PLEASE NOTE:


*

CCNet DIGEST, 18 March 1999
---------------------------

     Asteroid 1999 FA, the 167th Potentially Hazardous Asteroid, was
     discovered by LINEAR on 16 March 1999.
     (http://cfa-www.harvard.edu/mpec/J99/J99F08.html)


(1) COSMIC WINTER: HOW IMPACTS CAN TRIGGER ABRUPT CLIMATIC CHANGES
    C.S. Cockell*) & M.D. Stokes, CARNEGIE INSTITUTE WASHINGTON

(2) DEEP SPACE 1 BOUND FOR ASTEROID FLYBY
    FLORIDA TODAY, March 17, 1999

(3) THE BJURBOLE METEORITE
    Timo Niroma <timo.niroma@tilmari.pp.fi>

(4) FOUR HUNDRED YEARS ASTRONOMY ON MERSEYSIDE
    Peter D Hingley <pdh@RAS.ORG.UK>

(5) TREE-RING EVIDENCE FOR TEMPERATURE CHANGES AFTER VOLCANIC EVENTS
    R.D. DArrigo & G.C. Jacoby, LAMONT DOHERTY EARTH OBSERV


========================
(1) COSMIC WINTER: HOW IMPACTS CAN TRIGGER ABRUPT CLIMATIC CHANGES

C.S. Cockell*) & M.D. Stokes: Polar winter: A biological model for
impact events and related dark/cold climatic changes. CLIMATIC CHANGE,
1999, Vol.41, No.2, pp.151-173

*) CARNEGIE INSTITUTE WASHINGTON, DEPT PLANT BIOL, 290 PANAMA ST
   STANFORD, CA, 94305

Models of the climatic perturbation caused by a large scale
extraterrestrial impact predict an injection of dust into the
stratosphere. This would cause the onset of environmental conditions
whose two principal characteristics are a prolonged period of darkness
and reduced global temperatures. Similar scenarios follow large scale
volcanic eruptions, wildfires and they are predicted for a nuclear
winter following a protracted nuclear exchange. A significant drop in
temperature and solar insolation are also characteristics of the polar
winter. In this paper the onset and emergence from the polar winter is
examined as a potential biological framework for studying immediate
biological effects following transition into and out of a dark/cold
catastrophe. Limitations of the conceptual model, particularly with
respect to the fact that polar organisms are well adapted to a regular
and severe dark/cold climatic change (which the rest of the Earth's
biota is not) are discussed. The model has implications for the poles
as an extinction refuge during such climatic changes. Copyright 1999,
Institute for Scientific Information Inc.

==================
(2) DEEP SPACE 1 BOUND FOR ASTEROID FLYBY

From FLORIDA TODAY, March 17, 1999
http://www.flatoday.com/space/today/031799c.htm

By Robyn Suriano

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - A NASA spacecraft is headed for the closest
encounter ever with an asteroid after successfully completing a crucial
engine firing Tuesday.

Its next stop: A July rendezvous with a space rock called 1992 KD to
take pictures and study the remnant of the solar system's formation.

The Deep Space 1 spacecraft was launched from Cape Canaveral in October
on a $152 million mission to test a dozen new technologies, including a
futuristic ion engine that runs on charged atoms.

The engine fired at 2:15 a.m. EST (0715 GMT) Tuesday, allowing the
craft to begin to close the 90 million miles between it and the
asteroid.

"The engine came to life just as it was supposed to," said Marc Rayman,
the spacecraft's chief engineer and deputy mission manager at NASA's
Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

Fueled by charged atoms instead of traditional chemicals such as
hydrazine, the engine overcame an early glitch and ran successfully for
850 hours before NASA turned it off in December.

It will now have to be fired periodically through April 26 to put Deep
Space 1 on course for the asteroid. If all goes will, it will come
within six miles of the rock.

In addition to the engine, other new technology aboard includes a
navigation system that guides the craft without human help and a
"thinking" computer that makes decisions without input from
controllers.

