“Killer” asteroids: How do you know if you are space rocks as scary as they sound – CNET

“Killer” asteroids: How do you know if you have space rocks are as scary as they sound – CNET

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slamming An artistic representation of the asteroid in the ice sheet of Greenland. 


Carl Toft

a simple search for “asteroid” on Google News, headlines, and screaming for you.

“NASA warns of the 2-mile-wide planet-killer asteroid headed for the earth,” or “…possible impact date in 2022” or “asteroid tsunami … could coast devastate US.” And, of course, “…monster-rock-pass the earth at 17,000 miles per hour.”

these are just a few of the stories that ran in the last week, mostly in British tabloids, that love really scary asteroid stories. 

If you read past the lurid headlines, it is typically most accurate information about an asteroid that is definitely not to hit the earth in the foreseeable future. The 2-mile-wide planet-killer? Missed it, us of 1.4 million kilometers. This is about 6 times further away than the moon. You should crash more worried about the moon in your house. 

The misleading headlines and stories, use the words, the scientists talk about space objects and the connotations that some of these same words in everyday language. 


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For example, the phrases “near-earth object” (NEO), and “potentially hazardous asteroid” (PHA) are astronomical terms used to categorize objects with very specific definitions. If an asteroid comes within 4.6 million miles from earth and has a certain brightness, it makes the list of PHAs. This is really just astronomers’ ability to create, to keep a very large catalog of objects, which is worth in the eye. To determine any other assessment of the individual asteroids, as “potentially dangerous” it is, before it, the designation. 

NEOs fall into a larger category. If you leave earth and travel in the direction of Mars orbit around the sun, then stop, if you to 85 percent of the way to the Red planet, everything between this position and the sun is technically considered a NEO. 

To non-scientists, it seems strange to call an asteroid “in the vicinity” when it is farther away from us than any other human being has ever traveled, but of course it makes sense, when dealing with the mind-blowing scale of the universe, as do the astronomers. The same applies to those “potentially hazardous asteroid.” It makes sense to call them that, in the context of the magnificence of the room, although the majority of PHAs do not are actually possible dangers in our lives.  

So the next time you see a headline screaming about a “behemoth space rock threatens the earth”, you can see the same sources I do, exactly how much you should make. In fact, I the particular behemoth as an example. 

A few stores have already started sounding alarms about the approach of asteroid 2006 SF6, based on a convergence of earth on Thursday. It sure sounds like a risky rock coming from some of the check rows, so I’m going to, the European space Agency’s risk page.

The ESA maintains a list of “all the objects for which it was not-detected-zero impact probability.”

If I nothing comes up on the full risk list and search the page for both 2006SF6 and their catalog number, 481394,. This potential planet-pummeller, seems not yet from the list of 991 most dangerous objects in space. 

next, I check the public database, in the proximity approaches, maintained by the center for Near-earth studies from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. A search brings up 2006 SF6 in the upper right. In fact, it is a bit of a colossus, with an estimated diameter of between 919 and 2,690 meters (280 and 820 meters). 

This high-house-size space rock is a real damage on impact might. But his close-approach distance listed 11.23 lunar distances. This is exactly what it sounds like: about 11 times further away than the moon, or about 2.7 million miles (4.3 million kilometers). Sorry, but these giants are definitely not earth threatening. 


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My point is that you should not worry about asteroids. How many dinosaur fossils, and the rest of the geological recording you tell us, the danger of impact by an object from space is very real. But the biggest threat comes from the objects not yet in our catalogues.

The main impact of the past century happened in the year 2013, if a meteor impacted the atmosphere over Russia, resulting in a shock wave shattered thousands of windows. That space rock have not yet been observed before it exploded in the sky. 

The technologies and techniques used by astronomers, have improved to such an extent that new NEOs are discovered literally every day. This includes some objects that are actually quite in the vicinity of the earth, even though they are so small, you would probably mostly burn in the atmosphere, if you like us to address, such as in 2018.

But we still have blind spots, like the 2013 effect, so is the imperative, the front should go in order not to freak out over some harmless asteroids, but more resources, in order to continue to comb through the sky and fill our catalog-so we are not surprised again. 

Originally, Nov. 17.

Released on Mon, 18 Nov 2019 17:24:00 +0000

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