PLEASE NOTE:


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CCNet DIGEST, 9 April 1999
--------------------------

(1) ZOROASTER'S METEORITE
    Bernd Pauli HD <bernd.pauli@lehrer1.rz.uni-karlsruhe.de>

(2) STAR-GAZERS REPORT EXPLOSION IN MEDIEVAL SKY
    YAHOO! News

(3) PROFESSOR CITES ENVIRONMENTAL CAUSES FOR PASSOVER PLAGUES
    JEWISH CHRONICLE (London), 9 April 1999

(4) METEOROIDS BALLOON SET FOR LAUNCH
    NASA Science News <expressnews@sslab.msfc.nasa.gov>

(5) U.S. SPACE COMMAND UPGRADES SPACE DEFENSE
    CNN Intercative

(6) SPACE DEFENSE ROCKET ON COMEBACK AFTER $1 BILLION DISASTER
    YAHOO! News



===============
(1) ZOROASTER'S METEORITE

From Bernd Pauli HD <bernd.pauli@lehrer1.rz.uni-karlsruhe.de>

Sky & Telescope - May 1999, pp. 12+14

Zoroaster's Meteorite

During my search for meteorite craters in Iran, I have discovered 11
impact candidates. Some look so fresh that I hoped to establish a
possible link between them and any large bolides recorded in the vast
collection of old Persian manuscripts. This resulted in the discovery
of more than 100 cases of large fireballs and meteorite falls and
finds, including two possible crater-forming events.

After reading Bradley E. Schaefer's account of "Meteorites That Changed
the World" (December issue, page 68), I would like to add another case
of a meteorite of religious importance: the Zoroaster Iron of Ardabil in
northwestern Iran.

Zoroaster lived sometime between 1200 B.C. and 650 B.C. as cited in
various sources. According to current traditions in the Zoroastrian
religion, before his emergence as a prophet he was a dedicated
stargazer born in the province of Azerbaijan on the northern skirt of
the snow-capped volcano Sabalan not far from today's city of Ardabil.
In a book of mineralogy written by A.D. 1300, Abolghassem Kashani
describes a curious stone in Ardabil as follows:

And also in Ardabil, which is among the cities of Azerbaijan, there is
a stone, small in volume but heavy in weight, estimated to be 500 Man
[1,500 kilograms], placed in a stall of the Grand Mosque, one half as
black as iron and the other half looking like silver and iron due to
numerous fondlings by hand, and so hard and solid that heating it is
not possible at all, and it does not melt under the heat of fire. And
nobles and dignitaries of the city say that this stone was in the first
fire-temple that Zoroaster built in Ardabil, and it is not clear
whether it fell from lightning or was created in other ways. Because of
great astonishment, [the Mogul ruler] Ghazan Khan ordered his name be
carved on it, though due to great hardness it took several days to
write it in ugly hand script.

A few years later, around A.D. 1340, another author wrote:

Although it looks like stone in shape it is clear that it is forged
iron ... because words are written on it and if it was of stone it
could not be forged.

The last written account of this iron appears in Jawaher Nameh, a book
of mineralogy written before 1478. After that it seems to have been
lost during the reconstruction of the old mosque or in the numerous
lootings of the city by Ottoman Turks and Russians, the last and most
destructive of which was in the early 19th century. This last time the
Russians transferred all the treasures of the city to St. Petersburg
and later to the Hermitage of the tsars.

In 1904 Henry Augustus Ward (who had journeyed to Tehran in December
1898 to see the unique mesosiderite meteorite of Veramin) bought the
whole meteorite collection of Count Julien Siemaschko of St.
Petersburg, which contained the main mass of many "Russian and
Siberian" meteorites. Could Zoroaster's meteorite have been among them?
Might it still exist?

HOSSEIN ALIZADEH GHARIB
Meteoritical Society of Iran
1.92 Jamzadeh, Karun St.
13546 Tehran, Iran

=======================
(2) STAR-GAZERS REPORT EXPLOSION IN MEDIEVAL SKY

From YAHOO! News

Friday April 9 4:30 AM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Astronomers said Thursday they had found
evidence of a stellar explosion that would have lit up the night sky
700 years ago -- yet no medieval star-gazer recorded it.

Readings from space show that a star 15 times as massive as the sun and
just 500 light-years away -- right in our neighborhood by galactic
standards -- must have collapsed and exploded in a huge supernova.

Wan Chen and Neil Gehrels of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in
Greenbelt, Maryland, said the supernova would have been as bright as
the moon in the night sky.

"It's a real mystery," Chen said in a statement. "This supernova was
very bright. People had to have seen it, but we haven't found any
written records yet."

The pair found out about the explosion in an unusual way. Using X-ray
scans, they detected both radioactive titanium and aluminum coming from
the same source.

Previously, astronomers assumed they could only see one element or the
other in the remnant of an explosion.

They named the newly discovered supernova remnant GRO/RX J0852, they
reported in the Astronomical Journal.

