UPDATE: It is confirmed asteroid 2008 TC3 hit the Earth's atmosphere around 750 miles southwest from the projected atmospheric impact area, this was confirmed by an Air France KLM airliner, the crew noticed a short flash just before the impact time. Apparently a few meteorites made it to the surface. The image below shows the infrared satellite image of the airliner (+) and the predicted impact area (0). As of right now there are no known images of the Fireball.
A small asteroid, 2008 TC3 was to have entered the Earth's atmosphere over Northern Sudan creating quite the light show last night, no pics so far, probably not a whole lot of camcorders over there. The above YouTube video is a simulation of what the Earth would look like from the approaching asteroid. As far as the asteroid, nothing too major about that, we get this size entering our atmosphere every other month or so, but what is interesting about this event is that this was the first time someone was able to predict when and where an asteroid was going to enter our atmosphere ahead of time, it's been tried before but with no success. I'm hoping there is more of the same to come, I'd love nothing better then to stand in my backyard with my camera awaiting the next arrival of a new born baby fireball.
Now the size of this asteroid ranged any where from a few meters to several feet and is not expected to do any damage if it happens to reach the surface, it's not the size I'm concerned with, I mean it's hard to give an exact size of something that far away, but can we pick a system people, I laid awake last night thinking, ... what was the size of it again? , 3 ft., 3 meters, no it was 10 meters, no 10 feet, geez. The first thing you notice when you get into amateur astronomy is we embrace both systems, I don't have just a 12 inch scope, I also have a 300 mm one, coupled with the fact that I also have a 8 inch 200 mm scope, too many numbers, too many numbers. I've resolved to the fact that my scopes no matter what size make stuff bigger. I'm also finding the older I get the less numbers I can remember so it would be great if we just let the old system go and delve into the metric system, it would make things a whole lot easier. The asteroid what ever size it ended up being was first discovered by the NASA funded Catilina Sky Survey with their telescope on Mt. Lemmon, image above. I will update this post as soon as more info becomes available. Hey while we're all waiting for some images of asteroid 2008 CT3, I thought I'd post the image below, it is a daytime fireball I was lucky enough to capture while taking an image of a Sunset last April, since it was only a few degrees from the Sunset I was imaging I had my camera equipped with a telephoto lens and focused, got it exploding.
On October 6 2008 around 4:40am EDT Messenger came within 125 miles of Mercury for the second time this year. The probe took 100's of images , gathered data and grabbed another gravity assist to slow it down for it's eventual orbital insertion with the planet in March of 2011.
Messenger started sending back images this morning around 1:50 am, the image above shows Mercury about 90 minutes after the probes closest approach. A lot of the eastern portion of the above image are views not taken by any spacecraft before. I will update this post as I receive more information.
I leave you now with an animated Moon collage I put together with the various Moon shots I have taken with my camera/various sizes of scopes.