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Space Rock To Hurtle Past Earth
BBC ^ | 01-07-2002

Posted on 01/06/2002 7:20:43 PM PST by blam

Monday, 7 January, 2002, 02:24 GMT

Space rock to hurtle past Earth

Multiple images of Asteroid 2001 YB5 show rapid motion

By BBC News Online science editor Dr David Whitehouse An asteroid discovered just a month ago is making a close approach to the Earth.

Although there is no danger of collision with it, astronomers say that its proximity reminds us just how many objects there are in space that could strike our planet with devastating consequences.

It will pass less than twice the Moon's distance from us as the rocky body moves closer to the Sun.

It is thought to be 300 metres in size - large enough to wipe out an entire country if it struck the Earth.

'Potentially hazardous'

2001 YB5 was discovered in early December by the Neat (Near Earth Asteroid Tracking) survey telescope observing from Mount Palomar in California.

Astronomers call it an Apollo object because it has a highly elliptical orbit that crosses the orbits of Mars, Earth, Venus and Mercury. It circles the Sun every 1,321 days.

Astronomers also add that it is "potentially hazardous", meaning there is a slim chance that it may strike the Earth sometime in the future.

In the meantime, it will come very close to us. At 0737 GMT on 7 January it will pass just 370,000 miles away from the Earth - close in cosmic terms.

As it approached, the Earth it was observed by the Klet Observatory in the Czech Republic by astronomers Jana Ticha and Milos Tichy who tracked it on 5 January.

Such a "close encounter" is rare but not unprecedented. However, the only other known object that will come closer to the Earth is an asteroid called 1999 AN10 that will pass a shade closer on 7 August 2027.

Widespread devastation

2001 YB5's brightness suggests it is a rocky body about 300 metres across.

If it struck the Earth a 300 metre object would not be a global killer: to wipe all life off the face of our planet an object would have to be about 1 km is size. But 300 metres is more than enough to cause widespread devastation.

If it struck land it would wipe out an entire country. If the impact point were London then scientists estimate there would be total devastation for 150 kilometres and severe destruction for a further 800 kilometres, meaning that not only would the UK be destroyed but France and the Low Countries as well.

If it struck the ocean the destruction would be more widespread. It would trigger Tsunamis that would devastate most coastal cities.

Little warning

According to experts, the recent discovery and close approach of 2001 YB5 suggests that something nasty could creep up on us at any time.

Dr Benny Peiser of Liverpool John Moores University told BBC News Online: "The fact that this object was discovered less than a month ago leads to the question of if we would have had enough time to do anything about it had it been on a collision course with us.

"Of course the answer is no, there is nothing we could have done about it."

Astronomers and archaeologists suspect that our planet is struck by a 300 metre object like 2001 YB5 about every 5,000 years or so, but this is an estimate based on a hunch rather than on any definite evidence.

"It is a reminder of the objects that are out there. It is a reminder of what is going to happen unless we track them more efficiently than we do and make better preparations to defend our planet," says Dr Peiser.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: archaeology; catastrophism; ggg; godsgravesglyphs; history
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We're all gonna die?
1 posted on 01/06/2002 7:20:43 PM PST by blam
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To: blam

2 posted on 01/06/2002 7:23:01 PM PST by blam
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To: RadioAstronomer;RightWhale
Bump.
3 posted on 01/06/2002 7:24:43 PM PST by blam
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To: blam
... its proximity reminds us just how many objects there are in space that could strike our planet with devastating consequences ...
I'll say. That giant arrow-like object looks particularly menacing.
4 posted on 01/06/2002 7:26:59 PM PST by Asclepius
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To: blam
Y'ever notice these things always hurtle past Earth?
Don't any of them just meander by, stumble past,
or even just saunter through the 'hood?

I gotta study "hurtling", see if I can make some money at it.

5 posted on 01/06/2002 7:29:14 PM PST by theDentist
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To: blam
Quick, strap some rockets on it and send it to Saddam!
6 posted on 01/06/2002 7:34:23 PM PST by Rain-maker
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To: blam
Gee, this is just about three hours from when I post this, and it's so cloudy out I won't see it coming.
7 posted on 01/06/2002 7:35:21 PM PST by Brad C.
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To: Asclepius
"...That giant arrow-like object looks particularly menacing.

