Earth narrowly misses massive meteor storm

Stacked picture of 2018 Draconids as recorded by Tioga Gulon from his station of Fléville (Eastern France).

On Oct. 8-9, European sky watchers were amazed when a flurry of faint meteors filled the sky at midnight. It was an outburst of the annual Draconids meteor shower. Turns out, that outburst was just the tip of the iceberg. Computer models show that Earth narrowly missed two streams of comet debris that would have caused significant meteor storms had they intersected our planet. These conclusions are based on a computer model of the comet’s debris field from the University of Western Ontario’s Meteor Physics Group. Here it is, showing Earth shooting the gap between two filaments of comet dust:

It could easily have been 10 times more impressive. In fact, Earth narrowly dodged a meteor storm.

The European outburst occurred as Earth skirted a filament of debris from Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner. If that filament had shifted in our direction by a mere 0.005 AU (~500,000 miles), Earth would have experienced a worldwide storm of 1000+ meteors per hour.

Complete story at spaceweather.com

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122 thoughts on “Earth narrowly misses massive meteor storm

    • That gap may have been created by the Earth during a previous pass. But sooner or later:

      “…the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers that are in the heavens shall be shaken.”

      • Sometimes the bible just sounds like utter rubbish written by some untreated lunatic.

        I suppose its gotta be possible that’s what it is.

      • Even evangelical Jimmy Carter admits that stars don’t literally fall to earth.

        Technically fundamentalism means biblical inerrancy, not literalism, but it’s often a distinction without a difference.

        • For the people of those times in which the Bible was written, it would appear that the stars were falling. The writers would have had no vocabulary adequate to explain comet dust intersecting the orbit of the Earth.

          We are somewhat less ignorant than they were, but still lack the ability to prevent eventual meteor storms. Should be quite a show.

          The history of the Bible doesn’t lend much credence to inerrancy, particularly not the KJV often proposed as the standard. See “Misquoting Jesus,” by Bart Ehrman.

          • The only advantage of “inerrancy” over “literalism”, is that the former allows for more ingenious interpretations to try to make the plain text correspond better with observed reality. But it still can’t be done.

            In biblical cosmology, stars hang from the solid vault of heaven, and form the heavenly host, which sings together.

            Yes, stars “falling to earth” might have been inspired by meteor showers. But in the (now apocryphal) Book of Enoch, fallen stars (who practice bestiality and also interbreed with humans) are associated with fallen angels. The book was the second most popular among the Dead Sea scrolls from the Essenes, Jesus’ sect, but it wasn’t accepted into the Masoretic text of the OT, since Enoch, like Jesus, was taken straight up to heaven. Only bits of it made it into the NT.

            http://www.sacred-texts.com/bib/boe/boe089.htm

            CHAPTER LXXXVI. The Fall of the Angels and the Demoralization of Mankind.

            1. And again I saw with mine eyes as I slept, and I saw the heaven above, and behold a star fell from heaven, and it arose and eat and pastured amongst those oxen.
            2. And after that I saw the large and the black oxen, and behold they all changed their stalls and pastures and their cattle, and began to live with each other.
            3. And again I saw in the vision, and looked towards the heaven, and behold I saw many stars descend and cast themselves down from heaven to that first star, and they became bulls amongst those cattle and pastured with them ⌈amongst them⌉.
            4. And I looked at them and saw, and behold they all let out their privy members, like horses, and began to cover the cows of the oxen, and they all became pregnant and bare elephants, camels, and asses.
            5. And all the oxen feared them and were affrighted at them, and began to bite with their teeth and to devour, and to gore with their horns.
            6. And they began, moreover, to devour those oxen; and behold all the children of the earth began to tremble and quake before them and to flee from them.

          • MarkW October 13, 2018 at 7:05 pm

            Yup. Even today if you stand on fairly flat ground, the heavens look like a bowl covering the earth.

            And at night, the fixed stars seem to hang from this solid dome, while the planets wander across it. The moon enters by a door or window in the east and exits stage right, when facing south.

            By day, the sun seems to make the same daily trip.

          • I guess that would be stage left, if you’re on the stage, facing the audience. Not the best metaphor.

          • 6:13And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.

            The bible interprets itself. So if you’re confused about a passage, it’s simply because you haven’t found the connection yet. i.e. angels are often referred to as stars.

            1:20 The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.

            Numbers 24:17 …there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel…

          • Greg Cavanagh October 13, 2018 at 8:52 pm

            The Bible does not interpret itself. It contradicts itself on every page in some books and chapters. It was written over more than a thousand years by numerous men and perhaps one woman. Their sources were even more ancient, stretching back to Sumeria and Egypt thousands of years before the time the myths were rendered into Hebrew and rejiggered from Marduk and Gilgamesh to Yahweh.

            When its editors found texts regarded as sacred scripture in blatant contradiction, they simply put both irreconcilably contradictory documents next to each other, as in Genesis 1 and 2, or intercut them, as in the Noah’s flood myth.

            But you are right that sometimes fallen angels are equated with fallen stars. This is even more obvious in the books of Enoch than in the canonical OT Masoretic text assembled after the rise of Christianity.

          • However, reading one part of the Bible can help shed light on other parts.

            But even more so can reading other ancient sources such as the Ugaritic texts or Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian and Sumerian documents.

            The OT goes through mythological, legendary and quasi-historical phases. By about 800 BC it becomes quasihistorical and can be checked against contemporaneous historical documents, such as the Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian (Chaldean) archives.

            For periods before that date, there is archaeology. For David, Solomon and earlier, there is practically no archaeological support. But the Philistines are well identified with Indo-European Sea Peoples, known from Egyptian records, which also first mention ancient Israel, around 1200 BC.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merneptah_Stele

          • We aren’t much smarter than they. How many times do I hear that the “Sunrise will occur” at so and so time, or the “Sunset will occur” at so and so time. My Samsung Smart watch uses that terminology, as does WeatherUnderground. Obviously, that means all these people believe the Sun orbits the Earth.
            In a like manner, most people believe that the Earth is not only flat, but relatively square. Something or other has “gone to the four corners of the Earth”.
            Hopefully, none of the writers here use these terminologies, for it surely would mark them as pre-Galileo, or just plain flat Earthers.
            Maybe – just maybe – the author of Revelations was being poetic, or someone in the hire of King James misinterpreted Aramaic.
            Nah. Like most of you, he was probably just a flat Earther, and believed the Earth was the center of the universe.

