Fraser Cain of Universe Today and Astronomy Cast joins Toren, Joe and Kevin to talk about meteors, comets and asteroids including the Torino Impact Hazard Scale, the Tunguska blast, the Chicxulub impact event and the Dawn Mission to not one but two asteroids. Also news, films, pop culture, and some German kid who may or may not have been hit by a meteorite.

Music: “Caravan” by Gordon Jenkins

Images

Links

Videos

Movies

Armageddon
Toren: 4/10
Kevin: 2/10
Joe: 5/10
Fraser: 2/10

Empire Strikes Back
Toren: 10/10
Kevin: 9/10
Joe: 9/10
Fraser: 9/10

Deep Impact
Kevin: 4/10

Creepshow
Toren: 5/10
Kevin: 5/10
Fraser: 5/10

Day of the Triffids (1962)
Toren: 6/10
Fraser: 5/10

Meteor Man
Toren: 3/10

The Blob
Toren: 4/10
Kevin: 2/10
Joe: 4/10
Fraser: 4/10

Night of the Comet:
Toren: 5/10
Joe: 6/10

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Showing 22 comments
  • Nick Curnow

    In HPL’s “The Colour Out of Space”, the titular color comes from a Meteor that crashes onto the farm of Nahum Gardener.

  • Nick Curnow

    In HPL’s “The Colour Out of Space”, the titular color comes from a Meteor that crashes onto the farm of Nahum Gardener.

  • banks!

    I can’t you forgot The Colour Out Of Space too.

    Now my favourite episode of Caustic Soda. Space stuff! Can’t wait for the next Fraser Cane episode!

    A fact that might be relevant is that sunlight affects asteroid orbit. The sunlight hits the asteroid, it is absorbed then released back into space. The energy as it is released provides a bit of thrust. This tiny bit of thrust can have a large effect especially if the asteroid gets pulled into the gravity of a nearby planet like Jupiter.

    Also, google is now finding meteor strikes on earth! Here’s one, but there are more.

    http://www.physorg.com/news199331930.html

    Finally, Day of the Triffids light show in the sky that blinded people was actually man made weapons triggered in conjunction with the release of the Triffids. That is the explanation in the book.

    • Toren Atkinson

      Definitely meteors in the Triffids movie…

      • banks!

        Initially people in the book think it is a meteor shower too. Only later is it revealed it was something more. I can see why they may have cut that part out of a movie in the 60’s. Government conspiracy wasn’t cool at the time. However, it is what I think makes the book so great.

        If you watch the BBC mini series, it is more faithful to the book and touches on all the things that made the book more enjoyable. I’d recommend the BBC version if you can your hands on it. Probably pretty easy now a days.

  • banks!

    I can’t you forgot The Colour Out Of Space too.

    Now my favourite episode of Caustic Soda. Space stuff! Can’t wait for the next Fraser Cane episode!

    A fact that might be relevant is that sunlight affects asteroid orbit. The sunlight hits the asteroid, it is absorbed then released back into space. The energy as it is released provides a bit of thrust. This tiny bit of thrust can have a large effect especially if the asteroid gets pulled into the gravity of a nearby planet like Jupiter.

    Also, google is now finding meteor strikes on earth! Here’s one, but there are more.

    http://www.physorg.com/news199331930.html

    Finally, Day of the Triffids light show in the sky that blinded people was actually man made weapons triggered in conjunction with the release of the Triffids. That is the explanation in the book.

  • Phav Nosnibor

    In Criterion’s defence, they were pretty much handed the contents of their Armageddon set by Michael Bay, who apparently very much wanted to have one of his movies released through them. Criterion’s reasoning was probably something along the lines of “Getting the discs pressed will pay for the next half-dozen good movies we want to put out, so why not?”

    It was also kind of nice that, when the local high-end video place got out of the laserdisc market in 2000 or so, you could snag their last copies of Armageddon for twenty bucks each and flip them on eBay for seventy or eighty. I figure that, indirectly, Bay bought me a plane ticket or two that year.

  • Derek

    I have a very vague recollection that the little monsters in the film Critters arrived by meteorite too. Is that right? The Tunguska stuff and the Chevy story were awesome, and I can highly recommend Astronomycast – absolutely fantastic podcast.