Do you think that's where Sagan got the name for his book, "Contact"?

We're fortunate that it doesn't appear to cross our orbit.

8 posted on 01/06/2002 7:38:58 PM PST by Calvin Locke
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To: blam
The sky is falling, the sky is falling!!

At 0737 GMT on 7 January it will pass just 370,000 miles away from the Earth - close in cosmic terms.

Oh, nevermind.

9 posted on 01/06/2002 7:39:37 PM PST by upchuck
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To: blam
Astronomers and archaeologists suspect that our planet is struck by a 300 metre object like 2001 YB5 about every 5,000 years or so, but this is an estimate based on a hunch rather than on any definite evidence.

Assuming this is correct, and you're going to live another 100 years, the odds are one only in 50 that such a meteor will strike any point on the earth during your lifetime.

And any such strike would most likely hit water.

10 posted on 01/06/2002 7:44:46 PM PST by butter pecan fan
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To: Asclepius
'That giant arrow-like object looks particularly menacing'

It appears to be some sort of bird track -- sign left by an intergalactic pea-fowl or space chicken . . .

11 posted on 01/06/2002 7:45:23 PM PST by Crowcreek
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To: Crowcreek
ROFLMAO....almost spit up my coffee on the monitor...space chicken..lol
12 posted on 01/06/2002 7:48:48 PM PST by Rain-maker
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To: blam
This object (2001 YB5) is big. Here are some comparisons, with approximate sizes for three actual impacts:

Tunguska, Siberia (1908) 50 m
Meteor Crater, Arizona (20,000 years ago) 100 m
2001 YB5 (now) 300 m
Chicxulub, Gulf of Mexico (65,000,000 years ago) 10,000 m

See 1908 Siberia Explosion: Reconstructing an Asteroid Impact from Eyewitness Accounts.
13 posted on 01/06/2002 7:52:12 PM PST by Mitchell
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To: butter pecan fan
"What does "if necessary" mean? The plane crashed into the Bank of America building. What threat would have necessitated a shoot-down if this action did not?"

The Tunguska explosion occurred in 1908, they are estimated to occur every 80-100 years.

14 posted on 01/06/2002 7:52:47 PM PST by blam
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To: Mitchell
The Arizona impact occurred 50,000 years ago.
15 posted on 01/06/2002 7:55:54 PM PST by blam
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Comment #16 Removed by Moderator

To: blam
Man, I wish we had an effective space program. We could've sent astronauts to land on this thing, maybe attach a mass driver and put it at L5. At 370,000 miles it would've only taken about a week to get there.
17 posted on 01/06/2002 8:01:21 PM PST by Brett66
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To: blam
I am less worried about the asteroid than about the Klingons around Uranus ... besides, there is some good cosmic news too:

Good news: Doomsday has been postponed
By Robert Matthews, Science Correspondent
(Filed: 06/01/2002)

Link

THE end is not as nigh as we thought. Scientists have found a mistake in the standard account of the future fate of the solar system and now believe that the Earth will not be destroyed when the Sun runs out of fuel.

For decades, astronomy textbooks have insisted that the Earth will be engulfed in an inferno billions of years from now as the Sun burns up its nuclear fuel and swells to become a gigantic red star.

Surrounded by the searing gas of the Sun's outer atmosphere, the Earth was expected to be dragged down to its doom deep within the Sun.

Now a team of astrophysicists at Sussex University has uncovered a significant flaw in the standard view of how the Sun will evolve, with dramatic consequences for the fate of our planet.

18 posted on 01/06/2002 8:14:55 PM PST by spodefly
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To: blam
I did a little more research on this, and it turns out that there's quite a bit of uncertainty in the date. NASA says it occurred sometime between 50,000 and 20,000 years ago. See this page at the JPL Near-Earth Object Program. That web page also gives 80 feet as the diameter of the object that hit, a little smaller than 100-meter figure from the other website I quoted above.

Thanks for bringing this out.

