Credit: Google/NASA Meteor Watch

California and Nevada residents may have been terrified by the loud sonic boom that shook their houses Sunday morning, but now that we know what caused it, they should feel privileged to have experienced such a rare event. We now know that the cause was a fairly large meteor that entered our atmosphere with the energy equivalent to a 5-kiloton explosion. I’ve read other estimates for the energy, but that is the official number from NASA’s Meteoroid Environments Office. That puts it entering our atmosphere at a blistering speed of over 33,000 mph. This meteor was about the size of a minivan, so it was easily visible during the daylight, and that fact that it caused a massive sonic boom means that it made it all the way down to the troposphere, the lowest level of atmosphere, or the level in which clouds and weather occur. Most meteors are much MUCH smaller, and even if they did cause a sonic boom, they burn up far too high in the atmosphere for us to hear it, not to mention that that the air up there is much thinner and doesn’t carry sound waves as well. Because of this meteor’s size and density there’s a decent chance that some fragments of it may have made it to the ground. Once they hit the ground they’re called meteorites, and there are people who make it their living to hunt for them. The rarity of this event is why I think the people who got to see it or hear it are very lucky. I’d give anything to witness something like that. Meteors of this size only occur about once a year, and the simple fact that earth is about 75% covered in water means that us land-dwellers only have a 25% chance of seeing one when they do hit. (Other sources: Universe Today and Discovery News)

Combined science/music post today. Not much time….

A meteorite about the size of a fist crashed through the roof of a doctor’s office in Virginia on monday. Reports say that it was traveling about 220 MPH when it hit the roof. There’s a common misconception that all meteorites hit the ground as a fireball and cause a crater. The truth is only the really big ones, about car-size and up, actually have enough inertia to keep up those kinds of speeds all the way to the ground. The smaller ones that reach the ground have long since been slowed by the friction of the atmosphere, and usually hit at speeds anywhere from 100 to 300 mph, depending on the size and weight. I don’t want to spend much time on this so go here or here for more info.

Now for the music.

I mentioned a while back that beloved Nashville scrap-punkers Meemaw decided to end their hiatus. Well, the time has come! It all goes down tonight at The End, along with Marj!, So Jazzy, and JEFF the Brotherhood. I don’t really know if you can quite call it an interview, but please do check out this gem of a video segment of them talking/playing a new song/goofing off over at Nashville’s Dead. Good times.

Unfortunately this had to happen the same night as a ton of other good stuff in town.

One of the aforementioned other things is the special edition of Happy Valley at the Cannery Ballroom, where I will be running the Generation Domination photobooth. It’s part of Mercy Lounge’s 7-year anniversary party, but unlike the other show upstairs, it will cost a meager $5 to get into. The FREE show upstairs will consist of The Non-commissioned Officers, The Ettes, De Novo Dahl, Apollo Up, and the two secret guests have now been revealed- The Features and Turbo Fruits. That has to be the most amazing lineup of local rock I’ve seen in a long time.

On Saturday Mercy is once again the place to be, as the last day of their week of free shows consists of Space Capone, How I Became the Bomb, Heypenny, Madi Diaz, Tallest Trees, and Armed Forces. This amazing lineup will be followed by the return of BFF, featuring yours truly and Fan Fiction of Nashville Nights on the decks, and we promise to keep your butt on the dancefloor till the wee hours.

In case you missed the memo, BFF was a weekly dance party held by me (Burgers) and Joseph (Fan Fiction) at Mad Donna’s in east Nashville. That location turned out to be not quite right for what we were trying to do, so instead of keeping BFF as a monthly staple, we decided to just let it be the branding we use whenever/wherever we spin together. There are two upcoming BFF-related events, the first of which I just mentioned, and the other is Feb. 5th at La Paz. More details are in the pipeline about that, but I’ll say now that it’s probably going to be the official afterparty for the Features’/Cortney Tidwell/Majestico show which just a block away at Exit/In. It’s gonna be a blast y’all.

Have a great weekend!

Quick update on the near-Pavement-reunion last weekend: The Scene’s blog got even more national press- including Rolling Stone’s blog and Stereogum. Wooo!

Apparently Tropicana Pure Premium Orange Juice, which is owned by PepsiCo, is reverting to its old carton design. The new design unveiled in January resulted in a lot of emails and letters from consumers who didn’t like the new look. Thus, they decided to appease the disgruntled customers and go back to the classic design. I personally liked the new typeface, but I agree that the straw-in-orange image was classic, and central to their message of pure, unaltered juice, straight from the fruit. I say return the straw-orange image, but keep the new typeface… but that’s just me. Via NY Times.

Credit: Rod Aydelotte/Waco Tribune-Herald

Credit: Rod Aydelotte/Waco Tribune-Herald

The first fragments of the Texas fireball from last sunday have been found, proving to the doubters that it indeed was NOT fragments from the satellite collision. They’re hoping to find much larger fragments in the near future. The Arizona group of meteorite hunters estimate that the original meteor was about the size of a refrigerator or even a little bigger. It would have to be that big to be seen in the daytime and cause a sonic boom. Very cool!

The whole field of environmental science and protection took a major blow early this morning when NASA’s new Orbiting Carbon Observatory crashed into the ocean near Antarctica. A shield intended to protect the 972-pound spacecraft failed to disengage about 3 minutes after lauch, and caused the overall assembly to fall short of orbit and crash back to earth. This satellite was intended to study CO2 levels in the atmosphere and better understand its natrual cycles. Sad, indeed.

Via Ironic Sans. Click the image to go directly to the post.

The official SXSW music schedule has been released. It’s pretty user-friendly, as you can sort by day or by alphabetical listing. As with any festival, it’s gonna be a game of saying, “ok, who do I really care the most about seeing?”

Two great links from Kottke.org, as always:

I’m officially going to attempt having people over to watch LOST and play the official LOST drinking game. Please, if you watch the show, go read this. And then do it on wednesday. Preferably at my apt. My favorite: take a drink whenever “The island jungle scenes look as if they were shot in someone’s backyard, or the oversize potted plant section of an Office Max.”

Some really cool chemistry experiment videos. HORRIBLE WEB DESIGN ALERT! Warning- this website looks like something straight out of 1997. But the videos are pretty cool nonetheless.

I saw a story on CNN.com yesterday about a fireball and corresponding sonic boom heard/seen over Texas sunday morning. While the story doesn’t say specifically that the fireball was falling debris from the satellite collision last week, it does seem to hint at it. But the Bad Astronomer doesn’t think so, mainly becuase the debris appeared to be moving too quickly. It’s more likely that it was indeed a large meteor that just happened to hit the atmosphere a few days after the satellite collision. But as you can see in the BA post, nothing is for certain just yet. It’ll be interesting to see what comes of this…

Finally, an interesting clip on the Daily Galaxy from an interview with astronomer Neil Degrasse Tyson on why the world will not end in 2012. I would embed the video here, but as far as I can tell, you can only embed YouTube and Google videos on WordPress blogs. Grr.