Roy Hoffman from
Due to clouds over the whole country, the Moon was
not seen from
February 16 Update The Moon was seen after all from
The first day of the 12th month (Adar)
started at sunset February 10 and ended at sunset
The next new moon that begins the next Hebrew month
will be visible from
Comet Machholz is now at a magnitude of 5.5 and fading. Although a magnitude 5.5 object is considered to be within naked eye visibility, one would need to be an experienced observer and know exactly where to look in a pristine dark sky to see a comet of this magnitude with the naked eye. It would be very tough to spot, even then.
The below photo of Comet Machholz was taken by Mike Holloway who
shot this CCD view of Comet Machholz
Chart 388 shows the path of
Comet Machholz from February 3 to
Chart 388 Path of Comet
Machholz from February 3, to
The following article was
released by the Astronomy Magazine website on
is a zoomed in view of the moon and the Pleiades as they will be seen
Moon and Pleiades on
Last month I mentioned an article that I heard was in the
Washington Post concerning a unique miracle that occurred during the
Daylan Sanders, along with 28 children, his wife and three-year-old daughter, found themselves and their small beachside orphanage in the path of a massive tidal wave. A 30-foot-high wall of water, stretching from one end of the beach to the other, was racing towards them.
Sanders heard a thunderous roar, turned around and looked out at the ocean. He said, It was like a marauding force, like a thousand freight trains charging at [us] at the same time.
Sanders' wife Kohila was in the kitchen with their daughter when she saw the monster wave approach. She exclaimed, I could not bear to look. I just prayed, 'Lord, help us! Lord, help us!'
With only seconds to spare, Sanders yelled at the top of his lungs, and ordered everyone at the orphanage to run to a boat that was afloat on the side of the house. He said, I heaved them into the boat, all the children, and then I asked for my daughter, you know, and one of the older girls thrust her into my arms. All of this was happening as the wall of sea continued to gain strength.
Sanders said, Something miraculous had to happen if we were going to get out of this alive.
It was at that moment, faced with certain death, that a scripture verse from Isaiah popped into his mind He said, And I just stretched my hands (shows what he did) and said, 'Based on the strength of the Scriptures, where it says that when the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall raise up a standard against it.
Speaking to the wave, Sanders said, 'I command you in the name of Jesus, stop!'
Sanders said that what happened next was nothing short of a miracle. The wall of water that was seconds away from engulfing them began to slow down.
It became sluggish, it was straining against what I thought at the moment was some invisible wall, Sanders explained. It was trying to break free, but something was holding it back. The only force or power that could have stopped it was the power of God. And God with His power and with His hand slowed it down and stopped the wave for us, and gave us the time to get away.
But before they could get away, they had to first get the boat they had all jumped into, started.
Sanders yelled, "Pull on the starter cord! And with one pull, it started. That again was another miracle, because it takes three or four pulls before it starts.
They escaped the first wave. But their ordeal was far from over. While crossing the lagoon, a second wave began bearing down on them, threatening to overtake them from behind.
According to Sanders, it was during the second wave that he ordered the captain of his small vessel to turn the boat around and head straight for the oncoming wave.
Sevan, an experienced fisherman, was at the helm of the boat. He told Sanders that attacking the wave head-on was extremely dangerous.
Sevan said, I thought we were all going to die that day.
But Sanders had made up his mind. He said, I said no! I said you do what I tell you to do. Go back, turn and come, nose first, and we are going to take this head on!
And so, the small fiberglass boat, 15-feet long, with a 15-horsepower engine and 32 people on board, went full throttle into the wave.
Sanders said, We hit the bottom of the wave, and it kept pushing us a way back, and we kept straining, and I said, In the name of Jesus, we are coming up! And again, it was the hand of God that lifted the boat and He placed us right on top of the wave!
Sanders replied, No! The Chief Rescuer was up there (pointing to heaven)! We were only playing a small part.
And an hour later, the whole ordeal was over. Sanders, his family and the 28 children had survived the deadly tsunami. But the orphanage he took 20 years to build was destroyed in a matter of seconds.
Sanders said over 70 percent of their orphanage was damaged.
One of the few and most precious things that did not get destroyed during the tsunami was his Bible. Sanders found it buried under two feet of sand. And except for the missing cover, Sanders said, not a single page from the Bible was missing.
Sanders remarked, Jesus said 'Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words will not pass away! Tsunamis can take anything and everything from us, but the Word of God never can [be taken away], because it's more powerful than anything in this whole world.
Sanders says he is determined to rebuild the place. He said, I feel very strongly that this is where God wants me to be, and this is where God wants me to witness for Him. And all these children you see here are one day going to be powerfully used by God.
UPDATE ON ASTEROID 2004 MN4
The following update on Asteroid 2004 MN4 is
an article by Bill Cooke that was released by the Astronomy Magazine website on
Will Earth break up 2004 MN4?
An asteroid buzzing past Earth in 2029 will come closer than expected and may not survive intact.
