Strong and shallow M6.3 earthquake hits the Gulf of California
A strong and shallow earthquake registered by the USGS as M6.3 hit the Gulf of California at 16:18 UTC (08:18 PST) on January 19, 2018. The agency is reporting a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles). EMSCis reporting M6.2 at a depth of 30 km (18.6 miles). Tsunami is not expected. The epicenter was located 69.4 km (43.1 miles) NE of Loreto (population 11 227) and 127.8 km (79.4 miles) WSW of Villa Juares (population 14 680), Mexico. There are about 17 000 people living within 100 km (62 miles). Based on earthquake information and historic tsunami records, this earthquake is not expected to generate a tsunami, NTWC said. Some 1 413 000 people are estimated to have felt light shaking and 6 350 000 weak. The USGS issued a green alert for shaking-related fatalities and economic losses. There is a low likelihood of casualties and damage. Overall, the population in this region resides in structures that are a mix of vulnerable and earthquak…
Will Comet PanSTARRS (C/2016 R2) ever relax? For the 3rd month in a row, the hyperactive comet is putting on a show for amateur astronomers now monitoring its progress through the constellation Taurus. "My latest images from Jan. 14th show multiple knots of gas traveling down the comet's twisted tail," reports Michael J├Ąger of St. Oswald, Austria. "In this 2-hour animation, note how one knot near the comet's core disappears."
This kind of activity is nothing new for observers of Comet PanSTARRS. The reason may be summed up in two words: carbon monoxide (CO). The comet is unusually rich in frozen CO, a substance which vaporizes explosively when exposed to even the slightest amount of warming sunlight. The abundance of CO in Comet PanSTARRS is responsible not only for its hyperactivity but also for its beautiful blue color. Ionized carbon monoxide (CO+) fluoresces with an azure glow in the near vacuum of interplanetary space.
The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report: January 10 - 16, 2018
New activity/unrest was reported for 4 volcanoes between January 10 - 16, 2018. During the same period, ongoing activity was reported for 8 volcanoes. New activity/unrest: Kadovar, Papua New Guinea | Mayon, Luzon (Philippines) | Nevados de Chillan, Chile | San Miguel, El Salvador. Ongoing activity: Agung, Bali (Indonesia) | Aira, Kyushu (Japan) | Kilauea, Hawaiian Islands (USA) | Klyuchevskoy, Central Kamchatka (Russia) | Sabancaya, Peru | Sheveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia) | Suwanosejima, Ryukyu Islands (Japan) | Turrialba, Costa Rica. The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report is a cooperative project between the Smithsonian's Global Volcanism Program and the US Geological Survey's Volcano Hazards Program. Updated by 23:00 UTC every Wednesday, notices of volcanic activity posted are preliminary and subject to change as events are studied in more detail. This is not a comprehensive list of all of Earth's volcanoes eruptin…
Major storm hits northern Europe with hurricane-force winds, at least 10 killed
A powerful windstorm swept over northern Europe on January 18, 2018, killing at least 10 people. Officials in the Netherlands reported winds up to 120 km/h (74 mph) and gusts to 140 km/h (87 mph) at the height of the storm while Germany saw winds up to 203 km/h (126 mph). According to the German Weather Service (DWD), this was the worst storm to strike Germany since 2007. The storm grounded all flights at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, one of the busiest in Europe, and halted trains, trams, and buses nationwide as weather officials issued a red alert for wind. At least 66 trucks were blown over by the strong winds. The storm reached its height between 10:00 and 12:00 CET and the country is now slowly returning to normal. Strong winds have also affected Germany, downing trees and causing structural damage in its western regions. The national train operator suspended traffic in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW…
Fireball over Alberta captured on dashcam, Canada
