Half-mile wide asteroid close approach on Wednesday

Posted: April 19, 2017 by oldbrew in Celestial Mechanics, Forecasting, solar system dynamics, Uncertainty

Credit: VIRTUAL TELESCOPE [click to enlarge]

Dr Roy Spencer discusses today’s asteroid approach, the closest for 13 years.

An asteroid capable of destroying Washington D.C. and New York City at the same time will be making its closest approach to Earth on April 19.

At a half-mile wide, it will have over 30,000 times as much mass as the 2013 meteor which exploded over Russia in 2013.

The current asteroid, called “2014 JO25“, is traveling at the unimaginably fast speed of 75,000 mph. It has been estimated that an asteroid of this size is capable of wiping out an area the size of New England, and causing global cooling from the dust that would be lofted into the stratosphere.

“2014 JO25” will be the closest approach asteroid of this size in the last 13 years.

Good News, Bad News

The good news is that even at closest approach, the asteroid — about the size of the Rock of Gibraltar — will safely pass by about 4.6 times as far away from Earth as the moon.

The bad news is that this asteroid was only discovered in 2014, and even if it was on a collision course with Earth, there probably would not have been enough time to mount a mission to hit it with a nuclear-weapon tipped rocket. This is why NASA has been surveying the skies, discovering new asteroids on a routine basis.

While most of these are small, the relatively recent discovery of Wednesday’s asteroid suggests we will not have much time to respond if we discover one on a collision course with Earth. I suspect we will eventually have a rocket designed and ready for an intercept, just in case.

Continued here.

  1. Bitter&twisted says:

    Asteroids are the real threat to Earth.
    Ask the dinosaurs.
    AGW fanatics should be clamouring for detection and deflection systems.
    Fat chance.
    They are morons.

    [reply] bzzt! ad hom 😉

  2. Gamecock says:

    “AGW fanatics should be clamouring for detection and deflection systems.”

    Nah. Odds are in our favor. Forget this ‘roid. Note that it is NOT hitting us. Not even close. The earth is thinnly populated. 71% is covered with oceans.

    The last big boy strike was a hundred years ago in Siberia, the Tunguska Event. It kill few if any. ‘An asteroid capable of destroying Washington D.C.’ is hype. Truth is it is an asteroid capable of steaming some shrimp.

    Impacts are rare. Odds of hitting anything important are rare. 0.01 X 0.0001 = not worth worrying about.

  3. Paul Vaughan says:

    “Asteroids in these resonant orbits would experience nagging, persistent gravitational tugs by the Solar System’s largest planet. This would slowly drag them away from their original circular paths around the Sun and throw them into new, highly eccentric orbits.”


    “Some of the asteroids in the asteroid belt have gone missing.”

  4. oldbrew says:

    One week after Tunguska, during a Uranus-Neptune opposition
    [Earth = purple, Venus = white, Mercury = grey, Uranus = light blue]

  5. oldbrew says:

    Daily Mail: Officially called JO25 but nicknamed The Rock, the asteroid came closest to the Earth yesterday at 1.24pm.

    It is a binary asteroid, which means it is made of two rocks that were originally separate bodies. While estimates vary, astronomers believe the asteroid could even be bigger than the Rock of Gibraltar which is 1,398ft high.

    No other asteroid of comparable size has come this close to the Earth in the last 13 years.

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4426770/Asteroid-size-Gibraltar-s-rock-passes-Earth.html

  6. Gamecock says:

    ‘No other asteroid of comparable size has come this close to the Earth in the last 13 years.’

    They abuse the language. The Mail article uses the word ‘close’ 13 times. A million miles is not “close.”

    ‘Yesterday’s near miss is one of the closest shaves the planet has had in over a decade’

    ‘Near miss.’ ‘Closest shave.’ A million miles.

    Humans cannot comprehend the vastness of space. Journalists hardest hit.

  7. oldbrew says:

    Move over Nasa: Australian man claims he can save the Earth from an asteroid impact… for just £120,000

    Steven Howarth wants to save us by building Australia’s first mobile observatory
    His plan involves using missiles to knock asteroids off course
    He has set up a crowd-funding campaign but so far only raised $100 (£59)

    By Phoebe Weston For Mailonline
    PUBLISHED: 14:18, 21 April 2017

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4432222/Space-enthusiast-says-save-Earth-asteroid-hit.html