Wednesday, February 20, 2008
  Meteors

Yesterday a tremendous meteor fell somewhere west of Spokane. Astronomers have a fairly new tool in the form of security cameras. A meteor happens so fast that serious observers have no time to set up and be ready ... except perhaps during the major 'showers', when so many meteors fall that you've got a good chance of catching one. But security cameras click along merrily through the day and night, and this flash was so large that it was caught from Portland to Boise. By triangulating the directions of the cameras, the Weather Service places its fall somewhere around Ritzville. Needless to say, plenty of people are now combing that region for the blob of iron!

KREM TV has a great collection of the security cam videos.

A mobile home caught fire explosively in Airway Heights at the same time as the meteor; fire investigators are seriously considering the meteor, because no other ignition source was evident.

Random rambling: I've seen enough meteors, and I've seen one comet. The one phenomenon I haven't seen, and would really like to see before I'm too old to appreciate it, is the Northern Lights. The aurora has reached Spokane's latitude several times during my residence here, and each time the sky was thoroughly overcast. Frustrating. I have a vague "memory" of seeing the aurora in Manhattan in 1957 (a year of great sunspot activity) but I suspect this image was manufactured from wishes and dreams, because it seems to be facing west, not north.
 


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Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.

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