Pieces of meteorite found in California
LOTUS, Calif., April 26 (UPI) -- A NASA astronomer says he found fragments of the meteor that exploded in a giant fireball over California Sunday morning.
Petrus Jenniskens said he found fragments of the object Wednesday in a parking lot of Henningsen Lotus Park, located in the small town of Lotus in El Dorado County near California's historic Sutter's Mill.
"This meteor itself must have been big," Jenniskens told the San Francisco Chronicle, "probably in the kiloton range. But now we need to find more fragments so we can begin to understand how it broke apart and what was inside it."
Scientists from the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif., have been searching throughout the week, he said.
Four years ago Jenniskens trekked across Africa's Nubian Desert to recover fragments of a small asteroid and bring them to the United States.
He says the public can help in the search for fragments of the California meteor.
"Now we're hoping that anyone who has any videos or amateur photos of the explosion itself will contact us so we can begin to understand the meteor's trajectory before it exploded."
Enterprise to make New York fly-over
NEW YORK, April 26 (UPI) -- The retired space shuttle Enterprise will meet the Statue of Liberty as it flies to New York City and its new museum home Friday, officials said.
NASA's 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft with Enterprise mounted atop will fly at a relatively low altitude over parts of the New York metropolitan area on its way from Washington Dulles International Airport to John F. Kennedy International Airport, the space agency reported.
Weather permitting, the flight -- to be coordinated by the Federal Aviation Administration -- is scheduled to occur between 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. EDT.
Several weeks after its arrival, Enterprise will be separated from the 747 and placed on a barge that will be moved by tugboat up the Hudson River to the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, NASA said.
The Intrepid museum is constructing a permanent exhibit facility, to be completed in June, to showcase Enterprise and enhance the museum's space-related exhibits, officials said.
How Twitter spread news of bin Laden death
ATLANTA, April 26 (UPI) -- U.S. researchers say they've studied one of Twitter's busiest traffic periods -- when Osama bin Laden was killed on May 1, 2011 -- to see how the word spread.
In a two-hour time frame beginning just minutes from the first rumor, opinion leaders and celebrities played key roles in spreading the news of the operation by U.S. Special Forces, researchers at Georgia Tech reported Thursday.
The Twitter universe was overwhelmingly convinced the news of bin Laden's death was true even before it was confirmed on television, the researchers said.
They said the study confirms the widely held assumption that Keith Urbahn, an aide to former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, was the first person to break the news on Twitter, and when it was followed by tweets by a CBS producer and a New York Times reporter, the news began to spread more widely.
"Rumors spreading on Twitter is one thing," computer scientist Mengdie Hu, who led the study, said. "Determining if they are true is another, especially in this era of social media and the rush to break news."
"We believe Twitter was so quick to trust the rumors because of who sent the first few tweets," Hu said. "They came from reputable sources. Twitter saw their credentials and quickly believed the news was true."
After TV reports began to confirm the story, celebrities surpassed media mentions and carried the discussion throughout the night, the researchers found.
"The celebrities weren't the first people to arrive at the party," John Stasko, Hu's adviser and professor in Georgia Tech's School of Interactive Computing, said. "But they stayed the longest and brought the most guests."
Death throes of star observed
PASADENA, Calif., April 26 (UPI) -- U.S. astronomers say they've observed an aging star erupting with dust, a natural part of aging for stars that will eventually happen to our own sun.
As stars like our sun puff up into red giants near the end of their lives, the astronomers said, they shed dust that is later recycled back into other stars, planets, and in the case of our solar system, living creatures.
The star was discovered by an international team of researchers in images taken in 2010 NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., reported Thursday.
"We were not searching specifically for this phenomenon, but because WISE scanned the whole sky, we can find such unique objects," Poshak Gandhi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency JAXA said.
The star recently exploded with copious amounts of fresh dust equivalent in mass to our planet Earth that is being heated by the star and glowing with infrared light, astronomers said.
"Observing this period of explosive change while it is actually ongoing is very rare," study co-author Issei Yamamura of JAXA said. "These dust eruptions probably occur only once every 10,000 years in the lives of old stars, and they are thought to last less than a few hundred years each time. It's the blink of an eye in cosmological terms."
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