Did anyone else see the large meteors that fell over DC, last night? I was at Screen on the Green last night watching 12 Angry Men (always awesome) and I saw two flaming chunks of rock fall over the Capitol. And I’m not talking about dainty shooting stars. These were large enough and close enough to be seen despite the city’s light pollution and definitely caught the attention of most of the movie goers. You could even see the rocks beginning to break up and shed chunks of debris. They kind of looked like fireworks right before the explode. Did anyone else see them, or am I crazy?
“Washington DC” image from Astronaut Soichi Noguchi
Smile! Soichi Noguchi just caught you on film. He’s a Japanese astronaut on the International Space Station, and he takes photos of various places from space and posts them to his fantastic twitter feed, @Astro_Soichi. He has posted hundreds of images of the Earth, and yesterday he posted an image of DC from the Space Station. You can clearly make out buildings like the Convention Center and Nationals Park in this full size version, and because of the glint of the sun, all the water really stands out and you can see the bridges and docks too. It’s so cool to see the District from such a unique perspective– thanks, Soichi!
A few days ago, a neighbor started claiming a carefully shoveled parking spot with a giant urn—the message being, “Take this spot, and your ashes go here.”
Now another neighbor has taken the opposite tack, and placed a cute stuffed monkey in a space. What a great idea. I mean come on—who’s going to steal a spot from a smiling stuff animal, most certainly some adorable child’s favorite toy? Can’t you just hear the tiny little sobs of sorrow and disbelief?
Clearly our neighborhood is short on patio furniture and long on creativity. I’ve not found the skull and crossbones or the defenseless kittens blocking a spot yet, but they must be out there somewhere. What creative spot-savers have you seen?
If you’re a space wonk and have some time tomorrow you might want to go to NASA’s public meeting about the plans for human space flight. Starting at 9am at the Carnegie Institution auditorium and running till 5pm topics will include the Constellation Program, the International Space Station, other orbital transport systems, and how it all gets paid for.
If you can’t sneak out of work but can keep busy-looking at your desk while screwing off you can just watch it all online on NASA TV.
Above: news report from WAVY TV 10.
Update, Tue 3/30/2009 9:50 AM: There’s been some word from Geoff Chester at the USNO that the fireball might have been a reentering Soyuz booster from Russia, but the latest info from the Joint Space Ops Center at VAFB is that they have been tracking Russian rocket fragments among other space junk and the east coast fireball was not a manmade object:
The JSpOC tracks over 19,000 manmade objects in space. The “bright light” that was reported on the East Coast on Sunday, 29 March at 9:45 p.m. EST was not a result of any trackable manmade object on reentry. Natural phenomena are not tracked by JSpOC professionals.
So at the moment the likely explanation is a small meteor. Continue reading
Capital Weather forecast: a stormy end to the week. It’s been a lovely week for being out in the sunny, balmy outdoors, but that lovely weather ends today, with rain and wind starting from later this morning or afternoon, and going clear through till Saturday and possibly even Sunday. Temperatures today will reach highs in the upper 60s, and umbrellas are recommended.