Close Encounters

Teriiska Comets

The restaurant was quiet and somewhat darkened in the twilight.  Two friends chatting, eating out reading the news on the web.

October 2014 – Southern Comets Homepage  – ‘Siding Springs Comet’

“As October begins, you will find the magnitude 9.5 comet ‘Siding Springs’ situated near the stinger of the Scorpion in the evening sky.
Moonlight interferes with viewing until the 10th.
On Oct 8-9, the comet is within a degree of the butterfly star cluster M6. 

On Sunday evening Oct 19th, the now magnitude 10.0 comet and magnitude 0.9 Mars will be separated by less than 20 arc minutes.
From Adelaide, the altitude will be 38 degrees at 9pm, reducing to 3 degrees by midnight.
The brightness of Mars may actually overwhelm your chances to see the comet but definitely try to capture it photographically! ” – Southern Comets Homepage

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Martian Rockets that Fall from Grace to Earth

On the day that the Phobos-Grunt rocket fell to earth, and landed somewhere in the south east pacific ocean, I had other things to do other than worry it might land somewhere familiar.  I read numerous press articles, which speculated as to where the remainder might land after re-entry.

One thing I started to take exception to were the continual references to class it as space junk or even a satellite which I felt was not worthy of the effort involved in this adventure.  So I include here a link to the actual russian website which has some great graphics of the machine worth a look. [ Russian Spaceweb ]

You see this was not just an earth-centric satellite.  This was a high powered rocket satellite destined for Mars, and also carrying with it, the Chinese Mars orbiter satellite.  The rocket unfortunately became a terrestial satellite when it failed shortly after blasting off.

I do feel a bit sorry for all the engineers in Russia that apparently worked on tough budgets, and tried for a successful mission, but also China and others who put their trust in the mission as well and now what is left of it lying at the bottom of the largest ocean on our planet, in tatters and sorely wounded.

Note: It turns out that about 71% of the earth’s surface is covered by salt water, which leaves about 29% solid ground. It turns out that 50% of that solid ground is wilderness area with only 2.5% of the population. So we could say that the chance of a large rocket(satellite), falling to earth actually landing anywhere near habitation, and we could see what is left, is about 14% which is about odds 1 to 7.