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NASA Space Science

Small Asteroid To Pass Close To Earth Tomorrow 126

Posted by Soulskill
from the bruce-willis-alert-color-mauve dept.
Matt_dk writes "A small asteroid will pass very close to Earth this Tuesday. Astronomers are still tracking the object, now designated as 2010 TD54, and various estimates say it should come within anywhere from 52,000 km (33,000 miles) to 64,000 km (40,000 miles) on October 12, with closest approach at approximately 11:25 UT."
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Small Asteroid To Pass Close To Earth Tomorrow

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  • Comparisons (Score:5, Informative)

    by pgn674 (995941) on Monday October 11, 2010 @03:28PM (#33862778) Homepage
    International Space Station: 229 miles
    Geosynchronous orbit: 26,200 miles
    Moon: 236,216 miles
  • Re:close? (Score:3, Informative)

    by amRadioHed (463061) on Monday October 11, 2010 @03:34PM (#33862844)

    I think what they mean to say is that the point on the Earth that the asteroid will be directly over at closest approach is in the vicinity of Singapore, not the asteroid itself.

  • Re:Why is this news? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Chris Burke (6130) on Monday October 11, 2010 @03:42PM (#33862938) Homepage

    First, yes, because we know about it.

    Second, because this is actually passing much closer than the lunar orbit and is thus not a daily event.

    Third, because we do know about it, but also know it would most likely cause no damage, is information worth conveying.

    Fourth, because some of us are quite interested in space and space objects and the field of asteroid tracking, especially as it relates to near earth objects.

    Fifth, because there's a slim chance we could see it! TFA says you'd need a "moderate" sized telescope, which could mean a lot of things in different contexts. The JPL NEO tracker page gives an absolute planetary magnitude of 28, which if my math is right is 10.8 apparent magnitude ideally (i.e. appears 'full' from our perspective, is roughly spherical etc) Which would be within the capabilities of plenty of amateur telescopes.

    Ultimately and obviously, how much this is newsworthy to you is subjective. But I think it's cool.

  • Re:Comparisons (Score:3, Informative)

    by aarenz (1009365) on Monday October 11, 2010 @03:52PM (#33863056)
    Please read article, the distance is measured from the center of the earth. So it is only 28,000 miles from the surface, which is right in the gesynch range, based on size, composition and speed, it could vary more than 2,000 miles during its pass near our big old earth. Goodbye dish network, or maybe that sat phone uplink from midway island.
  • Hype? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anomalyx (1731404) on Monday October 11, 2010 @04:02PM (#33863140)
    From TFA:

    A five-meter-sized near-Earth asteroid from the undiscovered population of about 30 million would be expected to pass daily within a lunar distance, and one might strike Earth’s atmosphere about every 2 years on average.

    So really this happens all the time.

    If an asteroid of the size of 2010 TD54 were to enter Earth's atmosphere, it would be expected to burn up high in the atmosphere and cause no damage to Earth's surface.

    AND nobody will notice if it does decide to visit our planet. Maybe it will even hit one of those "dead satellites" and do its bit to clean up the junk in geosync for us.

    I suspect this article is nothing but NASA's way of saying "moar $$$ pl0x!!!!!1"

The key elements in human thinking are not numbers but labels of fuzzy sets. -- L. Zadeh

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