Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Dead Man's Revenge

Last month the University of Arizona predicted that an asteroid would collide with Earth, or more accurately with the Earth's atmosphere, on October 7. It did. This was the first time an asteroid on a collision course with Earth has been spotted before it entered our atmosphere. Bizarrely, in our media-saturated world, there was no footage of what must have been a huge fireball as it burned up in our atmosphere, over the Sudan in Africa. What was captured on video (a frame of which is shown above) was the aftermath: the windblown trail of the asteroid after it burned up.

The interesting bit about this image is that the trail shown in the picture is glowing. That's not reflected sunlight making the trail glow, it's light emitted by the trail itself. Cool, eh? These have been spotted before - they're called "persistent trains" - but no one knows exactly what causes them. Something to do with the ionized gas left in the wake of the asteroid. They come in all sorts of pretty colors too!

The photo is from NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day. It's a great way to start your morning!

Remember the Dead Man's beer? Remember the mystery beer we found amid the cases, with the odd-sized bottle and no label?

We opened it and tried it last weekend. Three words: nasty, nasty, nasty. Daisy called it right. It was home-brewed beer gone very, very bad.


Daisy said...

Does that mean I win a prize? Get an asteroid named after me (or maybe a piece of falling space junk? or maybe the parking spot where the Mars heap o' hardware will sit forever more?)

Hope you drank it on Halloween. Then you could call it witch's brew and there'd be a reason for drinking something nasty.

Eric Shonkwiler said...

That's like what is trapped in one of those Sharper Image lamps, right? Whose glow has mystified many a stoner?

Very cool. Sorry to hear about the beer.

Hilary said...

Ohh it's like Northern lights.. after consuming that beer.

meno said...

You can't fool me, that says "Surrender Dorothy."

Irrelephant said...

I keep thinking of John Boorman's "Excalibur," the scene with Merlin talking to the young Arthur about the poppy seed cake, only with beer. *G*

Noel said...

I love the image.

But it is such a shame about the beer. I was hoping it would have been some sort of ambrosia type experience.

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

I love NASAs photo of the day. I also love that their archives stay up and you can go waaaaaaaay back.

I hadn't heard about this at all (can you believe that?), so it's good to find out about it here.

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

Clowncar said...

Come on down, Daisy! Johnny, tell her what she's won! Actually, you can have one of two prizes: the chili beer we refuse to drink (with a green chile floating in every bottle, looking disturbingly like a fetus), or the caffeine-infused Giddy-Up beer we refuse to drink (caffeine-infused beer is an affront to all things holy).

Actually, yes, Eric. In that both are powered by ions. Ah, to return to the halcyon days of old, when stoners were mystified by mere globs of wax and heated water. Do they even make lava lamps anymore?

Hilary, had I finished that beer, I'd be seeing the inside of a funeral home, not lights.

Funny, Meno. And your little dog too!

Irr, I've never seen Excalibur. Shocking, I know. I'll put it on the queue today.

Noel, I'll survive. When God closes a door, he opens a beer.

Hey, I know something Scarlett doesn't know! Woo-hoo! What do I win?