Weird, Wrinkled and Wordy

September 18, 2007

In space, no one can smell you

Filed under: Astronomy — Valorie Hoye @ 3:38 pm

Scores of people in Peru have reportedly fallen ill after breathing noxious fumes from a meteor impact crater.    Local villagers report a fireball streaked across the sky Saturday night.  When daylight arrived, they found a large crater, 10m wide by 5m deep.  However, when people ventured too close, they fell victim to the fumes coming from the huge crater.  A number of farmers have since reported experiencing headaches, nausea and vomiting.  At least one report says nearby livestock are also showing signs of illness.

Geologists are apparently rushing to the site in a remote area of the Andes mountains near the border of Bolivia, to see what’s up.  Local authorities have advised villagers there is no danger from meteors, except if they happen to fall on your house.  How reassuring.

August 10, 2007

Perseids at their Peak

Filed under: Astronomy,Movies — Valorie Hoye @ 10:01 am

This weekend marks one of my favourite events on the astronomical calendar…the annual Perseid meteor shower. Growing up in a small prairie city, we had a huge sky and relatively little light pollution. Many summers, my family would set up the reclining lawn chairs in the back yard and gaze up at the night sky. It was magical. Even between the fiery streaks across the sky, there was so much else to see: the steady stream of satellites going by, the haze of the Milky Way. This year should be a spectacular event, since it corresponds with a New Moon so the sky will be darker. Mars will be visible in the same area of the sky. Even the Space Shuttle Endeavour is in orbit, so some lucky skywatchers might get an extra bonus. The meteor shower should reach its peak Sunday night.

Also, you have to wonder if someone actually planned for the movie version of Neil Gaiman’s Stardust, a magical adventure about a fallen star in human form, to open on the same weekend as the Perseid meteor shower. If so, it’s brilliant cross-marketing. Somehow, I think it is just coincidence.

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