Skip to comments.Three-mile-wide Asteroid 3200 Phaethon to skim Earth just before Christmas Read more:
Posted on 11/24/2017 6:01:48 AM PST by BenLurkin
A gigantic space rock called 3200 Phaethon is due to brush quite close to our planet on December 17, Russian astronomers have revealed.
This huge asteroid is thought to cause the beautiful Geminids meteor shower which will take place between December 13 and 14, causing hundreds of bright meteors to illuminate the night sky as they burn up in Earths atmosphere. But NASA has also described it as a potentially hazardous asteroid whose path misses Earths orbit by only 2 million miles which is tiny in galactic terms.
Its about half the size of Chicxulub, the rock which wiped out the dinosaurs, and has a very unusual orbit which causes it to pass closer to the sun than any other named asteroid.
(Excerpt) Read more at metro.co.uk ...
Phaethon approached to 0.120895 AU (18,085,600 km; 11,237,900 mi) of Earth on December 10, 2007. On December 16, 2017, it will pass 0.06893 AU (10,312,000 km; 6,407,000 mi) from Earth. Then, on December 14, 2093, it will pass 0.0198 AU (2,960,000 km; 1,840,000 mi) from Earth.
That’s hurt if it it.
They use AU because using LD would make the story a lot less sensational.
It’s like 15 LD so it’s not even CLOSE.
This thing has a weird orbit. From the outer reaches of the system to inside the orbit of Mercury.
Seems like it’s honing in on a collision with Earth over time. Wonder if there are any realistic factors in nature that could nudge it one way or the other.
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Besides getting to look at the Geminids, I am hoping to catch a glimpse of the asteroid as is passes.
Skim? So, it’s going to take the top layer of Earth off?
Sure there are: a near-miss with any of the planets, asteroids or comets. But, especially Saturn and Jupiter, where the misses don't have to be especially near in order to nudge the orbit significantly.
Note, too, that although the orbits of the major planets and many asteroids are well-known (and, therefore, predictable well into the future), there remain as-yet undiscovered asteroids, plutoids and comets, and a near-miss with one of those could go both unpredicted and unnoticed.
Also, the posted article says “within 2 million miles of Earth’s orbit” when really, this December, it’s only coming within 6 million miles of Earth.
There’s a big difference between coming close to Earth’s orbit and coming close to Earth.
For me the takeaway is that if NASA classifies this object as a “potential hazard” it means there aren’t very many hazards out there, at least not that we now know about.
“Its about half the size of Chicxulub, the rock which wiped out the dinosaurs,..”
Seriously?? Just spit this out as fact? And even to give it a name?
I wouldnt call that close considering the Earths diameter is 8000 miles.
Well, that’s what the dinosaurs called it.
Big rocks passing close to Earth are nature’s way of asking, “Hey, how’s your space program doing?”