impact crater on asteroid (951) Gaspra named for it.  Perusing the intellectual pages (i.e. the sports section) in The Press this morning whilst … Read More

Interstellar comet update - Out of Space

Duncan Steel Sep 19, 2019

[avatar user=”duncansteel” size=”thumbnail” align=”right” /] The discovery of a true interstellar comet – a comet passing through the solar system having arrived, presumably, after having been thrown out of some other planetary system orbiting another star – re-opens a long-debated question in science: is life unique to Earth, or is it common in the galaxy? The panspermia hypothesis holds that … Read More

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