Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Close Call

That was a close call!   Almost made 12/12/12 memorable for another reason.

A newfound asteroid gave Earth a close shave early today, zipping between our planet and the moon just two days after astronomers first spotted it.
The near-Earth asteroid 2012 XE54, which was discovered Sunday (Dec. 9), came within 140,000 miles (230,000 kilometers) of our planet at about 5 a.m. EST (1000 GMT) Tuesday (Dec. 11), researchers said. For comparison, the moon orbits Earth at an average distance of 240,000 miles or so (386,000 km).
Astronomers estimate that 2012 XE54 is about 120 feet (36 meters) wide — big enough to cause substantial damage if it slams into Earth someday. An object of similar size flattened 800 square miles (2,000 square km) of forest when it exploded above Siberia's Podkamennaya Tunguska River in 1908.


Steve Bates said...

These things happen far more often than most people think. Space is full of dark debris of various sizes and often indeterminable paths. Read John Gribbin's book Fire on Earth, ostensibly about the K-T event (the one that rendered dinosaurs and many other creatures extinct) and the Tunguska strike, but actually about the broader subject. Better than reading ghost stories late at night, I guarantee you!

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