Skip to comments.Asteroid to make close pass by Earth next week (2007 TU24, 500 feet long, 334K miles whiz-by)
Posted on 01/24/2008 12:20:06 PM PST by NormsRevenge
An asteroid at least 500 feet long will make a rare close pass by Earth next week, but there is no chance of an impact, scientists reported Thursday.
The object, known as 2007 TU24, is expected to whiz by Earth on Tuesday with its closest approach at 334,000 miles, or about 1 1/2 times the distance of Earth to the moon.
The nighttime encounter should be bright enough for medium-sized telescopes to get a glimpse, said Don Yeomans, manager of the Near-Earth Object Program Office at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which tracks potentially dangerous space rocks.
However, next week's asteroid pass "has no chance of hitting, or affecting, Earth," Yeomans said.
An actual collision of a similar-sized object with Earth occurs on average every 37,000 years.
Spotted last October by the NASA-funded Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona, 2007 TU24 is estimated to be between 500 feet and 2,000 feet long. The next time an asteroid this size will fly this close to Earth will be in 2027.
Scientists plan to point the Goldstone radar telescope in California and the Arecibo radar telescope in Puerto Rico at the asteroid and observe its path before and after its closest approach to Earth. Researchers will use instruments to measure its rotation and composition.
The 2007 TU24 rendezvous comes a day before another asteroid is projected to pass close to Mars.
Scientists have effectively ruled out a collision between the Red Planet and the asteroid 2007 WD5, estimating it will pass at a distance of more than 16,000 miles from the Martian surface. Initial observations of the Mars-bound asteroid put the odds of an impact at 1 in 25 before dropping to 1 in 10,000.
Near Earth Object Program
How about the moon? Is the moon in danger? It would be entertaining and scientifically productive to have a fresh crater on the moon and a shower of tektites to astonish people who are outdoors looking for UFOs anyway.
“but there is no chance of an impact, scientists reported Thursday.”
I hope these aren’t the same ‘scientists’ that Al Gore keeps talking about.
Look at the moon. Those craters - the ol’ dude took those hits for us, man...
One of the requirements that cosmologists have discovered/derived for intelligent life to exist in a solar system are “shields” to keep the life supporting planet from getting hit so much. We have our gas giants, and our moon.
So they want us to think...it’s probably gonna hit, but they can’t risk panic, Evil Government! HA! I’m just giving kudos to ridiculous Hollywood movies...personally, I’d rather not know and go out with the fireworks, the way God wants it!
For an interactive illustration of this object's orbit see: http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/sbdb.cgi?sstr=2007+TU24&orb=1
The illustration below is courtesy of amateur astronomer Dr. Dale Ireland from Silverdale, WA. The illustration shows the asteroid's track on the sky for 3 days near the time of the close Earth approach as seen from the city of Philadelphia. Since the object's parallax will be a significant fraction of a degree, observers are encouraged to use our on-line Horizons ephemeris generation service for their specific locations. These personalized ephemeris tables can be generated at: http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/horizons.cgi?find_body=1&body_group=sb&sstr=2007%20TU24
Given the estimated number of near-Earth asteroids of this size (about 7,000 discovered and undiscovered objects), an object of this size would be expected to pass this close to Earth, on average, about every 5 years or so. The average interval between actual Earth impacts for an object of this size would be about 37,000 years. For the January 29th encounter, near Earth asteroid 2007 TU24 has no chance of hitting, or affecting, Earth.
2007 TU24 will be the closest currently known approach by a potentially hazardous asteroid of this size or larger until 2027. Plans have been made for the Goldstone planetary radar to observe this object Jan 23-24 and for the Arecibo radar to observe it Jan 27-28 and then Feb 1-4. High resolution radar imaging is expected, which may permit later 3-D shape reconstruction.
We wouldn’t be here now if some asteroid or super-lava event hadn’t cleared the dinosaurs out of our way.
We need these hits now and then to keep the planet youthful.
Yeah, that’s kinda the point - we need “just enough” hits to deposit water, organic material, etc,
but not too many that would hinder the development of a techno society.
Nice map. Easy way to remember the brightest point is finding the north star and look 10 degrees south of that star on the evening of Jan 29. If you extend your fist out at the object, the width of your fist is about 10-15 degrees, as a reference.
Coast had this last night, but they will have more tonight, without a doubt.
One could as well argue that because they took the hits, life thrived on Earth. As in, chance, again.
Besides, it's not like the Earth hasn't taken any hits on its own, either. The dinosaurs went out because of a mega-impact hit that the Earth took.
I get a big laugh out of the new ones that make the list... after being discovered on the way outbound... meaning they were unknown until after they passed Earth.
It may miss us but what happens if it’s course is changed after it’s sideswiped by some dumb strumpet in an SUV talking on her cell phone?
Ya gotta deflect it if necessary.BUT if it’s just a missle headed for new york, ya gotta let it come on in. See? No missle defense allowed! Got it?
Did that last night.