          • KaliforniaKook October 13, 2018 at 11:01 pm

            In the Bible, sun rise and sun set aren’t figurative or poetic. Nor are the four corners of the Earth. Nor the pillars of the Earth. Nor God walking on the vault of heaven and opening the storehouses of snow, sleet, rain, etc. Nor His laying the foundations of the Earth. These passages were meant literally.

            This fact doesn’t mean that people then were stupid.

            There’s not a lot of Aramaic in the Bible. Mostly Hebrew in the OT and Greek in the NT. Some Syriac and Assyrian Christians argue that the original language of the Gospel of Matthew was Aramaic, but no serious scholar supports this conjecture. Jesus himself of course, and His disciples, spoke Aramaic. We’re supposed to believe that Peter and some other disciples became Greek prose stylists, but I’m dubious.

          • Joshua 10:13

            And the sun stood still and the moon stopped until the nation took vengeance on its enemies. Isn’t this written in the Book of Jashar? So the sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed its setting almost a full day. (CSB)

            Ecclesiastes 1:5

            The sun rises and the sun sets; panting, it returns to the place where it rises. (CSB)

            Psalm 19:4-6

            Their message has gone out to the whole earth, and their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun.

            It is like a bridegroom coming from his home; it rejoices like an athlete running a course.

            It rises from one end of the heavens and circles to their other end; nothing is hidden from its heat. (CSB)

            The KJV translation of the sun as “he” rather than “it” is better. Biblical cosmology is the standard Ancient Near Eastern view of the universe. The sun and moon travel over the Earth, entering and exiting the solid dome through doors or windows, then passing under or around the dome outside it, to return to the place of their rising. In Enoch, there are severe penalties for failing to do so in a timely manner.

            Here’s the Egyptian conception of the dome, bedecked with stars. In their mythology, the sun passed under the flat earth, rather than around outside it, in order to return to the place of his rising:

            You can see the boars carrying the sun and the moon:

            http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_ue2_vDGeEV8/TLGJX6w5MTI/AAAAAAAAEIQ/AlrdjVE3lXM/s400/egyptian+cosmology.bmp

            Even John Calvin knew that biblical cosmology did not reflect reality. He thought that the “waters above” was simply something that prescientific people could understand and accept, not a reflection of the actual physical universe. In Holland, there were even Copernican Calvinists.

            Sad then that today so many fundamentalists call themselves “Calvinists”, imagining wrongly that biblical literalism lies at the heart of Calvinism, rather than the theological doctrine of predestination.

          • But if you go by Genesis 1, it’s even worse. Much worse.

            Its author clearly didn’t know that light on earth, day and night, were due to the sun. In this chapter, light, day and night exist before the sun. So do the plants which need sunlight to exist. Since the moon (lesser light) and sun are simply markers of night and day, the author didn’t even make the connection between the eastern sky lightening and the later rising of the sun. This is beyond prescientific. It’s not even logical based upon the simplest of observation and inference.

            NSV:

            1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
            2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
            3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
            4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.
            6 And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.”
            7 So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so.
            8 God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.
            9 And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so.
            10 God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.
            11 Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so.
            12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
            13 And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.
            14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years,
            15 and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so.
            16 God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars.
            17 God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth,
            18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good.
            19 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.

          • Basically anything that doesn’t match exactly modern understandings of science is proof that Bible is full of errors.

            John, you are seeking excuses to justify what you want to believe.
            You are as bad as those who insist that the Earth is 5000 years old.

          • Mark,

            I’m just going by what the Bible actually says.

            Those who say that Earth is only 6000 years old are also going by what the Bible actually says.

          • For instance, it wasn’t just Bishop Ussher, but Sir Isaac Newton who determined that Earth was created around 4000 BC. Kepler came up with a similar estimate.

            IOW, if you go by the Bible literally, a preposterously young Earth is inescapable.

            Also a flat Earth, covered by a solid dome, from which hang the stars, with openings for the sun and moon to pass under the dome. Earth is also immobile, supported by pillars, with waters below and waters above. God Himself opens and closes the storehouses of rain, snow, hail, sleet, etc, to let these forms of precipitation fall. He also walks on the solid dome of Heaven, or sits on the edge of the Earth to see people down below who look like insects.

            God also Himself laid out the foundations of the immobile Earth. Night an day existed before the Sun, as did green plants. The moon is a sign by night and the sun a sign by day, but the sun isn’t responsible for night and day. This is what the Bible literally says.

            We have Hebrew coins showing Yahweh riding in a chariot across the sky, like Apollo. “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” has the same connotation in English as in Hebrew. Yahweh was the chief tribal god of the Hebrews, before He developed into the only god.

            In the Garden of Eden, He appeared to Adam and Eve, and drove them out, personally. He walked and talked with Abraham under the terebinth trees. But by the time of Moses, He spoke only through burning vegetation and storm clouds in the sky. Finally, later in the OT, to see Him is to die. By the NT, He thus has to send His son to Earth.

        • Actually, Genesis 1 is much more in line with the big bang theory which would have begun with a burst of light and energy that only later coalesced into stars and planets. But that is not actually the point, I want to make. The purpose of the Bible was not impart scientific knowledge but to impart knowledge of the unseen God. It used the literary forms that were used by the people of that day. Repetition was not unusual. Genesis 1 treats the aspect of the all-powerful God creator of all, while Genesis 2 shows that He despite being like that is also the personal intimate God interested in a relationship with his creatures. It shows that man was made special for a relationship with God. Indeed, the “God gene” a specific set of genes is not found in any other animal. It is related to our brain development. The Bible is full of different genres, like parables and poetry. It uses analogy a lot like God’s arm etc. The writers were speaking truthfully about their perceptions of the world around them that the sun rises and the sun sets, stars fall, etc. These people who are not even trying to write a scientific paper, they are trying to recount what they saw or they are trying to use physical realities to describe spiritual realities. They use it to comment upon human frailties when they ask you to consider the ant and how it toils. Scientism dismisses all truth that cannot be scientifically proven correct, yet it usually terrible in telling how to deal with the relationships in your life. It has you look down on the things that are understandable instead of looking up to the things that are beyond our comprehension.

