Skip to comments.Earth was hit by a mysterious ‘mini-moon’ fireball asteroid, scientists reveal
Posted on 12/03/2019 10:44:29 AM PST by Red Badger
Humans have good reason to fear comets, asteroids and other massive space objects.
Now wed like to add mini-moons to the list of heavenly bodies we should be worried about.
Scientists have claimed our planet was recently hit by one of these mysterious rocks, which exploded in a gigantic fireball.
A mini-moon is an object which becomes entangled in Earths orbit as its zooming through space.
It will either whirl around the planet harmlessly forever, zoom off back off on its journey through the solar system or, in the worst case, smash into our planet.
Objects gravitationally captured by the EarthMoon system are commonly called temporarily captured orbiters, natural Earth satellites, or minimoons, scientists wrote in a new study published in The Astromomical Journal.
TCOs are a crucially important subpopulation of near-Earth objects (NEOs) to understand because they are the easiest targets for future sample-return, redirection, or asteroid mining missions.
Only one TCO has ever been observed telescopically, 2006 RH 120, and it orbited Earth for about 11 months.
However, its believed that an extremely slow fireball which exploded over South Australia may have been a mini-moon.
It was picked up by six different detectors when it went kaboom in August 2016.
No-one was hurt in the incident, but it shows that the movement of objects through the region of space close to Earth is highly unpredictable.
If the rock had been larger, it could have done some major damage.
Its very difficult to guess whats going to happen to an object when it encounters Earths gravity because its movements are chaotic in nature and predicting its pre-impact trajectory is very difficult.
What this means is that if we saw a big asteroid in our planets orbit, we wouldnt necessarily be able to say where and when it was going to hit Earth or even if it was going to simply zoom around humanitys homeworld and then travel off into space.
This year, Nasa has discovered two asteroids which could be on a collision course with our planet.
The space agency keeps a database called Sentry that contains details of all the space rocks with a chance of smashing into Earth.
This list is updated every time a new object that could hit humanitys homeworld is discovered.
In the past six months alone, two separate rocks have been discovered which could crash into us.
The first is called 2019 ND7 and was observed in July.
This beast is almost 200 metres wide, which is large enough to wipe out an entire city.
A view of the devastation caused by the Tunguska event.
It could be bigger than a meteor which detonated over Tunguska, Russia, in 1908 and flattened trees over an area of 770 square miles.
The Tunguska event caused an explosion of 15-megatons which is roughly 1,000 times greater than that of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan.
The rock which caused this mighty kaboom was between 60 and 1,000 metres wide, although most estimates indicate it was at the smaller size of this range.
Describing this incident, Nasa wrote: Although a meteor the size of the Tunguska can level a city, metropolitan areas take up such a small fraction of the Earths surface that a direct impact on one is relatively unlikely.
More likely is an impact in the water near a city that creates a dangerous tsunami.
Luckily, there is only a very small chance of the asteroid hitting Earth. Nasa has calculated the risk at 1 in 310,000, meaning theres a 99.99968% chance the asteroid will miss the Earth.
with God as my witness, I didn’t know Stacy Abrams could fly.
― H.L. Mencken
“Tunguska, Russia, in 1908”
And here all this time I thought it was a Tesla experiment gone awry. I read it on the internet.
I once read that if the object which caused the Tunguska event had hit earth three hours later it would have hit St. Petersburg, Russia. Not sure if that is correct (if they are on exactly the same latitude).
The Minimoon is a Harsh Mistress.
I see what you did there...................
What is it about these “mini-moons” that differentiates them from asteroids? They look like the same thing to me.
A mini-moon is an asteroid that has been captured by Earth’s gravity and becomes a ‘moon’..................
So they are not the ones that will catch us by surprise...they’ll be tracked to a fare-thee-well.
So, how come they didn’t spot this one until the blast?
Too small, I suppose, or it came from an unusual direction...............
Minimoons and maximoons are essential for calculus.
Unless it’s a Null...................
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