Thursday, December 10, 2009

Spinning Out of Control

People in the dark part of Norway got to see something pretty cool this morning. According to this article by CNN there was a strange light in the sky. A blue shaft of light followed by a spiral. I believe the assertion that it was a failed Russian intercontinental ballistic missile. The blue was the exhaust released from the second stage rocket illuminated by the sun, specifically aluminum oxide particles, aka sapphires. The sky was very clear and cold this morning so the sunlight on the very high gases would be easy to see. It's easy for me to visualize the spiral pattern as the third stage rocket going off with some dire issue that causes it to spin rather than go straight, spewing out smoke and gases that would be illuminated by the sun. I would think making a rocket go straight would be very hard, while getting one to spin would be the default.

So I am confused by the comments at the bottom of the New Scientist story about this event. It's like they think the light was the ACTUAL rocket. Light doesn't PERSIST. And they think somebody should have heard a bang? It's an INTERCONTINENTAL missile. It's likely ABOVE the atmosphere. One guy said it could have been a projector shining on fog. It was seen from a HUGE area! It's VERY HIGH! Plus there is no FOG in Northern Norway in the middle of the winter.

I'm not sure if this is the worst or the best -- one guy actually hoped what they saw was a black hole forming. For real, dude? You have no fucking idea what a black hole is, do you? I just don't even know what to say to that. What possible star could collapse into a black hole such that only people would see it in Norway? Do you really think you'd have time to comment on a news article if people could see a black hole form with their naked eye? I think the disruption to our electromagnetic equipment would be pretty serious and quick.

I've never read anything from the New Scientist before but the people commenting on their stuff are REALLY IGNORANT and not afraid to show it off. I suppose the smart people just read the article and go "Yup. That sounds right," and they go on with their day. Or if they have too much free time like me, they go on a rant about it.

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