          • ” … Sometimes the bible just sounds like utter rubbish written by some untreated lunatic. I suppose its gotta be possible that’s what it is. … ”

            It’s surprising how questioning the book triggers people like the above. I forget what’s its like to be imbued with those teachings (and forget that many people still are). But my former working hypothesis seems to cover it OK, I reckon.

          • You act like this is something brand new. No one in thousands of years ever noticed that light occurred on the first day and the sun, the moon and the stars appeared later. If you are interested in what St. Augustine and the early Hebrew scholars said it was about please continue reading. If you think wisdom began with you and those who agree with you, please move on. St. Augustine wrote often on this topic because he was refuting the Manicheans who believed in a hyper-literal interpretation of every thing. The account of Genesis is allegorical to treat on specific truths. The light and darkness on the first day represent the beginning of the creation of time. The statement has to do with God existing prior to creation and prior to time. Both time and creation will one day come to an end but God is uncreated and eternal. Next the words formless and void set the framework to first six days. The first three days deal with changing formlessness into distinct forms that will be filled on the next three days. The first was the sky or firmament which is actual the Hebrew plural heavens as they thought there were three to seven levels of heaven, the atmosphere only being the first, the seventh being where God existed. The sea and the land were the other forms. The next three days fill those forms so that they are no longer void, with the stars and planets, the fishes of the sea, the animals and man. The seventh day involved rest. To seven oneself means to make a covenant with and to rest had connotations of worship. It was set up like a temple, if you think of three boxes of forms on one side and three boxes of inhabitants on the other side capped off with the pinnacle of worship of God. It moves from the bottom up from inanimate to increasing hierarchy of animate creatures with man closest to the top where communion with God exists. Adam is given the job of tending and guarding the garden which those words are only ever used again when dealing with the instructions of the Levites for the tabernacle. Both the tabernacle and later the temple were built to recreate this Eden like place of communion with God. There were seven commands from God instructing how to build the tabernacle and the temple was built in seven years. Each signs that God was covenanting himself to his people. The Sabbath which is the seventh day, was specifically set apart for that communion time with God.

          • Kathy – unless we find some reliable, repeatable connections from the claims of Genesis, it’s no more helpful than any other ancient writings. In fact ancient writings can be harmful to the progress in understanding reality. They surely have been harmful in the past.

            Aristotle guessed that the Milky Way was the reservoir for the oldest residue of the luminiscent lubricant for the Crystal Spheres. A sort of water/fire combination that got used up. Small globs of it fell to Earth as shooting stars, and larger globs farther away were the comets. This water/fire of the Milky Way was farther away still and never fell to Earth. This confused people for many hundreds of years.

            Aristotle hired men to carry him around in a cart so that he could look for stellar parallax. He didn’t see any so he asserted that the Earth is the center of the universe. The tragic thing is, the Church liked this so much (because they use it to prop up their power) that they tortured and burned people who didn’t believe that this was a valid argument and conclusion. It was a huge setback for science that the Church enforced brutally.

          • I hope you read my later comment as to what the ancient Jewish scholars and St. Augustine taught. It was not meant to be a scientific paper but treats upon the nature of God being uncreated and eternal and creation being the first temple of God.
            That being said, I want to comment upon genes and codons and other scientific matters that I think point to God’s existence. Our DNA is truly remarkable it is made up of just 4 different types of nucleotides that form into triads knowns as codons that make up our genes. This is true of all animate life forms. Yet humans always beget humans, etc. With same 4 building blocks there must be vast sections of similar code in bacteria or dogs etc. yet kind begets kind. This DNA is very ordered, it goes off in a set sequence, turning sections on or off as they split up to become different organs. Each cell is continually instructed by the codons to create this amino acid or that one. Now let me put to you a syllogism. The results of chance are neither ordered nor predictable. Natural things are ordered and predictable. Therefore, natural things are not the result of chance. If you rolled sixes all the time, someone would say that an outside force other than chance is at work. But you look at this order and take for granted the predictability of kind producing kind and say chance. You see something with no apparent source of intelligence DNA acting towards a specific end in an intelligent manner yet deny the existence of a greater intelligence who ordered it. You see codons that form a universal language to the nuclei of all animate things, and say there is no speaker. In some ways, codons show that every life is in a sense spoken into existence. That was not what the original writer meant to say, yet is true. That there was a beginning was not even accepted until scientists were pretty much forced by evidence to accept the Big Bang theory. Before that the scientific assumption was that things always were. That the universe began with a burst of light and energy was totally unforeseen by the original writer of Genesis, yet there it is at the very beginning. You believe in the Big Bang, yet do not conceive of the force powerful enough to thrust all the matter of the universe that is, that far and that fast. I believe it was Hawkings that said that time approached the beginning in a parabolic fashion never reaching it. So that all-powerful force must exist on the other side of time. So we have an all-powerful, non-material being who orders all life and exists outside of time. I choose to call that being God.

          • Kathy –

            The dissipation of sunlight inside organic material leads to a slow accumulation of information in nucleic acids.

            Merely because we don’t know something we shouldn’t make that huge leap to imagine that something even MUCH more unknowable and mysterious is causing the buildup of some complex pattern in nature, organic chemistry, or even the universe.

            There’s a very interesting scientific description of our universe coming from the eternally-inflating multiverse beyond.

          • “… The results of chance are neither ordered nor predictable. Natural things are ordered and predictable. Therefore, natural things are not the result of chance. … ”

            Goodness Kathy, you’re kidding yourself. You have your Kathy characteristics because, by chance, one of billions of your dad’s sperm got to the one available egg first, to mix and order the genome to generates a Kathy, rather than someone with a completely different natural form and order, from the same parents.

