Skip to comments.Record number of Near Earth asteroids discovered
Posted on 02/26/2011 1:59:15 PM PST by LibWhacker
A new record was set on 29 January 2011 when the science team operating a new prototype telescope discovered not one Near-Earth Asteroid, not two, but nineteen in a single night! This record number of discoveries shows that PS1 is the worlds most powerful telescope for this kind of study, said Nick Kaiser, head of the Pan-STARRS project.
One of the most difficult jobs astronomers have in outreach is encouraging spending in asteroid discovery programs, to give us sufficient warning of any potential asteroids that will collide with Earth, while avoiding the temptation to whip up false panic. The risk of a catastrophic event is as real as it's likelihood is low. We need to be prepared, but we don't need to be afraid. As it happens, successfully completing the massive surveys needed to map all asteroids will solve the issue neatly. We will know of all possible risks far enough in advance to be able to take action, and the knowledge that we can save ourselves will prevent wide-scale terror.
This is one of the goals of the University of Hawaii's Pan-STARRS project. With the assistance of a consortium of private and government research institutes, they have built the PS1 telescope on Mount Haleakala in Hawaii as a prototype for the final system (PS4). Each of the finished telescopes will be 1.8 meter Richey-Chretien f/4 reflectors, equipped with the world's most powerful digital cameras. The huge CCD detectors in these cameras will have a resolution of 1.4 GigaPixels, and measure 40 centimeters square. The complete unit will have a field of view of three degrees, equivalent to six full moons in a row. This wide field of view combined with the extreme resolution of the camera allows each telescope to scan the entire sky very rapidly. By comparing images of any region taken a short time apart, asteroids can easily be spotted.
The new record is an astounding achievement, and a valuable early step to building a complete map of all potential hazards to the planet.
I am the first, WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE!
I blame SUV’s and Republican policies!
Where’s the KA-BOOM?
Exactly...If anything kills us ALL off, it will likely not result from anything originating on this planet.
Looking at the surface of the moon, I'd say the chances of a planet killing event eventually happening, are a real possibility. Remote yes, but a real possibility...
Too bad the site at the link did not choose to share at least one image with the rest of us.
“I was expecting an earth shattering Ka boom!” (Marvin the Martian)
No pictures! I think I know why.
They suppressed the images because they needed time to get into their personal bunkers before the pant-cr*pping terror hits home and the asteroid-induced riots begin.
But if you need a mental image in the meantime: just imagine a freeze-frame picture of a 100 mile-wide shotgun being fired at your head: that may help :0)
We don’t have enough stress.
Are they showing pictures in the kindergarten yet?
Here's a nice little animation:
It shows the five inner planets, together with the sea of asteroids they're moving through. The yellow dots are Earth crossing asteroids. The blue dots are asteroids that don't cross Earth's orbit. The Sun is at the center, of course, and the Earth is the third large orbiting dot out from the center. We're zipping around through some fairly congested space.
Will all of our windmills pull us out of the way? ;-)
I don't know how we keep missing Venus let alone all those yellow dots!
They don't have an actual count, only estimates, and probably won't have an actual count for a century or more, depending on technological advances. But it's got to be in the billions.
Then, of course, there are the mavericks, that zip through the Solar System from regions beyond and from every direction...
Perhaps the best defense against asteroids are other asteroids. Not with collisions, as most people would assume, but tethers.
Imagine you had a basketball. But tied to it is a softball. You throw the basketball in a straight line, but when the line connecting the two becomes taut, the softball is dragged along for the ride. But almost invariably, the softball does not go in the same direction as the basketball. The end result is that the flight of the basketball deviates from its straight line, pulled off course by the softball.
Now, were this a contest of masses, the softball would lose. But it isn’t. The softball continues to deviate the flight of the basketball, and in the scale of the distance traveled by an asteroid, this deviation can add up in a hurry.
The best bet to pull this off would be to ram the asteroid with a tunneling missile, connected to a tether which has already been connected to the smaller asteroid.
Not even close, except in the hysterical graphics that passes for science these days. Certainly not as congested as that graphic suggests. NOTHING IS TO SCALE!
Kids of all ages are not as dumb as we adults assume. The can certainly grasp the concept of relative distances and sizes.
I suggest these two sites as a start in understanding the distances and sizes involved :
Even the "science" satellite TV channels dumb things down to silliness. Not really necessary.
However, relatively speaking, the local environs of the inner solar system are indeed fairly congested. With nearly 10,000 known Near Earth Objects (almost 1,000 of them kilometer size or larger) and perhaps twice that many yet to be discovered, we should be paying attention.
That is great graphic
Of course we should be paying attention, but the only thing that the truly ignorant will remember is that kindergarten fuzzy OMG graphic.
Remember, they elected the Obama. Don't EVER overestimate the knowledge and judgement of the average "American."
I don't hyperventilate, except perhaps about ignorance.
As to "alarm," it kicks in when ignorant adults haven't a clue.
What is "relatively" congested?" Relative to the void between galaxies?
Is that something like "hope and change?"
If you’re having difficulty with large numbers like 10,000, just let me know. I can help you understand them. I used to tutor dunderheads in mathematics and am a very good teacher.
Note: this topic is from 2/26/2011. Thanks LibWhacker.
Well, that’s by far not to scale, and it’s a whole Earth year in eight seconds or so.