Sunday, February 10, 2013

Valentine’s Day Asteroid, Near Apocalypse?

Okay it’s the geek in me coming out and maybe I do watch waaay too much Big Bang Theory. Does the idea that an asteroid will pass close to earth on Friday bore you? Closer than some satellites? If that doesn't spark your interest, then you can skip this blog. If it does, read on: I love when science fiction becomes science fact.

Asteroid 2012 DA14 will fly by the earth on February 15th traveling at 7.8 kilometers per second. That’s about eight times the speed of a bullet from a high powered rifle. Don't worry it will not hit. No apocalyptic event and nothing like the movie Armageddon! No need to eat of all your Valentine’s Day chocolates before Friday. But the asteroid will come about 17,100 miles from the planet’s surface, closer than some satellites. That’s very close.

Remember the distance from the earth to the moon is 238,900 miles! I can’t help but think how many times the astrophysics calculated and recalculated the path trajectory of this object to make sure they weren’t making a math mistake. Any slight error in their vector angle calculation and BOOM! Giant hole somewhere on earth.

If this asteroid were to hit—and it won’t—it would have the impact of 2.4 megatons of TNT. It would level trees over an area of 820 miles, about 2/3 the size of Rhode Island. This would be equivalent to the meteor event in Tunguska, Russia in 1908.

Meteorites enter earth’s atmosphere all the time but they’re very small (from grains of sand to fist-size) and may be seen as ‘shooting stars’. Most burn up before landing on the surface.

For the stargazers and telescope enthusiasts: Eastern Europe, Asia and Australia will have the best telescopic-aided view of the 2012 DA14 asteroid. Sadly, it can’t be seen by the naked eye. NASA please take lots of pictures and share!
Need a sexy Science Fiction romance where a natural event destroys a world and hunky guy steps in to rescue, but risks losing his love forever?
Dragon Witch by Ellora's Cave. It was a PRISM finalist.


Cris Anson said...

Thank you for being a geek who makes the subject of meteorites interesting. I loved this post. But then I like all of your writing :-)

Kathy Kulig said...

Cris, you're a sweetie. Nice to know I'm not boring everyone. LOL