A sizable asteroid, dubbed “Asteroid 2014” by some reporters, just missed colliding with Earth on Monday night as it sped by at 27,000 mph.
That’s “just missed ” in space terms, since it never got closer than two million miles. To place that distance in perspective, the closest planet to Earth is Venus – and that’s 23 million miles away.
Asteroid 2014’s official name was 2000 EM26, and it was just under 900 feet in diameter
The astronomy site, Slooh.com, live streamed the path of Asteroid 2014. If those people who tuned in expected to see something like the images from the Hollywood blockbuster movie “Armageddon,” they were sadly disappointed.
The site showed images from a telescope located in Dubai. Basically, all that was visible was a dark night sky filled with stars – but no sign of Asteroid 2014
Patrick Paolucci, the technical director of Slooh studied the images with his team, but reported, “not seeing a lot of detail.”
Slooh Astronomer, Bob Berman. said that astronomers knew the asteroid would be “a little fainter than Pluto”
There were many complaints on Twitter that the images were boring. On the other hand, in this case, boring is good.
For the images not to be boring, Asteroid 2014 would have needed to be much closer – maybe even too close for comfort.
And, if you need confirmation of the outcome of that scenario, remember that it’s almost exactly a year ago that an asteroid tore through the skies over Chelyabinsk, Russia.
That asteroid damaged thousands of buildings and injured over 1000 people. It was felt over a very wide area – and it was only 7 percent of the diameter of Asteroid 2014.
Slooh’s technical and research director, Paul Cox said in a statement:
“We continue to discover these potentially hazardous asteroids — sometimes only days before they make their close approaches to Earth.
Slooh’s asteroid research campaign is gathering momentum with Slooh members using the Slooh robotic telescopes to monitor this huge population of potentially hazardous space rocks.
We need to find them before they find us!”
Slooh astronomer Bob Berman said in his statement:
“On a practical level, a previously-unknown, undiscovered asteroid seems to hit our planet and cause damage or injury once a century or so, as we witnessed on June 20, 1908 and February 15, 2013.
Every few centuries, an even more massive asteroid strikes us — fortunately usually impacting in an ocean or wasteland such an Antarctica.
But the ongoing threat, and the fact that biosphere-altering events remain a real if small annual possibility, suggests that discovering and tracking all NEOs, as well as setting up contingency plans for deflecting them on short notice should the need arise, would be a wise use of resources.”
Reflecting upon the statement of Paul Cox (we need to find them before they find us) begs the question – “and what will we do about it?
It must be born in mind that Bruce Willis is not getting any younger.………………….