19 posted on 01/06/2002 8:30:49 PM PST by Mitchell
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To: blam
Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) are space rocks larger than approximately 100m that can come closer to Earth than 0.05 AU. None of the known PHAs are on a collision course with our planet, although astronomers are finding new ones all the time.

On 7 Jan 2002 there were 361 known Potentially Hazardous Asteroids

20 posted on 01/06/2002 8:34:11 PM PST by classygreeneyedblonde
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To: Mitchell; blam
That web page also gives 80 feet as the diameter of the object that hit, a little smaller than 100-meter figure from the other website I quoted above.

Whoops -- that should have been "a lot smaller".

21 posted on 01/06/2002 8:35:30 PM PST by Mitchell
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To: Mitchell
Thanks to you too. I checked it out myself some time back because of my interest in anthropology. I was wondering if this event had been witnessed by humans. ( I think yes, regardless if it was 20k or 50k years ago.)
22 posted on 01/06/2002 8:36:40 PM PST by blam
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To: wacsog10

Carolina Bays

23 posted on 01/06/2002 8:41:48 PM PST by blam
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To: blam
Was that area populated 50,000 years ago?
24 posted on 01/06/2002 8:44:28 PM PST by Mitchell
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To: blam
there is nothing we could have done about it.

If they would get off their country estates and put some hardware in space, --prepositioning--, then there would be something that could be done. Cataloging the nasties is just another academic exercise.

25 posted on 01/06/2002 8:55:25 PM PST by RightWhale
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To: wacsog10
I don't think anyone can imagine the extent of the panic and chaos that would take place

Depends who it lands on. If it lands on them it will be a sign from God. If it lands on us it will begin several years of blaming Republicans.

26 posted on 01/06/2002 8:59:57 PM PST by RightWhale
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To: blam
We're all gonna die?

You have doubts?

27 posted on 01/06/2002 9:05:58 PM PST by Mind-numbed Robot
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To: Mitchell
"Was that area populated 50,000 years ago?"

Oh Yes!

Calico: A 200,000 Year Old Site In The Americas

28 posted on 01/06/2002 9:08:50 PM PST by blam
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To: Mind-numbed Robot
I read the end of the book. Not everybody will die. (See Revelation)
29 posted on 01/06/2002 9:10:11 PM PST by JudyB1938
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To: blam
Scattered along the eastern coast of the United States from southern New Jersey to northern Florida are approximately 500,000 elliptical depressions collectively called the Carolina Bays


30 posted on 01/06/2002 9:20:41 PM PST by XBob
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To: Crowcreek
It appears to be some sort of bird track -- sign left by an intergalactic pea-fowl or space chicken

Wouldn't that be poultry in motion?

31 posted on 01/06/2002 9:30:53 PM PST by wolfman
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To: blam
Very interesting. I didn't realize there was any evidence for humans in the New World before 20,000 years ago or so. Thanks for the link.
32 posted on 01/06/2002 9:38:35 PM PST by Mitchell
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To: JudyB1938
I read the end of the book. Not everybody will die. (See Revelation)

On this plane, the plane threatened by an errant rock, they will. On a higher plane, no, but those aren't the ones who are worrying. :-)

33 posted on 01/06/2002 9:54:10 PM PST by Mind-numbed Robot
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To: JudyB1938
I read the end of the book. Not everybody will die. (See Revelation)

On this plane, the plane threatened by an errant rock, they will. On a higher plane, no, but those aren't the ones who are worrying. :-)

34 posted on 01/06/2002 9:55:10 PM PST by Mind-numbed Robot
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To: JudyB1938
I read the end of the book. Not everybody will die. (See Revelation)

On this plane, the plane threatened by an errant rock, they will. On a higher plane, no, but those aren't the ones who are worrying. :-)

35 posted on 01/06/2002 9:57:46 PM PST by Mind-numbed Robot
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To: JudyB1938
I read the end of the book. Not everybody will die. (See Revelation)

On this plane, the plane threatened by an errant rock, they will. On a higher plane, no, but those aren't the ones who are worrying. :-)

36 posted on 01/06/2002 10:15:39 PM PST by Mind-numbed Robot
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To: wolfman
Spit take.
37 posted on 01/06/2002 10:36:20 PM PST by zarf
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To: wolfman
poultry in motion?