            If you think chance plays no role in creating natural order from chance, via a mere trend toward an unachievable equilibrium of theoretical ‘perfect natural order’, then you’ve obviously never looked at a dynamic weather satellite animation, or watched a river flow, or clouds move.

            So you must be blinkering yourself with memes.

            You’re really making what amounts to irrational excuses, to hold on to religious presuppositions within that shallow and plainly incorrect assertion. Is it really so out of all possibilities to let go of obviously false implications of having prior-accepted (without physical proof, mind you) that scriptures are god’s truth?

            Surely you wouldn’t have to struggle to falsely deny the relationship and reality of chance creating order, if scripture were actually the physical logical truth. Nor to keep making elaborate pseudo-theological excuses for why scripture doesn’t in fact seem to be truth, at all, as you pursued above, to rationalize an imaginary foundation under the irrational.

            It’s painful for believers to admit that scripture is not god’s truth, but it requires some exertion of personal courage to overcome fear, to pursue what’s actually true, not what merely claimed to be truth, when we were children. The alternative to remain so desperate to believe the not true, that you’ll continue to spare no effort to repeatedly insert an imaginary foundation under what is actually foundationless.

          • Life continues not because of chance but because of sameness. You share identical genes over 99% with your gender. Your veins and arteries are all in the same place. Your liver and heart and vital organs are all in the same place and work in the same way. It would be what we call in philosophy the “accidentals” that are subject to change. The shape of your brow or the color of your eyes. You developed the same way in the womb for instance at 6 mos in utero your front teeth began to form. Most genetic defects lead to shortened life spans or impairments which in nature would be at an extreme disadvantage. Many like Down’s Syndrome kids are infertile. Genes also have a self-correcting feature. There are marvels like a woman’s breast milk will change if a the baby is premature to provide for its different needs. An uneducated woman who never went to school can still change the formulation of her breast milk, not by her mind but by her genes. Other species have the same consistency of gene make up within. Most cross species mixes create animals like mules, or ligers, or tigons that are infertile or on rare occasion their children are. Life does not progress and continue through chance but through sameness. If genes were truly a crapshoot, every pairing would be up for grabs and the odds of getting the same species each time would be like 1 to 10billionth power.

          • Kathy,

            Genesis 1 could not possibly be more at odds with the Big Band Theory than if it were expressly written with that purpose in mind.

          • Kathy Labosh October 15, 2018 at 10:30 pm

            Evolution proceeds with most of the next generation’s genome being the same as the previous generation’s.

            But beneficial mutations are passed on to the next generation at higher rates than neutral or negative mutations.

            Down’s syndrome is an instructive case. It is trisomy 21. Why do you suppose that with 22 autosomal chromosome pairs, only trisomy 21 individuals manage to survive into adulthood? Trisomy should occur in the other 21 autosomal chromosomes at least as often as with #21. And indeed, it does. But 20% or more of conceptions spontaneously abort. Trisomy 21 fetuses survive to be born at much higher rates than other trisomatic mutations because chromosome #21 is tiny and has even fewer genes than chromosome #22. Further, it has the fewest genes coding for protein complexes, ie those in which two or more proteins are needed for normal functioning.

          • I forgot to post the paper;
            Origin of Information Encoding in Nucleic Acids through a Dissipation-Replication Relation

            https://arxiv.org/pdf/1804.05939.pdf
            from the intro
            In this paper, from within the frameworks of the stereochemical theory and non-equilibrium thermodynam- ics, we propose a novel theory for the physical-chemical basis of the specificity of these associations between codons/anticodons and amino acids. The basis we propose is related to the non-equilibrium thermodynamic im- perative of the production of entropy for the origin, proliferation, and evolution of the irreversible process known as life. In particular, we consider the dissipation of the Archean solar photon spectrum at Earth’s surface as the driver of the origin and evolution of life and show how information related to the efficient dissipation of this solar photon potential could have been the first information programmed into the genome.

  1. Space is really big. There’s an astounding lot of stuff out there that doesn’t hit us because space is so big. The stuff per volume ratio is just that low.

    • Yeah, the “narrowly missed ” actually means roughly twice as far as the moon since L1 and L2 are outside the lunar orbit.

      Neither are we likely to hit them next time around. since the reason those clusters are there is precisely because they are the L1 and L2 distances. Almost anything closer has already fallen into the Earth’s gravity well or been ejected.

      If that filament had shifted in our direction by a mere 0.005 AU (~500,000 miles), Earth would have experienced a worldwide storm of 1000+ meteors per hour.

      Hey if the moon moved by just have that amount , it would hit the Earth and destroy us. Phew ! That was close. I wonder why we never wonder about that happening. We “narrowly miss” the moon every month.

      Shock discovery.

      • That would only be true if the the orbital period of the cometary debris was an even multiple of the earth’s orbital period.

      • No, Greg. You are absolutely wrong and ridiculous. And everybody else in this thread talking about Lagrangian points had better buy a clue.

        The cometary dust is not orbiting at the Lagrangian points; it is orbiting along the original path of the comet. The only reason the Lagrangian points are shown in the image at all is because the model was developed specifically to forecast possible damage from the Draconids to research satellites orbiting at those points. The clusters of debris there really are coincidental and the Earth really did “shoot the gap” this time.

  2. Lot’s of people name it [nature] . . . the Will of “the Lord God of Hosts” which is why I think science evolved to begin with . . .

    • What could be considered scientific observations were made by the ancients and even cavemen (people of cave?), that’s a long way from the modern scientific method.

      Science began when philosophers started looking for natural explanations for observations, rather than relying upon or making up mythological stories to explain them. But it took a long time for that naturalistic approach to develop into the scientific method.

      From philosopher and mathematician Thales of Miletus, c. 600 BC, to experimentalists of the 16th and 17th centuries AD, such as Gilbert and Galileo, is some 2200 years.