"All the experiments are going on quite well, and we are learning a
lot," said Guy Man, an engineer on the NASA team developing the new
technologies. "A number of (the innovations) will have a lot of use in
the future."

NASA plans to use an ion engine to power a mission set for launch in
2003, when a probe is to explore a comet by landing on its surface.

Copyright 1999, Florida Today

===================
(3) THE BJURBOLE METEORITE

From Timo Niroma <timo.niroma@tilmari.pp.fi>

Dear Benny,

We recently commemorated here in Finland a rare centenary. 100 years
ago, on the 12 March 1899, a huge meteorite penetrated 1 meter of ice
and proceeded 8 meter deep into the mud on a shallow bay near the coast
in Bjurbole just south of the town of Porvoo, 50 km east of Helsinki.

At the time, the event was the main news in the leading newspapers for
almost a week and aroused much discussion because virtually everyone
who was awake in the southern Finland had seen the light that for a
moment made the night look like day. Besides, the roar was so loud that
people run out onto the streets in fear and panic, not knowing what was
happening. The amount of people reading this newspaper story was so
great that already the next day it was identified as a meteorite. Due
to the many eyewitnesses the meteorite was found two days later.

The event is interesting from several viewpoints. The meteorite was
stony, but did not explode - it only fragmented. It lit up the whole
Baltic sea area when it came in (it was 21:30 Finnish time and deep
dark night). The time 22:30, mentioned in many books is in error,
because the report that was published in Germany in 1902 had this
typing(?) error. It was seen in Stockholm, it was seen in St.
Petersburg, it was even seen in Byelorussia.

This object was no tennis ball, the biggest fragment weighed a little
over 80 kg, and all fragments that were found weighted 328 kg
altogether. It can thus be estimated that the meteorite weighed over
400 kg when it hit the ground. Finnish scientists understood
immediately its great scientific value and media interest. In fact,
the Bjurbole meteorite was the focus of attention in the Finnish
pavilion of the Paris World Exhibition which took place the
following year (1900). But only few know about this secret: the
original was never sent to Paris, but there was an exact copy of it at
the World Exhibition. The original 80kg main body was kept and still is
at Helsinki University.

What lesson does this event provide us? First of all we can learn that
even a stony meteorite can survive the penetration through
the atmosphere - if it comes in the right angle. The right angle saved
the Apollo 13 astronauts, a wrong angle killed the Russian cosmonaut
Komarov. A "wrong" angle caused the Tunguska meteorite to explode, a
"right" angle allowed the dinosaur-killer to be so devastating.

A second lesson I would like to send to the US National Transportation
Safety Board. There is growing suspicion among some interested
observers that the TWA Boeing that exploded on July 17, 1996 near New
York, might have been hit by a meteor. One of the main arguments
against the meteor theory has been that stony meteors either explode or
lose their cosmic speed before reaching the altitude of 4.5 km, where
the plane had already climbed after leaving NY airport. Yet the
Bjurbole meteorite had still a speed of about 1 km/sec and came down in
relative great pieces. After going through the CD-ROM data sent to me
by the NTSB, I'm more than ever convinced that a meteorite penetrated
into the central wing tank (CWT) and cause the explosion there. I can't
find any other plausible explanation. And Bjurbole proves that the
theory is at least possible. It could have been a tennis-ball-size one,
one fragment of a larger meteor that detonated outside the plane. If
extra amount of 21% Fe, 18% Si, 15% Mg, 1.2% Ca, 1-2 % Al, 2% S, 1% Ni
(the general element content of stony meteorites found in Finland)
could be found in the structure of CWT, they would have the cosmic
fingerprints.

A third lesson goes to the search expeditions of the December 1997
meteorite impact in Greenland. It would appear that its size and speed
was very similar to the Bjurbole meteorite. If that's the case, it is
most likely buried up to 10 meter deep in snow and ice. All its traces
might have been buried by heavy winds into the snow in a few weeks.
One really should know the place of impact within a few meters
of accuracy or would have to start searching only few days after the
incident.