  • Derek

    I have a very vague recollection that the little monsters in the film Critters arrived by meteorite too. Is that right? The Tunguska stuff and the Chevy story were awesome, and I can highly recommend Astronomycast – absolutely fantastic podcast.

  • marlo

    THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID.

    I laughed so hard that you said that, Kevin.

    btw, Joanna Newsom’s “Emily” has some lyrics about meteorites and meteoroids.

  • marlo

    THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID.

    I laughed so hard that you said that, Kevin.

    btw, Joanna Newsom’s “Emily” has some lyrics about meteorites and meteoroids.

  • Derek

    They Might Be Giants have a song “What is a shooting star” on their Here Comes Science album – great track.

  • seaotter

    Footfall by Niven and pournelle http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Footfall has the foot which is basically an asteroid that the invading elephant like aliens bombard the earth with. Babalon five had the Centari do the Narn home world in a similar bombardment from orbit. Why waste a nuke?

    Also I’m from Talladega which is about twenty miles from sylicauga site of the women hit by the meteorite which we can all see in the Smithsonian museum of natural history in the mineral section in the meteorite collection.

    Also also the number I’ve seen is above 100 meters, asteroid, below meteoroid, which would include both asteroidal and cometary debris such as is present in a meteor shower.

    • Derek

      That reminded me of Starship Troopers. Forgot to mention it before.

  • Zytheran

    To play ‘smack the crap outa Earth’ see http://simulator.down2earth.eu/
    (On the map screen you can drag the map to wherever you want and place the crater, you’re not just limited to the initial locations.)

  • Zytheran

    To play ‘smack the crap outa Earth’ see http://simulator.down2earth.eu/
    (On the map screen you can drag the map to wherever you want and place the crater, you’re not just limited to the initial locations.)

  • IdahoJoe

    The Tunguska event is really fascinating. if you want an alternative theory to the airburst meteor, listen to a free podiobook on iTunes called Singularity. You can also get it through podiobooks.com. It is completely fictional, of course, but is a good listen and a VERY interesting theory. I’ll just say that you also could have used this book in your Black Hole episode.

    Great podcast, keep em coming! Thanks to my brother-in-law Kevin for introducing me to Caustic Soda!

  • Chew

    Joe “Inverse Square Law” Fulgham will enjoy this and it’s the main reason why you don’t want to break an asteroid into smaller pieces (e.g. Fraser’s bullet vs shotgun analogy):

    The blast radius of an impacting asteroid is proportional to the cube root of the asteroid’s kinetic energy.
    The area of destruction is proportional to the square of the blast radius.
    Break a big asteroid into 1000 evenly sized pieces and one piece’s blast radius will be 1/10th the radius of the original asteroid.
    Square the blast radius of one piece to get the area affected by the blast. That comes out to 1/100th the area of destruction of the original asteroid but with 1000 pieces you will devastate at least 10 times the area (hopefully less than 10 times because some areas of destruction will overlap. Hopefully.)

    A 50 meter diameter asteroid will retain 95% of its kinetic energy during its trip through the atmosphere so to use the atmosphere to our advantage the asteroid would have to be broken into much smaller pieces.

  • Chew

    Joe “Inverse Square Law” Fulgham will enjoy this and it’s the main reason why you don’t want to break an asteroid into smaller pieces (e.g. Fraser’s bullet vs shotgun analogy):

    The blast radius of an impacting asteroid is proportional to the cube root of the asteroid’s kinetic energy.
    The area of destruction is proportional to the square of the blast radius.
    Break a big asteroid into 1000 evenly sized pieces and one piece’s blast radius will be 1/10th the radius of the original asteroid.
    Square the blast radius of one piece to get the area affected by the blast. That comes out to 1/100th the area of destruction of the original asteroid but with 1000 pieces you will devastate at least 10 times the area (hopefully less than 10 times because some areas of destruction will overlap. Hopefully.)

    A 50 meter diameter asteroid will retain 95% of its kinetic energy during its trip through the atmosphere so to use the atmosphere to our advantage the asteroid would have to be broken into much smaller pieces.

  • Chew

    Powerful impacts more frequent than previously thought.