      The Scientific Revolution is usually dated from AD 1543, when Copernicus and Vesalius published their famous books. But final evolution of the scientific method awaited the turn of the 17th century, with Gilbert and GG. Kepler (1609) relied upon Tycho’s precise, naked eye observations of Mars to discover its elliptical orbit and derive his laws of planetary motion, but didn’t offer an hypothesis testable and capable of being shown false by experiment. So, in this case at least, he didn’t practice all aspects of the modern method.

      • Kepler’s curve-fitting exercise would have gone much more quickly and easily had he not assumed at the outset that if it were as simple as an ellipse, somebody already would have figured that out.

        • The important point is that he looked at the measurements made by Tycho and “connected the dots”. The fact that others at a later time checked the results is immaterial – his conclusion remained valid.

        • My comment was not well worded.

          What I meant to convey is that he tried all sorts of exotic curves before finally trying a simple ellipse. He didn’t begin with that curve because he assumed, wrongly, that someone must have tried it before him.

          The idea that orbits must be perfectly circular was still strong then. Even Copernicus had assumed them, and GG until Kepler wised him up.

      • Actually, there’s a reason why science only developed in Christian Europe rather than great civilizations such as China, Persia, Rome, Greece, or the Islamic caliphate. Only Christianity posited a rational, law-giving Supreme Being who created a rational, law-following universe which could be apprehended by rational creatures made in His image.

        • Then how do you explain the ancient Greeks? Their pantheon was as irrational as any you could find but the Greeks laid down the foundations for much of our thinking.

        • Don’t forget anthropic, that the Christians got their rational, law-giving Supreme Being who created a rational, law-following universe from Judaism.

          • Yet both the Old and New Testaments retain the prescientific cosmology and mythology of the Ancient Near East, rather than reflecting the protoscientific Hellenistic philosophy surrounding the Levant and the Jewish colonies in Alexandria and latter Rome. (As you may know, the Septuagint Greek translation of the OT was made in 3rd and 2nd BC Alexandria, allegedly by 72 Jewish scholars, supposedly, but improbably, six from each of the 12 Hebrew tribes, hence the name.)

            Not that classical pagan science wasn’t also hampered by religious strictures. Ancient Greek advocates of heliocentrism, like Aristarchos of Samos (3rd century BC), were afraid to push their views too hard because even among pagans, putting the sun rather than earth at the center of the universe seemed impious.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heliocentrism#Pythagoreans

        • the steady development of mathematics was key, and that was enabled by the printing press which allowed the dissemination of information between scholarly centers of thought in Europe.

          • Copernicus specifically said that his book was for “mathematicians”. Though a Catholic canon, he was encouraged to publish by his Protestant pupil Rheticus, and “On the Revolutions” was printed in Lutheran Nürnberg.

          • Also, shortly after European adoption of metal moving type and invention of the printing press, Constantinople fell to the Turks in AD 1453. This led to an exodus of Greek scholars into Western Europe, bringing copies of ancient texts with them. Copernicus himself learned Greek from one such refugee.

            Before this exodus, western Europeans had had to rely for many ancient scientific works on Arabic translations of the original Greek, then further translated into Latin.

          • Read Michael E. Hobart’s book, “The Great Rift,” which asserts that the origin of the difference between two fundamentally different conceptions of how to understand and represent the world began with the work of Renaissance thinkers who invented a revolutionary mathematical system—relational numeracy. By creating meaning through numbers and abstract symbols rather than words, relational numeracy allowed inquisitive minds to vault beyond the constraints of language and explore the natural world with a fresh interpretive vision. (Harvard University Press, April 2018)

        • IMO the printing press was important, with improved mathematics, but the main impetus behind the Scientific Revolution was the Renaissance.

          This effect came in two waves:

          1. The discovery of ancient science, part of a revived interest in classical learning, and

          2. The questioning of received authority both of the ancients and contemporary Church teaching, leading to direct observation of reality and experiment as the standard of truth.

          • There was no “ancient science” as we understand it. Aristotle thought that heavier objects fell faster than lighter objects, but neither he nor anyone else subjected this to empirical trial.

            For the Greeks, a rationally argued theory was good enough. For the Chinese, empiricism was sometimes embraced, but they had no good reason to think the universe ran by logical mathematical principles. It took Christian Europe to put theory and empiricism together to form the scientific method.

            By the way, serious historians no longer embrace the so-called “Dark Ages” nonsense invented in the 1800s.

          • Frank E James October 13, 2018 at 9:45 pm

            The roots of modern science do indeed lie in ancient Greece. As mentioned above, the beginnings of science date to the generation of Thales, who first looked for naturalistic explanations of observations from mythology.

            Compare ancient Greek recognition of the sphericity of Earth and other bodies in the universe with the prevailing concept of a flat Earth covered by a solid dome.

            You’re right that the empirical aspect was the next step in the development of modern science. But first, natural philosophers had to get away from mythology, whether classical pagan or biblical, ie ancient Near Eastern.

            The scientific method did indeed originate in Christian Europe, but only after the Reformation challenged the authority of the Church. Empiricism was also championed by the Muslim natural philosopher Ibn al-Haytham of Basra, c. AD 1000.

            The Dark Ages is still a period recognized by historians, alternatively called the early Middle Ages. While not all ancient learning was lost during this period, it’s simply tendentious to assert that culture continued to flourish from AD 476 to 1066 at the same level as during the previous 600 years. It’s true that the Dark Ages weren’t as dark as often made out, civilization did generally backtrack during that period.

            The colder climate played a role in barbarian invasions of more advanced southern Europe. Pagan northern Europe did however obviously enjoy more advanced boat-building technology and possibly metallurgy.

            Visigothic Spain had the best of classical astronomy and Nordic naval tech. But that didn’t keep them from falling to Arabic and Berber amphibious assault, energized by Islam, dedicated to spreading the faith by the sword.

          • While I agree with both of your points, I would add the essential factor of cloistered communities engaged in intellectual pursuits that were largely incomprehensible to the ruling class.

