CNEOS 2014-01-08 – First Interstellar Meteor
If a news story makes me jump out of my chair, say WOW, and run upstairs to tell everyone about it, that is the story that gets the feature of the week!
On January 8, 2014, at 17:05:34 UT, a meter-sized rock from space streaked through the sky off the coast of Manus Island, Papua New Guinea, burning up with an energy equivalent to about 110 metric tons of TNT and raining debris into the depths of the Pacific Ocean. Similar-sized fireballs are not uncommon occurrences in Earth’s skies; in fact, a few dozen of them occur every year. But what was notable about this particular meteor was the very high speed and unusual direction at which it encountered our planet, which collectively suggested it came from interstellar space.
The authors of the paper arXiv:1904.07224 identified the meteor in 2019 as originating from interstellar space, which was later confirmed in 2022 by the U.S. Department of Defense.
So we have the first confirmed first interstellar meteor, which left meteoritic fragments on the bottom of the ocean – seismometers even recorded the impact! The authors of the paper have stated their intent to mount an ocean expedition to retrieve those fragments. I sure hope they offer some way to follow the expedition’s progress on social media.
Morning: Venus and the constellation Orion appear low above the eastern horizon before dawn.
Morning: Jupiter and Saturn appear in the south-southwestern predawn sky – Saturn is still above the southwestern horizon as both planets fade into the light of morning.
Evening: A thin Waxing Crescent Moon appears in the western sky at dusk on August 1st.
The Moon appears near Saturn in the southeastern sky after sunset on August 11th.
The Moon appears near Jupiter in the eastern sky after sunset on August 14th and 15th.
- The Moon is a Waxing Gibbous – visible to the southeast in early evening, and up for most of the night.
- The Full Moon occurs on August 11th – rising at sunset, visible high in the sky around midnight, and visible all night.
- After August 11th, the Moon will be a Waning Gibbous – rising after sunset, visible high in the sky after midnight, and visible to the southwest after sunrise.
If you click on the Moon image above, or click this link, you will go to NASA’s Moon Phase and Libration, 2022 page – it will show you what the Moon looks like right now. If you click the image on that page, you will download a high-rez TIFF image annotated with the names of prominent features – helpful for logging your lunar observations! (See below)
Moon Close-up: August 15th
Speaking of the Full Moon, don’t miss the VO’s Full Moon Zoom with Katie Steinke this Thursday!
The Sun has five named sunspots – one is rotating out of view.
Spaceweather.com says: “All of these sunspots have stable magnetic fields that pose little threat for strong flares.” However, that was not the case two days ago: “A solar wind stream hit Earth’s magnetic field on August 7th. At first, the stream’s velocity was low, but during the day it sped up to more than 600 km/s, ultimately triggering a G2-class (moderately strong) geomagnetic storm. This event was not in the forecast, so the resulting auroras came as a surprise.”
The Sun seen in 193 angstroms on August 8th.
Two large coronal holes appear on the Sun’s face; the north pole coronal hole appears to have opened up again.
The Sun seen in 304 angstroms on August 8th.
Prominences and filaments everywhere, again! Two very long filaments stretch from the top and bottom of the northern and southern hemispheres across the Sun’s face to meet up at the equator in a sideways V formation.
Videos courtesy of NASA/SDO and the AIA, EVE, and HMI science teams.
You can view the Sun in near real-time, in multiple frequencies here: SDO-The Sun Now.
You can create your own time-lapse movies of the Sun here: AIA/HMI Browse Data.
You can browse all the SDO images of the Sun from 2010 to the present here: Browse SDO archive.
Amateur Solar Astrophotography
Solar wind speed is 584.3 km/sec ▲ with a density of 7.53 protons/cm3 ▲▲ at 1715 UT.
Click here to see a near real-time animation of the corona and solar wind from the Solar & Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO).
Yup! I’ve been grousing about this for years! Radiation is a real problem for anything outside of Earth’s magnetic field – like the lunar Gateway and any crewed Moon and Mars missions.
- Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) discovered this month: 19, this year: 1559, all time: 29,380 – getting close to 30K!
- Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs): 2281 (+5 updated 2022-08-09)
- Total Minor Planets discovered (MPC): 1,217,424 (-145 updated 2022-08-09)
Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
|Asteroid||Date(UT)||Miss Distance||Velocity (km/s)||Diameter (m)|
|2022 OC4||2022-Aug-09||4 LD||7.5||11|
|2022 PF||2022-Aug-09||4.5 LD||9.6||14|
|2022 PA1||2022-Aug-10||2.7 LD||16.3||18|
|2015 FF||2022-Aug-12||11.2 LD||9.2||17|
|2022 OT1||2022-Aug-13||12.4 LD||5.8||36|
|2022 OA4||2022-Aug-14||18.2 LD||7.9||23|
|2022 PW||2022-Aug-16||1.4 LD||7.5||29|
|2022 PC||2022-Aug-18||16.5 LD||4.1||61|
|2019 AV13||2022-Aug-20||13.8 LD||9.2||135|
|2020 QW3||2022-Aug-22||14.1 LD||18.1||30|
|2015 QH3||2022-Aug-22||5.6 LD||7||14|
|2017 BU||2022-Aug-29||15.8 LD||7||32|
|2021 CQ5||2022-Sep-01||8.7 LD||13.5||7|
|2020 PT4||2022-Sep-15||19.7 LD||10.8||39|
|2016 HF2||2022-Sep-29||19.2 LD||5.6||21|
|2018 ER1||2022-Oct-02||14.7 LD||4||27|
|2018 VG||2022-Oct-05||18.5 LD||6.7||12|
|2021 TJ10||2022-Oct-06||19.6 LD||8.1||6|
On August 8, 2022, the NASA All Sky Fireball Network reported 51 fireballs!