Numerous people witnessed a bright fireball streaking through the sky over Alberta, Canada at around 00:22 UTC on Wednesday, January 18, 2018 (17:22 local time, January 17). The event lasted 4 seconds before the object disappeared in a bright flash. As reported by the CTV News, CTV Edmonton started receiving calls and tweets from viewers located north of Fort McMurray and in the Edmonton area about a spectacular flash in the sky. The director of planetarium and space sciences at the Telus World of Science, Frank Florian, posted the following report: "Fireball at 5:22 local time, ENE at starting at 40 degrees up, broke apart around 25 to 30 degrees, small piece brighten up to about -7 follow by the large piece burst estimated around -12 in hazy cloud." Although this event was witnessed by many people, the International Meteor Organization (IMO) and the American Meteor Society (AMS) received just one report. If you witnessed thi…
Tropical Cyclone "Berguitta" hits Mauritius and La Reunion with 3 feet of rain in 24 hours
Tropical Cyclone "Berguitta" produced huge amounts of rain and sustained winds of over 120 km/h (75 mph) as its center passed over Mauritius and extremely close to La Reunion on January 18, 2018. Some areas received more than 800 mm (31.5 inches) of rain within 24 hours. One person in La Reunion is missing. Berguitta's center moved over southeastern part of Mauritius around 05:00 UTC on January 18, with maximum sustained winds near 120 km/h (75 mph), causing agricultural damage, flash floods and cutting off water and power supply. There was no major structural damage reported and no loss of lives in Mauritius, Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth said, adding that the population had been adequately sensitized on the threat. Fire and Rescue Service said their staff responded to around 150 calls for assistance, most of them for flooding in Chebel, Beau-Bassin, Rose-Hill, Quatre-B…
Asteroid 2018 BD missed Earth by just 0.10 LD on January 18
A newly discovered asteroid designated 2018 BD flew past Earth at a very close distance of 0.10 LD / 0.00026 AU (~38 895 km / 24 168 milesat 15:43 UTC on January 18, 2018, some 7 hours after it was discovered. This is the fourth closest approach to our planet since 2017 EA on March 02, 2017, 2017 GM on April 4, 2017, and 2017 UJ2 on October 20, 2017. Asteroid 2018 BD was first observed at 08:24 UTC on January 18, 2018, at Catalina Sky Survey. This is a very small Apollo asteroid with an estimated diameter of 2.5 to 5.5 m (8.2 to 18 feet). It flew past Earth at a very close distance of 0.10 LD at 15:43 UTC today, according to data provided by CNEOS. The Minor Planet Center has this asteroid flying past us at 17:27 UTC today. [ Ephemeris | Orbit Diagram | Orbital Elements | Physical Parameters | Close-Approach Data ] This is the 3rd known asteroid to flyby Earth within 1 lunar distance since the start of the year and the 56th …
NASA says skyscraper-sized asteroid headed toward Earth is ‘potentially hazardous’
A monster space rock classified by NASA as "potentially hazardous" is headed toward Earth.
Asteroid 2002 AJ129 – which at 0.7 miles is wider than the tallest building in the U.S. (New York's One World Trade Center) stacked on top of itself – is predicted to miss our planet, according to Metro. However, it will pass relatively close in terms of outer space. NASA classifies any space object surpassing 459 feet wide and passing within 4,660,000 miles of Earth as "hazardous," according to a 2013 report on the space agency's website. There are about 1,000 such known space objects monitored by NASA.

This asteroid is more than eight times wider than the minimum (3,696 feet) and will pass within just over half the minimum distance (2,615,128 miles) to our planet. For a reference point, the moon orbits Earth at a distance of about 238,855 miles. The giant asteroid is expected to "n…
Winter storm Inga claims 10 lives across the U.S. South
At least 10 people have died across the US South over the past couple of days as Winter Storm Inga brought snow, ice and some record-breaking cold to the region. Numerous runways and highways were closed, as well as schools and government offices. Highs across the Deep South will still be 5 - 11 °C (10 to 20 °F) below average today, but are expected to be near to above average on Saturday, January 20, 2018. Temperatures dropped to record lows overnight Wednesday, January 17, 2018, in several places in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi. New Orleans, for example, recorded -6 °C ( 21 °F) before dawn Wednesday, breaking the city's record low of -5 °C (23 °F) set on January 17, 1977. As of Wednesday evening (local time), Teer, North Carolina received 30.5 cm (12 inches) of snow, Murray, Kentucky had 22.8 cm (9 inches), Omaha, Arkansas 21.6 cm (8.5 inches), Dover and Paris in Tennessee 17.8 cm (7 inches), Wellford, South …