            Unfortunately, this rupture has only increased since then, and the effect is most striking in the appalling lack of any significant progress in methods of learning, and especially in the learning of language. The reason for this IMO is quite simple – language is the primary tool of control for the ruling class. And as such it is its capability to deceive, to manipulate the emotions, and to paralyze the subjects is honed at the expense of its communicative potential.

            This is an inevitable development, since reliable communication depends on reason, logic, and consistency. But these qualities are protective against the manipulative aspects of language, and thus must be suppressed.

            The remarkable thing is that scientists have now co-existed more or less contentedly with all manner of thuggish ruling groups for several hundred years. To an outsider like me, it appears to be a culturally created type of schizophrenia, where the scientist puts on his thinking brain when concentrating on his area of expertise, and becomes a numbskull or a sociopath when he leaves his workplace for home and family.

        • WHO really started science was Roger Bacon – around 1250.

          He proposed examining natural phenomena with the use of experimentation, the use of mathematics to describe and measure such phenomena, and proposed the establishment of a set of national universities where researchers could work and compare findings…..

          They locked him up in the March of Ancona for 13 years for believing that Man could understand the creations of God better in this way than by reading the Bible…

          • Geezer,

            Bacon made noises in the general direction of experimentation, and actually engaged in some hands-on science in the case of gunpowder, but his practice was still not the scientific method as known today.

            However, some 350 years later another Englishman, William Gilbert, could lay claim to being the first true modern scientist. Whether he read Bacon or not, I don’t know. Bacon is reputed to have observed that compasses (lodestones) deviated from true north.

            The first mention of a compass in Europe was in AD 1190 by another Englishman, Alexander Neckam, abbot of Cirencester from 1213 until his death in 1217. He was foster brother to King Richard I Lionheart. Because they shared the same birth day, his mom was hired to nurse the future king.

      • Should have mentioned that the English word “scientist” wasn’t coined until 1834. Before that, practitioners of the scientific method were “natural philosophers” or “naturalists”. Or of specific disciplines, such as “astronomer”, or later, “geologist”.

        • re: Socrates who described the flow of water down a hill as “it is water’s nature to do so”. We now describe it as basic physics.

          • Think you mean Aristotle.

            GG overthrew Aristotelian physics with his demonstration that objects of the same shape but different masses fall at the same speed, and by showing that the surface of the moon wasn’t “perfect”.

          • ssge: IIRC, ‘nature’ and ‘physics’ are of the same meaning, latin and greek. With ‘mechanics’ meaning ‘work’. Good to remember the roots…..

          • Yup. Even in modern Greek, “nature” is still “phuse” or “physe”, depending upon whether you follow the sound or spelling convention. The pronunciation of the final vowel has changed from Attic Greek, however.

            Latin transliterated the Greek word as “physicis”.

      • I find some of these comments amusing as there are attempts to trash the Bible’s accounts of universe and stars. It was composed over three thousand years ago without the aide of telescopes, yet many observations were very accurate. It was never intended to be a scientific textbook. Perceval Lowell, in 1907, with a telescope saw, what he considered, irrigation canals on Mars and assumed alien life on that planet. Today we know better. Do we ridicule Lowell for his observations?
        Just a note: We cannot steer our planet to avoid inevitable meteor showers.

    • Yes!! It is becoming increasingly clear that “Biblical” disasters (and even greater events) have plagued mankind over, at least, the last 13,000 years. Carlson’s explanations are particularly convincing. Do yourself a favor and follow the link above. It appears that there have been MULTIPLE onslaughts that visited destruction on our planet since the 12,900 years ago first Younger Dryas event and the legends and attribution to “God(s)”reflect the lack of scientific explanations available to the survivors and their descendants. We (at least some) are now aware that BIG cometary debris orbiting the Sun and crossing our orbit making catastrophic collisions possible. We transit the Taurid stream twice a year and it takes 9 days to complete each of the two. Our second transit is coming up at the end of this month. It is not unrelated to this transit that Halloween and the Day of the Dead occur when they do.

      Indeed! BEWARE THE TAURIDS!!!

  3. Given the price and demand for recovered meteorites by the jewelry business, it would have been raining money for somebody.

  4. Threading the eye of the needle:
    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/bf/Lagrangianpointsanimated.gif

    The comet dust gap at 1 AU that Earth-Moon traverses will still be there on the next lap… and the next lap… and the next lap. The dust concentrations at L1 and L2 are also why we put orbiting telescopes to study the sun or the magnetic sheath around Earth from the solar wind at those locations. LaGrange has something to say about that mathematically.

    Read more here:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lagrangian_point

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/bf/Lagrangianpointsanimated.gif

      • Probably not. I think the image with the L1 and L2 points shows happenstance.

        Big years for meteor showers generally happen fairly soon after they reach perihelion.

        See https://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-news/observing-news/leonids-2002-the-grand-finale/ for information about the activity related to the last close approach of Comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle.

        This isn’t the first peak from the Draconids, see https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/small-bodies/comets/21p-giacobini-zinner/in-depth/ which notes

        A meteor storm is observed when one thousand or more meteors are seen per hour at the location of the observer. During its peak in 1933, 500 Draconid meteors were seen per minute in Europe. 1946 was also a good year for the Draconids, where 50 -100 were seen per minute in the U.S.

        The comet has a period of 6.6 years, so check back then.

      • The earth would only hit the same spot in the cometary debris each year if the orbital period of the debris was an even multiple of the earth’s orbital period.
        The stuff isn’t just hanging there in space. It’s following the orbit of the comet that formed the debris trail.

        • “The stuff isn’t just hanging there in space.”

          Good point…We’re not going to ‘hit’ it or alter its orbit especially if its orbit isn’t too close to the Earth’s gravity well when they do rendezvous. And the odds that is misses next time is even far higher. Close only counts in horse shoes and hand grenades.

          OTH though, until it doesn’t because of an unknown in its outer orbital interactions and specifics. But it probably takes many multiples of periodic orbits to cause any future collision and we would know about it far in advance. We just need to worry about the big ones with our name on it coming out of left field that we have no record of and haven’t seen yet.

  5. Gee…i wonder how the computer knows so much about comet tails? I guess computers just ‘know’ this stuff. All hail the great and powerful computer!

