November 20, 2001 12:29 PM   Subscribe

Bloink! Leonids touchdown in northwest Indiana.
posted by sandor (19 comments total)
Those are worth some bucks. The novelty factor and first-hand witness account with newspaper story increases the value.
posted by stbalbach at 12:35 PM on November 20, 2001

So much for the Leonids being "bits of dust". The cloud kicked up by the two-ouncer is subtly changing our civilization as we know it, a la Gilgamesh, only smaller. Space is a dangerous place to be.
posted by rschram at 12:36 PM on November 20, 2001

Mark my words: those rocks will be carrying deadly space spores that will turn the people of Highland into cannibalistic zombies! Watch the skees! I mean, skies!
posted by RakDaddy at 12:44 PM on November 20, 2001

Watching the Leonids on Sunday Morning, a woman standing near me swore that a meteorite had fallen from the sky and smacked her in the head a few years back. She explained that it bounced off her head onto the ground, where she picked it up and brought it inside. She then informed me of her desire to send it to the Smithsonian, but admits her fears about their not returning it; hence, she now keeps it above her fireplace.

posted by Hankins at 12:46 PM on November 20, 2001

I think the best thing about this is the kid already has a rock collection. Kizmet!
posted by Neale at 12:52 PM on November 20, 2001

So you are saying we should crack open the heads of our neighbors, feasting on the gray material inside?
posted by hellinskira at 12:52 PM on November 20, 2001

Tom Yuran recovered two rocks, one of which he had to pull out of the ground, the newspaper said.

Wouldn't they:

A. both be lodged into the ground?
B. be very very very hot?

I don't doubt the story, or anything. I'm just asking.
posted by jpoulos at 1:32 PM on November 20, 2001

Things from outer space sizzle and steam and make big craters. Maybe they are light relative to size they slowed down and cooled from air resistence.
posted by stbalbach at 1:44 PM on November 20, 2001

A memento from the sky. Local story includes two photographs.
posted by Carol Anne at 1:45 PM on November 20, 2001

Meteorites may be cool, and even frosty, when they hit the ground, because the part heated by friction wears away in the atmosphere, leaving a much smaller, cooler nugget to hit the ground. Heat-shielding tiles on the space shuttle work the same way. Here's maybe a better explanation.
posted by gimonca at 1:52 PM on November 20, 2001

"Impossible!", they said. "They'll vaporize instantly when they hit the atmosphere."

That's the last time I trust a scientist.
posted by dlewis at 2:04 PM on November 20, 2001

(Carol Anne, thank you for finally clarifying what The Times properly refers to....)
posted by mattpfeff at 2:04 PM on November 20, 2001

Duh. The Times says "the next time the Yurans can gather to view the Leonids is 2034...", but the Leonids come every year. It's only about every umpty years that we swing through the strongest part of the debris (and we could easily do so next year as well). That link, by the way, has some interesting background on the spectacular 1833 shower, which may have been partly responsible for subsequent religious revivalism in America.
posted by dhartung at 2:30 PM on November 20, 2001

Friction is not responsible for the heating of objects entering the atmosphere from space at high speeds.

Air does not flow around bodies traveling at supersonic speeds in the normal fashion. At low speeds, air flows around objects before compressing, but at supersonic speeds it compresses first, then flows. What happens when you compress a gas? It heats up. That heat gets passed to the object by ordinary conduction, the same thing that heats your hand you grab a hot cup.

You are now better informed on this phenomenon
than 99% of people that think they know tech stuff. No charge.

Next up: Bernoulli has damn near nothing to do with making planes fly...
posted by NortonDC at 3:21 PM on November 20, 2001

"If it had hit me, I could have been killed," Laura Yuran said. "We hid under the awning on our porch because we were afraid of more rocks falling down."

I love it!
posted by Nauip at 4:13 PM on November 20, 2001

I was driving at 4:45 EST Sunday morning on the I-287 in Westchester to pick up my girlfriend at JFK (coming back from Israel--all threads eventually merge) and saw "lights" appearing to make it to the ground (or close). Guess it wasn't an optical illusion. That would be a very cool souvenir.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:23 PM on November 20, 2001

I want to die that way, with a hole punched through my skull by a piece of a comet.
posted by pracowity at 11:29 PM on November 20, 2001

Indianans (or is it "Hoosiers") enjoy collecting rocks and dirt that fall on them...this meteorite story just affirms my beliefs. Over the summer I spent a week in Bloomington, and went to the Bloomington Speedway. This speedway is your run-of-the-mill dirt oval, traversed by insanely loud and junky sprint, the rickety benches fans sat on were so close to the track that when these cars would peel around the corners, they would kick hugh clods of packed clay into the crowds. Similar to a baseball game, Hoosier children would clammer and fight each other to catch the biggest clod that came flying their way.

Not sure where this is going, but I sense a connection between Hoosiers and flying chunks of stuff.
posted by tpl1212 at 6:03 AM on November 21, 2001

Oh.. I was not in an astronomy frame of mind, so I thought of Leonid Brezhnev...
posted by palnatoke at 7:36 AM on November 21, 2001

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