Google Earth leads to spectacular meteor crater find

Google Earth leads to spectacular meteor crater find. Random science news from Anthony Watts. See? He runs a science blog, not an anti-science blog! This story makes a pretty good fig-leaf though.

The Kamil crater in the Egyptian desert was first spotted in 2008 by mineralogist Vincenzo De Michele in Google Earth imagery. From a European Space Agency press release:

One day within the last several thousand years, a rare metallic meteorite travelling over 12 000 km/hour smashed into Earth’s surface near what is today the trackless border region between Egypt, Sudan and Libya. The impact of the 1.3 m, 10-tonne chunk of iron generated a fireball and plume that would have been visible over 1000 km away, and drilled a hole 16 m deep and 45 m wide into the rocky terrain.

NASA discovery: solar storms don’t always travel in straight lines

NASA discovery: solar storms don’t always travel in straight lines. Anthony Watts posts another NASA news report, Solar Storms can Change Directions, Surprising Forecasters. A 2008 coronal mass ejection (CME) was observed by NASA’s STEREO-A and STEREO–B spacecraft. The researchers speculate that CME’s follow the sun’s curving magnetic field until they get swept up by the solar wind. The paper by Byrne et al, Propagation of an Earth-directed coronal mass ejection in three dimensions, is in the Sept. 21, 2010 issue of Nature Communications.

The Dec. 12, 2008 coronal mass ejection observed by STEREO. Source: NASA.

I guess Anthony thinks this report is helpful in suggesting that a) we don’t know anything about that big fiery ball in the sky, and b) them scientists are going to change their minds anyway, so don’t bother listening to them.

Where the particulates are (and aren’t)

Where the particulates are (and aren’t). NASA posts a press release (New Map Offers a Global View of Health-Sapping Air Pollution) about an estimate of the global distribution of fine particulate matter, and talks about efforts to assess the health risks these particles pose. Anthony Watts decides it’s all just dust (natural!).

Global Particulate Matter (<2.5μm) Distribution

Satellite-derived map of particulate matter (<2.5μm) distribution averaged over 2001-2006. Source: Dalhousie University.

Donkelaar and Randall Martin published Global Estimates of Ambient Fine Particulate Matter Concentrations from Satellite-Based Aerosol Optical Depth: Development and Application in Environmental Health Perspectives. They combined data from the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) on NASA’s Terra satellite and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument on both NASA’s Aqua and Terra satellites.

Why the random grousing about random NASA research, Anthony? Just some kind of reflexive urge? The commenters join in with a chorus of “scare tactics!”

The planet Mercury has a comet like tail

The planet Mercury has a comet like tail. Anthony Watts posts a random Eurekalert press release, a Boston University Center for Space Physics paper about Mercury, to prove that he’s a well-rounded lover of knowledge. His value-added insight? Not a single word. Aside from dropping the dash from “comet-like”.

Hey, monkeys have tails too! Compare and contrast.

Nice tail, Mercury! Source - NASA/STEREO.

Boom-de-ah-da, Boom-de-ah-da.