    My beef here is with the writer, not the information contained in the article. I assume that they was some actual data collected, and human understanding of physics that that was used to come to the above conclusion, but you would never know it from the way it is written.

    Computers can calculate faster and more efficiently than humans, but they don’t ‘know’ anything! I wish the people who wrote this stuff would stop treating computers as if the were mystical oracles.

  6. What direction are those filaments of comet dust moving? Are the moving toward the sun? Are they moving in an orbit around the sun? Is the gap caused by the fact that we have already taken impacts much worse in the past due to this filament always being there and being worn away by the earth in its orbit?

  7. Not a fan of government waste but I wouldn’t mind if NASA rocketed a bunch of BBs and bags of sand into space and then shot them down into the earth’s atmosphere so earthlings could have a really cool meteor show…

    Some years ago during the Leonids in Nov, I took my two sons out about midnight to see them. I drove down to a rest area heading towards San Diego but it was packed and cloudy. I headed back home thinking the night was a waste but then remembered a park high up on a hill in Laguna Niguel that had a nice view of the ocean and OC. We went up there and the place was packed with people and even several fire trucks with fireman in the crowd. It was like a party at 1:30AM. I stood there with my youngest son next to me and counted over 750 meteors that night. Many exploded in the sky and lit the backs of some of the wispy clouds.

    Was the coolest nature show I’ve ever seen so far…

    • My bf of nearly 6 years took me stargazing in Dec of 2012. It was a conjunction between the usual geminids and a fairly large asteroid leaving a debris field. We drove an hour northwest of Atl to a large tract of GA Pacific land where they grow pulp wood, and a hunting club he belongs to lease hunting rights. It was by far the absolutely most amazing first date I’ve *ever* been on! Coldest too at 26 °F. There were hundreds per hour, and we even witnessed a slow moving fireball that lit the entire sky green! My mom told me the next day that (probably) it was one of the brightest in recorded history. I told him that night he was setting the bar pretty high for anyone that I might date later on. 6 years on, we still go to that hill top to watch meteor showers, and since we’ve been discussing marriage, I thought it only fitting that my engagement ring be a meteorite. And here I thought it was such a wonderfully unique idea…

  8. Yawn!!
    This happens TWICE a year as I understand the physics of it all …. EVERY year.
    Randal Carlson covers this quite well and is well worth doing a search on YouTube to watch, listen and learn.

    SO – nothing to see here folks – move on. (despite there being plenty to see and wonder at)

    Yes, the link in another comment above states the same, I just wanted to feel involved. 🙂

    • Meteor storms of 1,000/hour do not happen every year. If we just missed one this year, then I want to know if there’s a chance next year. The most recent Leonid storm (they happen every 33-34 years) had significantly elevated counts for a couple years. It sounds like this dust stream hasn’t had time to stretch along the comet’s orbit, so I doubt there will be an outburst next year.

      Some of the Leonid storms are so spectacular that people say it looks as that the sky is moving.

      • Hi Ric
        Yes, you may well be correct in what you say – so I’ll word it differently.

        There are two chances every year that this MAY happen – to the degree it has.
        There ARE two crossings every year during a full earth rotation around the sun, and as the earth/sun/planets do not have a perfectly circular orbit, events during each crossing period will without doubt, manifest with different outcomes – such as what has just occurred.

        If I’m wrong – no problem.
        I would like to think though that we are BOTH correct – for whatever that is worth.

  9. If anyone was wondering what the dotted tracks are in that photo of meteor streaks, those are airplane red beacons or strobe lights showing the airplane’s track during the time lapse exposure.

  10. So you’re just a little rock drifting in space, perhaps you have a bit of slow elliptical gig with the Sun or some heavy vector from rude encounters with other Astrobumps and potato-lumps. But these vectors have mostly cancelled each other and you’re copa-centric with the solar system, just chillin’.

    Every now and then you wiggle-woggle as something BIG passes nearby which leaves you a bit perturbed. You do a little dusting now and then to spruce up the neighborhood and your day/night sides fill you with just enough electrostatic tickle and a tug of graviton tockle to gather little bits. Just a big lovable clump, like a giant iron-filled molar enjoying the solitude of space grooving on the universe.

    But the groove is changing. You are humming with beacons and bitcoms and bacon commercials, ringing with SATCOM beams and HF RTTY streams, and music and bouncy over-the-horizon PAVE PAWS and wave claws of a modern age. And music, voices! Millions of voices. Single sideband gwobbles and gwerps, AM throbby-bumps and gurgle-beats, quavering FM and chaotic barking bursty bits channelized and encrypted for your protection. Lissen up party people, meat is in the house. And it’s talking.

    And IT is the source, that THING, a rolling blue ball with puffy white squiggles tumbling towards you. Clearly this is a bad place to be because it is headed in your direction and its inhabitants are too stupid or inconsiderate to move aside.

    Its mass tugs at you as a thin layer of atmosphere sears blazing heat through your little rocky self. It becomes thicker and you dissolve in an explosion of heat and light. Your elementary particles will add mass to this malevolent menace as a few creatures point their stubby fingers at your death scream and say, “Ooooooooooooooo!“.

    Then they will get on their cell phones and blabble over the radio accusing YOU of attacking THEM.

    Stoopid PEOPLE on their BIG BLUE DEATH MARBLE.

    • So much for dust aggregating into larger particles, eventually forming a planetoid that can then crash into the Earth.

      Maybe by 2100?
      Nope, just another fantasy fear gone wild.

      • Except that protoplanetary disks have been observed, to include one this year with an exoplanet forming in it. Lead author the aptly named Dr. Keppler:

        Astronomy & Astrophysics
        ESO 2018
        June 30, 2018

        Discovery of a planetary-mass companion within the gap of the transition disk around PDS 70 *

        https://www.eso.org/public/archives/releases/sciencepapers/eso1821/eso1821a.pdf

        Abstract

        Context. Young circumstellar disks are the birthplaces of planets. Their study is of prime interest to understand the physical and chemical conditions under which planet formation takes place. Only very few detections of planet candidates within these disks exist, and most of them are currently suspected to be disk features.

