A massive, unexplained impact on Jupiter on the forty-year anniversary of man’s first walk on the moon (and within only six hours of the anniversary of Apollo 11′s nail-biting touchdown on the lunar surface)…
…on the 15th anniversary of another dramatic Jupiter impact (comet Shoemaker-Levy 9, only 34-38 hours before the ‘eclipse of the century’ (itself sandwiched improbably between two lunar eclipses), just as sunspot activity is ticking up again in a big way after a nearly unprecedented, multi-year ‘dry’ spell, just one day (i.e., fifty days) after the seventh Sunday of Pentecost, all of this in a Hebraic ‘Year of Perfect Order’ (the only one in a span of two centuries)?
Interesting… to say the least.
On this eclipse-eve day (or night, if you’re over in Asia), which also just happens to be the eve of the Feast of Mary Magdelene in the Catholic Church (H/T: a friend) it all seems just… incredible… as if the universe were following a script (which, we know it is), demonstrating that the late Stanley Kubrick may have been onto something he didn’t fully grasp (and not just ‘on’ something he did) with his script (based on the late and apparently atheistic-but-searching, Sir Arthur C. Clarke‘s book) for the film ’2001 a Space Odyssey’ (which I absolutely adored as a kid and still do), filmed during a period, beginning in 1965, when society was undergoing one of its most fundamental upheavals ever.
Right except, perhaps, for the sparkling-clean space station. That he seems to have gotten wrong. That and the acid-inspired, new-agey and seemingly endless final 20 minutes of the film, which I never liked all that much.
Scientists have found evidence that another object has bombarded Jupiter, exactly 15 years after the first impacts by the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9.
Following up on a tip by an amateur astronomer, Anthony Wesley of Australia, that a new dark “scar” had suddenly appeared on Jupiter, this morning [July 20th] between 3 and 9 a.m. PDT (6 a.m. and noon EDT) scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., using NASA’s Infrared Telescope Facility at the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii, gathered evidence indicating an impact.
New infrared images show the likely impact point was near the south polar region, with a visibly dark “scar” and bright upwelling particles in the upper atmosphere detected in near-infrared wavelengths, and a warming of the upper troposphere with possible extra emission from ammonia gas detected at mid-infrared wavelengths.
“We were extremely lucky to be seeing Jupiter at exactly the right time, the right hour, the right side of Jupiter to witness the event. We couldn’t have planned it better,” said Glenn Orton, a scientist at JPL.
For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as on the day at Massah in the wilderness, when your fathers put me to the test and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work. For forty years I loathed that generation and said, “They are a people who go astray in their heart, and they have not known my ways.” Therefore I swore in my wrath, “They shall not enter my rest.”
Truly, truly, I say to you, “he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers…
I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd…
The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
UPDATE I: This also seemed interesting: “A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on or about July 23rd.”
These may have nothing to do with anything but they’re exceedingly cool.
“They’re called noctilucent or “night-shining” clouds (NLCs)… “Noctilucent clouds are a relatively new phenomenon,” says Gary Thomas, a professor at the University of Colorado who studies NLCs. “They were first seen in 1885″ about two years after the powerful eruption of Krakatoa hurled plumes of volcanic ash as much as 80 km high in Earth’s atmosphere… Eventually the ash settled and the vivid sunsets of Krakatoa faded. Yet the noctilucent clouds remained. “It’s puzzling,” says Thomas. “Noctilucent clouds have not only persisted, but also spread.” A century ago the clouds were confined to latitudes above 50o; you had to go to places like Scandinavia, Russia and Britain to see them. In recent years they have been sighted as far south as Utah and Colorado…
“Although NLCs look like they’re in space,” continues Thomas, “they’re really inside Earth’s atmosphere, in a layer called the mesosphere ranging from 50 to 85 km high.” The mesosphere is not only very cold (-125 C), but also very dry–”one hundred million times dryer than air from the Sahara desert.” Nevertheless, NLCs are made of water. The clouds consist of tiny ice crystals about the size of particles in cigarette smoke…
Are NLCs a thermometer for climate change? A telltale sign of meteoroids? Or both? “So much about these clouds is speculative,” says Thomas… There’s never been a better time to see noctilucent clouds. “During the summer months, look west perhaps 30 minutes to an hour after sunset when the Sun has dipped 6o to 16o below the horizon,” advises Thomas. If you see luminous blue-white tendrils spreading across the sky, you’ve probably spotted an NLC. Observing sites north of 40o latitude are favored.
UPDATE II (Wednesday): Interesting that this should all happen at once.
…in Europe we were treated to a sky show of our own… the night sky lit up with intense noctilucent clouds (NLCs) on July 21st and 22nd. “It was easily the best display I’ve ever seen.” [said one seasoned observer]
In the pits of the deepest solar minimum in a century, sky watchers had almost forgotten what Northern Lights looked like… The [Tuesday night] display was sparked by a solar wind stream which hit Earth’s magnetic field on July 21st. The ensuing geomagnetic storm registered 6 on the 0 to 9 K-index scale of geomagnetic activity.