(27 sporadics, 22 Perseids, 2 Delta Aquariids)
If you see a bright meteor or a fireball, please REPORT IT to the American Meteor Society and the International Meteor Organization!
Position of the planets & several spacecraft in the inner solar system on August 9th:
Position of the planets in the middle solar system – August 2022:
Position of the planets in the outer solar system first half of 2022:
Solar System News
I love this mission! I tried recreating it in Kerbal Space Program – 3 of my 4 probes burned up prematurely…
You may have used Landsat data!
HiRISE - Beautiful Mars
See the MRO mission on NASA’s Solar System Orrery
Students talk to astronauts on the International Space Station!
International Space Station
418.19 ppm #CO2
See a list of current NASA missions here: https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/missions?mission_status=current
ex·o·plan·et /ˈeksōˌplanət/, noun: a planet orbiting a star other than the Sun.
* Confirmed Planets Discovered by TESS refers to the number planets that have been published in the refereed astronomical literature.
* TESS Project Candidates refers to the total number of transit-like events that appear to be astrophysical in origin, including false positives as identified by the TESS Project.
* TESS Project Candidates Yet To Be Confirmed refers to the number of TESS Project Candidates that have not yet been dispositioned as a Confirmed Planet or False Positive.
August 4, 2022
Seven New Planets, One Demotion
We’ve added seven planets this week, including KMT-2020-BLG-0414L b, the lowest mass-ratio microlensing planet to date. We’ve also demoted HD 92987 b to false positive planet status based on a published refutation. Note: The false positive planet’s data are still available on the HD 92987 System Overview page.
The new planets are CoRoT-35 b, CoRoT-36 b, HD 93963 A b & c, GJ 3929 c, and KMT-2020-BLG-0414L b & c.All new data from this week’s release can also be found in the Planetary Systems Table and its companion table, Planetary Systems Composite Parameters. – NASA
All These Worlds
An ever-growing slideshow with exoplanet images I’ve created for these posts:
SpaceWeather.com Realtime Aurora Gallery: https://spaceweathergallery.com/aurora_gallery.html
Latest Aurora Oval Forecast
- Visit an International Dark Sky Park: https://www.darksky.org/our-work/conservation/idsp/parks/
- If you live in Michigan, visit the Michigan Dark Skies site: https://sites.lsa.umich.edu/darkskies/
You Are Here
I’ve always liked those Milky Way “You Are Here” posters – I decided to make one using my new wide-screen monitor – the full-rez version is a monster!
Messier Tour: M25
Messier 25 (M25) is a bright, prominent open cluster located in Sagittarius constellation. The cluster lies at a distance of 2,000 light years from Earth and has an apparent magnitude of 4.6. Its designation in the Index Catalogue is IC 4725.
Messier 25 is about 19 lights across, covering an area of 32 arc minutes in the sky. It is one of the Messier objects that are visible to the naked eye under good conditions, with clear, dark skies and no light pollution.
Messier 25 is pretty easy to locate with binoculars. It lies 6.5 degrees north and a little east of Lambda Sagittarii (Kaus Borealis), the star that marks the top of the Teapot asterism in Sagittarius. – messier-objects.com
Messier 25 contains 601 known members. The cluster is home to two giant stars of the spectral type G and appears to contain two M-class giants which are not really members of the cluster. In 1956, J.B. Irwin discovered a variable star in M25. The Delta Cephei-type variable U Sagittarii has a period of 6.74 days and changes from magnitude 6.3 to 7.1.
With an estimated age of 90 million years, M25 is not a particularly young star cluster. – messier-objects.com
Location of M25 in the Milky Way
Here’s my obligatory “What would a planet look like if it were near that Messier object” pic:
I found a hypothetical planetary system orbiting one of the main-sequence stars of M25; I went to this moon of a Neptune-like gas giant. The part of the moon which is in shadow from the star is illuminated with an eerie glow of the gas giant. When I time-accelerated to get the shadow on the moon the way I wanted, the nearby stars of M25 in the background shifted with a huge parallax.
Cover Image: Messier 25. Credit: Wikisky
Messier Object List: [Link]
Software Apps used for this post:
NASA Eyes on the Solar System: an immersive 3D solar system and space mission simulator – free for the PC /MAC.
Stellarium: a free web-based planetarium app. It’s a great tool for planning observing sessions. Latest update released on July 7, 2022.
SpaceEngine – Explore the universe in 3D and VR! Latest update released on July 6, 2022.
Worldwide Telescope – operated by the American Astronomical Society (AAS). Latest update released on March 31, 2022.