        Aims. In this context, the transition disk around the young star PDS 70 is of particular interest, due to its large gap identified in previous observations, indicative of ongoing planet formation. We aim to search for the presence of an embedded young planet and search for disk structures that may be the result of disk-planet interactions and other evolutionary processes.

        Methods. We analyse new and archival near-infrared (NIR) images of the transition disk PDS 70 obtained with the VLT/SPHERE, VLT/NaCo and Gemini/NICI instruments in polarimetric differential imaging (PDI) and angular differential imaging (ADI) modes.
        Results. We detect a point source within the gap of the disk at about 195 mas (∼22 au) projected separation. The detection is confirmed at five different epochs, in three filter bands and using different instruments. The astrometry results in an object of bound nature, with high significance.

        The comparison of the measured magnitudes and colours to evolutionary tracks suggests that the detection is a companion of planetary mass. The luminosity of the detected object is consistent with that of an L-type dwarf, but its IR colours are redder, possibly indicating the presence of warm surrounding material. Further, we confirm the detection of a large gap of ∼54 au in size within the disk in our scattered light images, and detect a signal from an inner disk component. We find that its spatial extent is very likely smaller than ∼17 au in radius, and its position angle is consistent with that of the outer disk. The images of the outer disk show evidence of a complex azimuthal brightness distribution which is different at different wavelengths and may in part be explained by Rayleigh scattering from very small grains. Conclusions. The detection of a young protoplanet within the gap of the transition disk around PDS 70 opens the door to a so far observationally unexplored parameter space of planetary formation and evolution. Future observations of this system at different wavelengths and continuing astrometry will allow us to test theoretical predictions regarding planet-disk interactions, planetary atmospheres and evolutionary models.

        • Yup. And planetesimals, protoplanets and finally planets form as local clumps large enough gravitationally to attract matter from their vicinity, where their attraction is stronger than more distant or less massive clumps.

  11. What a pity we missed it. The IPCC could have said “I told you the sky was falling” and some idiots may even have still believed them.

  12. I like that heading;

    Earth Narrowly Misses Massive Meteor Storm

    Sounds like somebody down at the backend of Planet Ark gave the steering oar a big heave and thereby prevented Planet Ark from colliding with some Massive Meteors

    Maybe I’ll read that again; 🙂

    • That’s exactly how I reacted, too! Except I wanted to call in the planetary helmsman and upbraid him/her/it for steering so close to them.

  13. According to me as Meteor storms of 1,000/hour don’t take place each and every year. It will be a rare case in my opinion. When we just missed one this year, then I wish to be aware of if there’s an opportunity next year. The absolute most current Leonid storm which transpires every single 33-34 years approx. had somewhat increased points to get a couple years. It seems like this dust stream hasn’t had time for us to stretch across the comet’s orbit, to which I highly doubt there is going to be an outburst upcoming year. but who knows what will happen in future.

  14. From “Romeo and Juliet” by the Bard
    “For my mind misgives some consequence yet hanging in the stars shall bitterly begin”
    A quote that always seemed to come mind when going to a Uni disco.

  15. You guys just crack me up. Talking of the Word of God. You strain at the simplest thought. You are men trying to explain away the Creator. “Thinking themselves to be wise, they became fools”.

    The Word of God needs no one to explain it, if you be enlighten. If you can explain it, then it is and has transformed you.

    Not everything needs an answer. Not everything needs to be understood. Nor will they ever be, here on Earth. For if we knew the answer to everything and understood everything, greater would be the condemnation. You would be men without excuse. Enlightenment does not always lead to righteous acts (righteousness).

    Today, we know many good things to do yet do them not. Knowing more will not benefit you.

    • Cliff,

      When, as it so often does, the Word of God conflicts irreconcilably with the Work of God, it needs explanation or interpretation.

      If you don’t try to understand the Bible, how can you claim that you’ve read it and taken its messages to heart?

      • John

        I would, as God, men sought truth. God gives to all those, liberally. Again, even to act upon it.

        The eyes of men are blinded, so that the truth is not revealed but to only those whom he has chosen.

        In knowledge, there is true riches. That’s why I marvel at what some here, know. The observed workings of creation. Yet, men still cannot precise God. Incredibly, some believe all of the observed is chance happening. Yet they freely admit the chance is in the trillions to one.

        Some have faith, just not in the Creator. For those men, they have the greater faith. To believe in chance and not to simply believe God’s Word.

          • meterorologist in research

            “Cliff – I’m interested in your information. Tell us what you know about God.”

            God the Father? God the Son? God the Holy Spirit? Creator? His power? Presents? Omniscients? God offer of Salvation?

            If you are interest in salvation, I will share. I am sure Anthony has not allowed this article to foster this type of exchange. Sharing what I know will about God will not satisfy.

            “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness”

            So, your question is too broad.

            Cliff

          • Cliff – thanks.

            You really really want a personal god. You’ve read and can recall convincing verses from compiled and authorized writings from your religious tradition and from later religious writers.

            So now you think you know about God. At my age I’ve come to realize that this is a comforting way to live a life, as long as you don’t hurt anyone.

  16. The Goblin Planet has been found just before Halloween.

    Scientists have discovered yet another marker on the trail toward the putative Planet Nine.
    That clue is 2015 TG387, a newfound object in the far outer solar system, way beyond Pluto. The orbit of 2015 TG387 shares peculiarities with those of other extremely far-flung bodies, which appear to have been shaped by the gravity of a very large object in that distant, frigid realm — the hypothesized Planet Nine, also known as Planet X.

    https://www.space.com/41995-dwarf-planet-the-goblin-discovery-planet-nine.html

  17. This might explain something I observed during a summer vacation in the 1950’s. I was laying on the lawn of our vacation home in Kennebunkport Maine looking up at the sky. I noticed very faint meteors were coming down like rain. I watched for about 15 minutes. Have always wondered why 60 meteors per hour was considered a large meteor shower.

    Gordon Morrison

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