Hmmmm... Eggstraterrestial flying objects....Impossible to track -- if not for the occasional track...

At this point, we might check for droppings near cosmic water-holes. A close orbit with one of these cl*ckers could plunge the globe into 'deep guano' . .

38 posted on 01/06/2002 10:54:02 PM PST by Crowcreek
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To: Mitchell
A meteor would most likely hit the Pacific Ocean and if it was big enough cause huge tsunamis and do great damage to Sydney, Australia, Japan, California and other places. Will you sleep soundly tonight now with that knowledge?
39 posted on 01/06/2002 10:56:27 PM PST by 2nd_Amendment_Defender
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To: 2nd_Amendment_Defender
I will sleep soundly tonight, heck everyone dies someday.
40 posted on 01/06/2002 11:09:49 PM PST by 2nd_Amendment_Defender
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To: butter pecan fan
And any such strike would most likely hit water.

SURFS UP!

41 posted on 01/06/2002 11:10:11 PM PST by ChefKeith
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To: classygreeneyedblonde
The Taurid meteor stream is a significant concern.Crossing Earths path two times per year...The debrie trail from the break-up of Comet Encke [ shortest period earth crosser at 3 and 1/3 rd years ]has been observed to become "increasingly erratic in its orbit."

Gravametrics from planets viewed as the source for elliptical decay.

Encke is considered by some to have been a super comet..that spiralled in and was shorn in pieces.Our Earth History a testimony to Encke's power.

Dr's Victor Klube and Napier submit that we will be hit again while transiting accross the Taurid meteor stream. The Stream is likend unto crushed gravel that is delivered for drive ways..lots of consistantly small uniform sizes... with a varied amount of larger rock included. It is the larger pieces of Encke's train that fail to burn up in our atmosphere that have been doing the damage... Tunguska events to Barringer.

An interesting side note...there are positional horizon markings at Stonehenge..some feel this was also part of the design..a way of monitoring the seasons..and the Taurid meteor stream .. that the ancients feared greatly.

42 posted on 01/06/2002 11:40:35 PM PST by Light Speed
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To: 2nd_Amendment_Defender
A meteor would most likely hit the Pacific Ocean and if it was big enough cause huge tsunamis and do great damage to Sydney, Australia, Japan, California and other places. Will you sleep soundly tonight now with that knowledge?

I'm not sure what that's supposed to mean. My post wasn't alarmist -- these space rocks are interesting. A small number of them have significantly affected life on Earth, but these are very rare.

By the way, it's the rarity of these large impacts that is the reason to sleep soundly. (I think you're underestimating the harm that would ensue if we got unlucky and a large asteroid did hit.)

43 posted on 01/07/2002 12:01:53 AM PST by Mitchell
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To: blam
How fast is a "hurtle" is space rock mph?
44 posted on 01/07/2002 4:14:40 AM PST by oceanperch
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To: theDentist
I gotta study "hurtling", see if I can make some money at it.

Hurtling is now an Olympic event.

45 posted on 01/07/2002 4:23:21 AM PST by Lazamataz
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To: XBob
Fascinating stuff on those 'bays' XBob. Your link suggested a comet, after reading it I would be more inclined to think one or more really giant asteriods hit the ocean and "splashed" some truly immense 'drops' of water on the coast.

The recent dates are aslo facinating. Evidence for the Bibical Deluge of Noah perhaps.

46 posted on 01/07/2002 4:51:09 AM PST by Ahban
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To: Light Speed
The Taurid Complex
47 posted on 01/07/2002 5:20:25 AM PST by blam
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To: Mitchell
Comet Phaethon's Ride
48 posted on 01/07/2002 5:27:20 AM PST by blam
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To: blam
Bump
49 posted on 01/07/2002 5:27:56 AM PST by Fiddlstix
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To: Ahban
Comets And The Bronze Age Collapse
50 posted on 01/07/2002 5:29:58 AM PST by blam
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