The Bjurbole meteorite did not explode - it fragmented. This caused
a large roar when the pieces flew at supersonic speed over Helsinki
towards Porvoo and Bjurbole. This effect reminds me of the Sumerian
Gilgamesh epos which mentions heavenly bulls which roar before
causing havoc on earth by means of fire and flood. In the Bjurbole
case, the actual 'damage' was due to scaring people whose buildings in
Helsinki trembled, when the "great electronic bulb" (indeed, Finland
was already then a forerunner in electronics, electric light was
spreading in use, as today mobile phones and internet) flew over
towards east. When the roar was heard, many thought that the heavy
artillery in Viipuri (a frontier town between Finland and Russia, west
of St. Petersburg) fired against this heavenly bulb (like the
heavenly bull in the Sumerian legend...).

Regards,
Timo Niroma

==================
(4) FOUR HUNDRED YEARS ASTRONOMY ON MERSEYSIDE

From Peter D Hingley <pdh@RAS.ORG.UK>

Dear Colleagues,

I am sending this message on behalf of  Jeff Hall; I hope  you will
find the  planned conference interesting and attractive.

Peter D Hingley


400  Years of Astronomy on Merseyside

Merseyside Maritime Museum, NMGM, Liverpool

Saturday 16th October 1999

Programme:

09.30 Registration
09.45 The Telescopes of William Lassell  Jeff Hall, University of
      Liverpool.
10.10 Isaac Roberts, Philip Pennington, University of Liverpool.
10.35 Solar Eclipse Observations, Dr Eric Jones, Proudman
      Oceanographic Laboratory
11.00 Coffee
11.30 The Mars Observations of Dawes and Lassell  Dr Patrick Moore
12.30 Lunch
13.40 Astronomy at Bidston Observatory  Martin Suggett, NMGM
14.05 George Higgs and the Solar Spectrum  Alan Bowden, NMGM
14.30 Liverpool to Leeds and Preston to Chester:  The English Corridor
      of Astronomical Innovation, 1630 to the present day'.  Dr Allan
      Chapman, University of Oxford
15.30 Tea
15.50 The Astrophysics Research Institute, the Liverpool Telescope and
      modern Astronomy on Merseyside  Prof. Mike Bode, John Moores
      University
16.50 Plenary discussion and concluding remarks
17.30 End of Conference

The cost is  pounds 15  per delegate,  payable in advance,  including
lunch and  tea / coffee

Contacts  are  Phil Pennington (tel 01744  739959)
or e-mail ggastro@liverpool.ac.uk

==================
(5) TREE-RING EVIDENCE FOR TEMPERATURE CHANGES AFTER VOLCANIC EVENTS

R.D. DArrigo & G.C. Jacoby: Northern North American tree-ring evidence
for regional temperature changes after major volcanic events. CLIMATIC
CHANGE, 1999, Vol.41, No.1, pp.1-15

LAMONT DOHERTY EARTH OBSERV,TREE RING LAB,ROUTE 9W,PALISADES,NY,10964

Maximum latewood density data from trees at thirteen
temperature-sensitive sites along the northern treeline of North
America are used to evaluate the spatial patterns of response to four
known volcanic events just prior to the period of modern observations:
in 1640, 1783, 1815 and 1835. A previously unknown event is also
postulated for 1699. This tree-ring density parameter is used because
it shows a stronger and more consistent short-term, temperature-related
volcanic signal than ring width. Normalized density departures
following these events vary in sign and magnitude from region to
region, with the coldest summer conditions inferred for the Northwest
Territories in 1641, Alaska in 1783, Quebec and Labrador in 1816 and
the Northwest Territories in 1836. For these as well as other events,
low density values are often among the most extreme on record at their
respective locations. We suggest that these regional variations in tree
growth reflect cooling induced by volcanism and the distribution of
cooling influenced by atmospheric circulation patterns. Copyright 1999,
Institute for Scientific Information Inc.

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