Reposting a Dr Roy Spencer’s posting about a large Asteriod that will pass close to the Earth on April 19 2017.
April 18th, 2017
An asteroid capable of destroying Washington D.C. and New York City at the same time will be making its closest approach to Earth on April 19.
At a half-mile wide, it will have over 30,000 times as much mass as the 2013 meteor which exploded over Russia in 2013.
The current asteroid, called “2014 JO25“, is traveling at the unimaginably fast speed of 75,000 mph. It has been estimated that an asteroid of this size is capable of wiping out an area the size of New England, and causing global cooling from the dust that would be lofted into the stratosphere. “2014 JO25” will be the closest appoach asteroid of this size in the last 13 years.
Good News, Bad News
The good news is that even at closest approach, the asteroid — about the size of the Rock of Gibraltar — will safely pass by about 4.6 times as far away from Earth as the moon.
The bad news is that this asteroid was only discovered in 2014, and even if it was on a collision course with Earth, there probably would not have been enough time to mount a mission to hit it with a nuclear-weapon tipped rocket. This is why NASA has been surveying the skies, discovering new asteroids on a routine basis. While most of these are small, the relatively recent discovery of Wednesday’s asteroid suggests we will not have much time to respond if we discover one on a collision course with Earth. I suspect we will eventually have a rocket designed and ready for an intercept, just in case.
VOX.com has a page with “40 maps that explain the universe”. Photos and drawing plus text are there for your review. Some of the illustrations are really eye catching. For example:
Even a single comet is pretty darn big
This is the comet 67P/C-G — which the Philae probe landed on in November 2014 — superimposed on Los Angeles. In terms of space, the comet is absolutely tiny: just 3.5 miles wide.
Suni Williams, the Commander of the International Space Station, takes you on a video tour. The tour includes where they work, sleep, eat, and exercise. The “orbital outhouse” use is explained. EVA equipment is demonstrated. This video was taken the day that Williams was returning to Earth in the Russian Soyuz vehicle. Looks like working there is a great experience, but if you are claustrophobic don’t apply. Click here to take the tour.
The Hubble telescope photographed the most distant objects ever, some 13 billion light years away during a 4 month period in 2003. This is old news and some of you know about this event. But even so it is worth seeing it again. Click here to see the show.
On 5 August 2012, the NASA Curiosity Rover landed on Mars. NASA has provided several videos to commemorate Curiosity’s yearlong exploits. The first video condenses 12 months of images taken in “rover’s eye view” down into two minutes:
Click here 12 months in 2 minutes
NASA provides the video animation of asteroid DA14 that passes near-by the Earth on Friday 15 February 2013. The asteroid will be about 17,150 miles (27,600 kilometers) above Earth’s surface.
NASA confirms that a 2 mile wide comet, discovered by amateur Russian Astronomers, is coming our way. The comet is know as ISON. According to NASA:
“Comet ISON appears on course to achieve sungrazer status as it passes within a solar diameter of Sun’s surface in late 2013 November. Whatever survives will then pass nearest the Earth in late 2013 December,” NASA astronomers explained in a posting. ‘Astronomers around the world will be tracking this large dirty snowball closely to better understand its nature and how it might evolve during the next 15 months’ “The comet, which is estimated to be nearly two miles wide, will likely be one of the largest comets to ever pass Earth. While there is a chance that ISON will disintegrate when it approaches the sun, some astronomers say heat from the sun will vaporize ices in its body, creating what could be a spectacular tail.”
I think that a bright object in the sky at the end of December may remind some of another bright object in the sky several thousand years ago.