For a few days at the end of December, an
asteroid named 2004 MN4 looked like it might be Earth's biggest impact threat.
Based on available information about its orbit, astronomers gave odds of 1 in
37 that 2004 MN4 would strike Earth
Now, radar measurements suggest MN4 will miss us by half that distance and come so close Earth's gravity could rip it apart.
Between January 27 and 30, a team led by
Lance Benner of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in
The results shocked some astronomers. The new orbit indicates the asteroid will miss Earth by 22,000 miles (35,400 km), passing just inside the belt of geostationary satellites.
A miss is still a miss, so what's the big deal? At first glance, the change in the miss distance doesn't seem surprising. Astronomers are constantly updating comet and asteroid orbits, and changes are expected.
But for 2004 MN4, the change in the miss
distance was greater than the error computed in the December analyses. Put
another way, 2004 MN4 is now outside the uncertainty box the region
astronomers thought would contain the object's most likely locations on
The asteroid, whose chance of striking
Earth was once computed to be improbably high, has presented us with the
improbable once again. Scientists place great store in their error estimates
sometimes too much. One of the most prominent asteroid researchers, Clark
Chapman of the Southwest Research Institute (SWRI) in
But there's another reason for concern. According to Dan Durda, another SWRI astronomer, 2004 MN4 is likely to be a "rubble-pile" asteroid, consisting of material only loosely held together by gravity. Because the asteroid will pass us at just 2.5 times Earth's diameter, tidal forces could tear it apart. The result would be a trail of rocks drifting slowly apart with the passage of time. One or more of these might hit Earth in the more distant future, creating a spectacular fireball as it burns up in the atmosphere.
Although a miss in 2029 is virtually certain, if MN4 survives its Earth flyby, astronomers cannot rule out potential collisions in the 2030's. Therefore, 2004 MN4 still holds at 1 on the Torino impact hazard scale, a classification designed to quantify the impact risk of near-Earth asteroids (similar to the Ritcher scale for earthquakes).
Clark Chapman says the past few weeks have been "educational for the asteroid impact community," and he refers to 2004 MN4 as the "most significant event, by far, in decades."
So, take note: On
And maybe, just maybe, you'll see an asteroid die.
See the January 2005 issue of Biblical Astronomy for the previous article on this asteroid.
MONSTER EXPLOSION IN SPACE
The following article by Robert
Naeye was released by the Sky & Telescope website on
The Brightest Blast
from a magnetar named
Bryan M. Gaensler
(Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics), who conducted radio observations
of the superflare's afterglow, notes that only the Sun and perhaps a handful of
spectacular comets have doused Earth with more total energy than
The burst was so powerful that some of its gamma rays and X-rays reflected off the Moon (a very poor mirror) and were detected by the Russian Helicon-Coronas-F satellite. Amateur radio solar observers with the American Association of Variable Star Observers easily detected the superflare's ionizing effects on Earth's upper atmosphere, even though the radiation smacked into our planet's daylight hemisphere and thus had to compete with the Sun.
The superflare has generated intense observational and theoretical research around the world, as the astronomical community has been forced to confront the question of how such a tiny object, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) across, could unleash such unmitigated fury.
Although the details remain
shrouded in mystery, the energy almost certainly resulted from
Magnetic field lines weaving through the star probably flex its solid crust and heat its interior, leading to stress that is occasionally relieved in sudden "starquakes." Such an event allows the magnetic field to jerk pieces of the crust around and rearrange itself to a lower-energy state. This rearrangement, which is a vastly scaled-up version of a solar flare (a "reconnection event" in the magnetic field), releases a huge amount of magnetic energy in the form of gamma rays, electrons, and positrons (the antimatter counterpart of electrons). It's this radiation that was responsible for the initial spike, which contained 99.7 percent of the superflare's total energy.
Electrons and positrons confined by the magnetar's magnetic field annihilate one another over the next several minutes, accounting for a fading tail of emission after the initial 0.2-second spike. This "trapped fireball" model was developed in the mid-1990s by Robert C. Duncan (University of Texas, Austin) and Christopher Thompson (Canadian Institute of Theoretical Astrophysics), who also predicted the existence of magnetars in 1992.
If one took
Thanks to the magnetar's great
distance, the superflare posed no threat to humanity or Earth's biosphere. The
International Space Station was on the opposite side of Earth when the flare
hit our planet, but even if the astronauts had faced the full fury of the
blast, they would have received a radiation dose less than a dental X-ray. An
Numerous papers about the event have already appeared on the preprint server Astro-ph. A number of other papers, including theoretical research that might explain the outburst, are currently being peer-reviewed prior to publication in professional journals. Because of embargoes imposed by some of these journals, astronomers have not been allowed to communicate their results to other scientists, which has hindered progress in understanding this event so far. More details about the superflare, including amateur observations of the atmospheric disturbance, will appear in the May Sky & Telescope.
An artist imagines
Wadsworth will be speaking on celestial events that coincided with major Biblical
events throughout history on