Copyright 1999, Yahoo! News

======================
(3) PROFESSOR CITES ENVIRONMENTAL CAUSES FOR PASSOVER PLAGUES

From JEWISH CHRONICLE (London), 9 April 1999

By Helen Jacobus

The 10 plagues recalled on Passover and the miracles
surrounding the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt may have been
caused by environmental changes from an erupting volcano and a
near-miss by a comet.
This is suggested in a new book, which also claims that the
Passover and Exodus events described in the Bible occurred 400 years
earlier than accepted by most Jewish scholars.
The theories are expounded in "Exodusto Arthur -  Catastrophic
Encounters with Comets," by Professor Mike Baillie of Belfast's Queen's
University.
Professor Baillie is a palaeo-ecologist and expert in tree-ring
dating. He claims that the latter science, corroborated by ice-core
dating in Greenland - both of which can show the date of major
environmental changes - suggests that the biblical exodus occurred in
1628 BC.
The professor's theory combines recent scientific research
indicating a major volcanic eruption on the Greek island of Santorini,
south of Crete, in 1628 BC with ancient texts from China, the Bible and
other sources.
He argues that a bitter frost-resistant weed - artemesia, or
wormwood - grows after dramatic climatic changes, which could make
sense of the reference to the "bitter herbs" the Hebrews had to eat in
the wilderness.
Speaking at the book launch, Professor Baillie explained:
"From our observation work, we have a package of events from the sixth
century, such as the sun being dim and the outbreak of major plagues.
When you add in other phenomena, such as lake-level changes, you can
see the 'biblical Exodus'."
Commenting on the book, Israel-born anthropologist Dr Benny
Peiser of Liverpool John Moores University, supported the author.
"Tree-ring and ice-core research is a mor accurate method of dating
environmental catastrophes than Egyptian king lists, which are now
regarded as dubious and inaccurate," he maintained.
"Most Israeli archaeologists still date the Exodus to the 13th
century BCE, not the 17th century BCE. We now know that an impact event
could trigger a pillar of cloud, stones falling out of the sky and
'splitting' the Red Sea. Serious scientists are going back to the
Bible and other ancient documents to try to make sense of what has
happened to the environment in the past. [According to the Bible] God
made a covenant with humankind after the flood. It's as if the Bible is
saying we shouldn't ignore earth's violent nature, but it won't destroy
us."
But Hamstead Reform Synagogue's Rabbi Larry Tabrick was less
sanguine. "I feel these attempts to find scientific explanations for
the Torah are not relevant," he remarked. "The Bible wasn't written to
teach us history (sic!) but how to lead our lives today."

Copyright 1999, Jewish Chronicle

======================
(4) METEOROIDS BALLOON SET FOR LAUNCH

From NASA Science News <expressnews@sslab.msfc.nasa.gov>

NASA Space Science News for April 9, 1999

Meteor balloon set for launch:  This weekend scientists will launch a
weather
balloon designed to capture meteoroids in the stratosphere. The flight
will be
broadcast live on the web from a video camera carried aloft to 100,000
ft.
Readers are invited to participate in this innovative research by
counting
visual meteors on the evening of the balloon flight.  FULL STORY at
http://science.nasa.gov/newhome/headlines/ast08apr99_1.htm

======================
(5) U.S. SPACE COMMAND UPGRADES FUTURE SPACE DEFENSE

From CNN Intercative
http://cnn.com/TECH/computing/9904/08/spacecom.idg/index.html

April 8, 1999

by Daniel Verton

(IDG) -- The U.S. Space Command is planning a massive $1.8 billion
upgrade project for the Cheyenne Mountain Operations Center, Colorado
Springs, Colo., that will lay the systems integration groundwork for a
future national missile defense system.

Industry sources expect the command to issue a solicitation in July for
the Integrated Space Command and Control (ISC2) contract to provide
hardware and software upgrades, future communications architecture
planning and various information technology services to the Cheyenne
Mountain complex, the location of the North American Aerospace Defense
Command (NORAD) network operations center. The contract is expected to
be awarded in February 2000 and will span 15 years.

Known as the "Mountain," the Cheyenne Mountain complex collects data
from a worldwide network of satellites, radar systems and other sensors
and processes that data on sophisticated computer systems to warn of
ballistic nuclear missile or air attacks against North America. In
addition, the center will be the focal point for command and control of
the Defense Department's future National Missile Defense program to
intercept and destroy incoming missiles before they reach the United
States.

FULL STORY at
http://cnn.com/TECH/computing/9904/08/spacecom.idg/index.html

===================
(6) SPACE DEFENSE ROCKET ON COMEBACK AFTER $1 BILLION DISASTER

From YAHOO! News
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/headlines/sc/story.html?s=v/nm/19990409/sc/sp
ace_rocket_5.html

By Steven Young

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - A Titan 4 rocket is set to launch a
missile-warning satellite Friday in its first mission since an August
1998 billion-dollar failure, the U.S. Air Force said.

The Titan 4B, the most powerful unmanned U.S. rocket, was scheduled to
lift off from Cape Canaveral Air Station on Florida's east coast at
11:33 a.m. EDT.....

The rocket will carry into orbit a $400 million Defense Support Program
missile-warning satellite, built by TRW Inc. (NYSE:TRW - news)

It will join a constellation of satellites already in orbit that can
detect ballistic missile launches and nuclear detonations worldwide.

FULL STORY at
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/headlines/sc/story.html?s=v/nm/19990409/sc/sp
ace_rocket_5.html

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