By Nicholas West
December 8, 2012
Some ancient cultures referred to them as “the Menace of the Universe” and “the Harbinger of Doom.” Comets have almost universally been viewed by the ancients as messengers or omens carrying bad news from the gods.
In the midst of our busy lives it’s difficult to keep in mind that we reside on a ball that’s corkscrewing through space around a ball of gas called our sun, which is also sweeping through our galaxy.
The ancients didn’t have distractions like TVs and the Internet.
They looked to the sky for clues and guidance for life on Earth, and comets brought mythology of angry gods and instilled fear in them.
Strangely, in more modern times, comets have been associated with actual dark events.
According to NASA:
Comets’ influence on cultures is not limited simply to tales of myth and legend, though. Comets throughout history have been blamed for some of history’s darkest times.
In Switzerland, Halley’s Comet was blamed for earthquakes, illnesses, red rain, and even the births of two-headed animals.
The Romans recorded that a fiery comet marked the assassination of Julius Caesar, and another was blamed for the extreme bloodshed during the battle between Pompey and Caesar. In England, Halley’s Comet was blamed for bringing the Black Death.
The Incas, in South America, even record a comet having foreshadowed Francisco Pizarro’s arrival just days before he brutally conquered them.
Comets and disaster became so intertwined that Pope Calixtus III even excommunicated Halley’s Comet as an instrument of the devil, and a meteorite, from a comet, became enshrined as one of the most venerated objects in all of Islam.
There’s is no major significance about the size of “Great Comets“, rather they are simply defined as comets that become exceptionally bright and can be seen by casual observers with the naked eye.
This usually has to do with their distance from Earth.
So what are we to make of the possibility of two Great Comets flying by Earth in 2013?
Astronomers have discovered two new comets that are fast approaching our planet and have the potential to be Great Comets.
The first comet, named C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS), is expected to make its arrival in March 2013.
According to astronomers, it will be “potentially visible to the naked eye low in the western horizon just after sunset” and also has the “potential that it may be visible during the day.”
Richard Wainscoat, an astronomer at the University of Hawaii who co-discovered the comet, claims there is no danger of collision with Earth but admits “since we don’t have a lot of data on it, we really don’t know the orbit well enough right now.”
The second comet, the one which could possibly outshine the Moon, was only just discovered this September and is called 2012 S1 (ISON).
Astronomers predict “current orbital predictions indicate the comet will look brightest to us in the weeks just after its closest approach to the sun, on November 28, 2013.”
Comet ISON may be visible for the last two months of the year as well as early 2014 and is the more likely of the two to be a spectacular event:
The comet is already remarkably bright, given how far it is from the sun, astronomer Raminder Singh Samra said.
What’s more, 2012 S1 seems to be following the path of the Great Comet of 1680, considered one of the most spectacular ever seen from Earth.
This comet is considered to be larger than most at 3 kilometers wide (roughly 2 miles) adding to the anticipation of its arrival. It, too, may be visible during the day according to astronomers.
The last Great Comet highly visible from Earth, Hale-Bopp, arrived 16 years ago in 1997. So we are long overdue considering the average of one-per-decade.
Although very little major news occurred in 1997, the last 16 years have been perhaps the most tumultuous in human history from 9/11 and the war on terror to a devastating financial collapse, both of which have still not peaked.
Astronomers are cautious not to make wild predictions about approaching comets, always adding the caveat that they never really know how comets will react as they get closer to the sun. Yet, it does seem significant that 2013 may have two Great Comets.
Will one of them be a “Harbinger of Doom” and bring dark times with it? As the world braces for the end of the much discussed Mayan Calendar on December 21st, 2012, these comets only add more intrigue to cosmic conspiracies.
The authorities and media downplay “end of the world” talk which is probably the responsible thing to do to stave off panic.
However, it’s increasingly difficult to know where to find the truth. And NASA isn’t exactly known for its honesty either, sometimes being referred to as “Never A Straight Answer”.
