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Rank: Tornado
55 years old
Mishawaka, IN
Born Sep-13-1962
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18 Feb 2009
Strange Green Comet Passing by Earth Next Week
Wednesday, February 18, 2009

WASHINGTON An odd, greenish backward-flying comet is zipping by Earth this month, as it takes its only trip toward the sun from the farthest edges of the solar system.

The comet is called Lulin, and there's a chance it can be seen with the naked eye far from city lights, astronomers say. But you'll most likely need a telescope, or at least binoculars, to spot it.

The best opportunity is just before dawn one-third of the way up the southern sky. It should be near Saturn and two bright stars, Spica and Regula.

On Monday at 10:43 p.m. EST, it will be 38 million miles from Earth, the closest it will ever get, according to Donald Yeomans, manager of NASA's Near Earth Object program.

The story behind the comet is more intriguing than its appearance the greenish tinge may be hard for many to discern. The color comes from a type of carbon and cyanogen, a poisonous gas.

Lulin was discovered by a Chinese teenager two years ago. It still has many of its original gases gases that are usually stripped away as comets near the sun. Unlike most comets viewable from Earth, this one hasn't been this close to the sun before, Yeomans said.

While all the planets and most of the other objects in the solar system circle the sun counterclockwise, Lulin circles clockwise, said NASA astronomer Stephen Edberg.

Thanks to an optical illusion, from Earth it appears as if the comet's tail is in the front as the comet approaches Earth and the sun.

"It essentially is going backwards through the solar system," he said.

It came from the outskirts of the solar system, 18 trillion miles away. Once it's made the journey around the sun, Lulin will gain enough speed to escape the solar system, Edberg said.

"If you are interested in comets, make sure you see it," he said. "But it's not going to be a real great blast for the general public."

25 Jan 2009
I found one source with a multitude of links on both sides of this controversial subject.





There is some very good reading regardless of which side of the fence you occupy or if you happen to be sitting on said fence.
23 Jan 2009
Arkansas At Risk For Major Earthquake?
Expert Says Previously Unknown Fault, Natural Gas Pipeline Could Be Deadly Combo

LITTLE ROCK, Ark., Jan. 21, 2009 (AP) A previously unknown fault in eastern Arkansas could trigger a magnitude 7 earthquake with an epicenter near a major natural gas pipeline, a scientist said Wednesday.

Haydar Al-Shukri, the director of the Arkansas Earthquake Center at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, said the fault is separate from the New Madrid fault responsible for a series of quakes in 1811-12 that caused the Mississippi River to flow backward.

Acres of cotton fields cover the fault west of Marianna, about 100 miles east of Little Rock, but stretches of fine sand mixed with fertile soil gave away the fault's location, Al-Shukri said. Liquefied sand bubbled up through cracks in the earth, while ground radar and digs showed vents that let the sand reach the surface, he said.

The fault, likely created in the last 5,000 years, sparked at least one magnitude 7 earthquake in its history. Such temblors cause massive destruction in their wake.

"This is a very, very dangerous (area) at risk of earthquake," Al-Shukri said. "When you talk about (magnitude) 7 and plus, this is going to be a major disaster."

Al-Shukri did not identify a time frame for the potential earthquake.

Such a quake would affect Little Rock and neighboring states such as Tennessee and Mississippi, Al-Shukri said.

The researcher has said a gas pipeline crossed the newly discovered fault. He declined to name the company that owned the pipeline. Al-Shukri had said in a speech at the University of Arkansas' Clinton School of Public Service that the company was building a large line through the area, mirroring the old one's path.

8 Jan 2009
Magnitude 5.0 Quake Jolts Southern California

LOS ANGELES A moderate earthquake struck Southern California Thursday night in San Bernardino, with shaking felt from Los Angeles 55 miles to the west and south to Orange County.

The U.S. Geological Survey shows a preliminary 5.0-magnitude quake struck at 7:49 p.m. about one mile south of San Bernardino. The USGS initially reported it at 4.9.

It was not immediately clear whether any damages or injuries occurred. The lines to the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department were busy. Orange County and Los Angeles County sheriff's officials said there was no immediate reports of damage.

Bryan Gillott, a tattoo artist who works at Alla Prima Ink Lab in San Bernardino, said he felt the ground rolling under his feet for several seconds. He said he did not see any damage.

"I was on the computer," he said. "We all just got to a doorway and waited for it to be over."

Gillott said he tried to call his mother on his cell phone but the didn't go through.

5 Jan 2009
No, it's not a movie. smile.gif

Darvaza: The Burning Gates

In 1971 a search for gas went wrong when a whole drilling rig fell into an underground cavern. Natural gas started coming up from the hole. It was set alight so it wouldn't kill everything around. For 35 years now the flames keep burning providing an spectacular seen for tourists. At night the burning gas makes the crater seen from miles away. The crater is located in Turkmenistan in the heart of the Karakum desert. The crater is called Darvaza or The Burning Gates.

More pictures and a Youtube clip here:

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