Even if we won’t get a straight answer from NASA, we should heed the advice they gave to their staff to be prepared to survive potential emergencies:
A major initiative has been placed on Family/Personal Preparedness for all NASA personnel. The NASA/Family Preparedness Program is designed to provide awareness, resources, and tools to the NASA Family (civil servants and contractors) to prepare for an emergency situation. The most important assets in the successful completion of NASA’s mission are our employees’ and their families. We are taking the steps to prepare our workforce, but it is your personal obligation to prepare yourself and your families for emergencies. (Source)
The Daily Sheeple
December 8, 2012
A pre-dawn fireball streaked across the Houston, Texas sky this morning and was seen as far north as Dallas, over 200 miles away.
It was so bright that the unidentified flying object was spotted by NASA’s meteor camera some 500 miles west of Houston in Mayhill, NM.
Concerned residents contacted local news stations to report what has been described as a “huge shooting star-like object.”
Local radio broadcasts immediately began receiving calls, many from people who were driving to work, with some asking whether the fireball in the sky could be a sign that the fabled Mayan Prophecy has begun.
The Maya were a mesoamerican civilization that are believed to have been one of the most advanced peoples to live in the Americas, having developed language, mathematics and astronomical systems.
The prophecy refers to December 21, 2012, which is believed by some to be the date the world will end – Doomsday.
Though disputed by most mainstream science, some historians and mathematicians have concluded that the date, calculated from the Mayan Calendar, will lead to massive changes on earth that may include floods, earthquakes, and solar events.
The scenario was popularized in the Hollywood blockbuster 2012.
Despite some panic, NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston insisted that this was not a sign of the coming destruction of the planet, but rather, just a rogue asteroid originating from the asteroid belt between the planets Mars and Jupiter (which incidentally is theorized to have been created when a large planet-size object met its Doomsday).
“It is a meteor, most likely a fragment from the asteroid belt and not associated with the Geminid meteor shower,” said NASA spokesman Bill Cooke.
NASA Camera captures fireball burst:
Contributed by M. Frank Drover of The Daily Sheeple.
December 7, 2012 – DALLAS – From McKinney to the White Rock Lake area and all the way south to Houston, a bright flash reported in the sky Friday morning captured the attention of many across the Lone Star State. While early reports indicated it was likely a meteor, the National Weather Service in Houston reported Friday afternoon that it may have been debris from the Russian Satellite Cosmos 2251 as it reentered the atmosphere. In 2009, the Cosmos 2251 satellite, which was not in working condition at the time, collided with Iridium 33, a United States communication satellite, in 2009 as they orbited Earth over Siberia. Meanwhile, Bill Cooke, who heads the Meteoroid Environment Office for NASA, told KRLD that the object was actually a meteor, and was likely the size of a basketball. As researchers continue to investigate the source of the flash, reports of sightings continue to grow across Texas. One McKinney woman reported seeing what appeared to be a comet streaking across the sky in a bright flash around 6:42 a.m. near Stonebridge Shopping Center. Justin Wagoner, who lives in the White Rock Lake area, said he saw a green trail and heard a large ‘sonic boom” around the same time. Others reported seeing white and orange colors. The sight only lasted a few seconds before vanishing in the sky. According to Dr. James Roberts, a University of North Texas astronomer who talked to WBAP early Friday morning, the mysterious object in the sky was likely a burned up meteor. A KHOU meteorologist in Houston said it may have been part of the Geminids meteor shower, which takes place in December. The meteorites often appear to be slow moving and are usually best seen at its peak on December 13 and 14. However, Mike Hankey, the operations manager with the American Meteor Society, said later in the morning he believed the meteor was likely a fireball, a meteor brighter than Venus, and not a part of the Geminid shower. “For those not familiar with meteors and fireballs, a fireball is a meteor that is larger than normal,” read a report on the American Meteor Society’s online site. “Most meteors are only the size of small pebbles. A meteor the size of a softball can produce light equivalent to the full moon for a short instant. The reason for this is the extreme velocity at which these objects strike the atmosphere.” Seeing a fireball is something not everyone gets a chance to do in their lifetime, according to Hankey. “While fireballs are actually pretty common across the globe, they happen every night, to actually see one in your area is very rare,” he said. “If you see one once in your life, you are very lucky.” The loud boom heard by some could be explained by what happens when a large fireball breaks apart, Hankey went on to explain.
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