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Space Earth

Up-Front Seats For Tonight's Near-Earth Asteroid 99

spineas writes "In case you're not in a prime viewing position for tonight's fly-by of Asteroid 2000 EM26, never fear, for the event will be webcast live for all around the world to see. The Orlando Sentinel reports that the Slooh Space Camera will be broadcasting the 3-football-field-long asteroid as it zips by us at nearly 27,000 miles per hour. Astronomer Bob Berman will be answering questions during the broadcast, submitted via Twitter with the hashtag #Asteroid."
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Up-Front Seats For Tonight's Near-Earth Asteroid

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  • by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Monday February 17, 2014 @04:57PM (#46270247) Homepage Journal

    3 football fields? For those of us in the rest of the world who've abandoned the beta measurement system, what's that in elephants?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    How about listing a goddamn date and time—including a time zone (e.g., -0500)? Even a Unix timestamp would be acceptable.

    Seriously, I have no idea how you people manage to get by in life.

    • also, distance not given, over 1.5 million miles, not that close. Wake us up for something inside lunar orbit

    • Or maybe what parts of the world it can be seen from. If the summary said "visible from Africa and southern Europe", then I know to just skip the whole article. If it says "visible from the North-West, then I'll read into". The article even STARTS with the assumption that we not only know about it, but know if we're in a prime viewing location.

      Dear Slashdot, I would like the propose that all astronomical phenomenon with possible earth-viewing capabilities list at minimum the following information in the sum

      • Visible in Australia (Score:4, Interesting)

        by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Monday February 17, 2014 @07:49PM (#46271647)

        Trying to find if it was visible in Denver, I found instead the information we all really wanted to know - it's visible in Australia.

        I guess that explains why the article link is to a webcam site.

        On a side note, I think it's sad that the solar system economy is so bad even the asteroids are setting up Cam sites.

  • 37,000 of your "miles" per hour is, in normal person units, 12km/sec.

  • Anyone with a 4-6" telescope should be able to see this if they're in a good viewing location. Tracking it might be a bit more difficult without computer assistance, but it shouldn't be prohibitive. Even at the speeds it's traveling, the distance alone makes the movement seem a bit slow.

    • I didn't see it in the article, but how long is the event supposed to last? Are we going to be able to resolve anything other than a spot of light moving across the sky?

      • by Khyber ( 864651 )

        I've looked through several other articles, and I'm not seeing any actual mention of that. However, I would wager that the EU/Asia is getting their first glimpses of it right about now. Look for a pinpoint of light in the sky that doesn't flash or twinkle, and you'll have either Jupiter or that asteroid, most likely.

        • I figure that if it's 8 times farther than the moon then hopefully it will be in view for a while and we can get some decent shots of it, but I haven't seen any estimates.

  • Live Feed (Score:4, Funny)

    by ArcadeNut ( 85398 ) on Monday February 17, 2014 @05:17PM (#46270421) Homepage

    Here is a live feed of the Asteroid event []...

  • Oh my god.

    3 US football fields, or 3 soccer fields?

    • Three fields full of dismembered feet and... well, you know what else. It's nobody's happy place.

    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      In other news, 97% of Americans believe it's ok to call a game "football" that is played mainly by the use of hands.

      • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
        In other news, England named Soccer and (american) Football. And 200 years later, claims the US named them, and named them wrong.

        They say New England (American) English is closer to 1700s English than that spoken in England today (based on rhymes and alliteration in literature of the time). Yes, that could be re-stated as "Americans speak more proper English than the English do."
    • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
      They are within rounding errors of each other. So why fight to make a distinction that doesn't exist?
  • The clouds around here were kind enough to break earlier. Hopefully that holds. It's been a pleasure to watch the ISS fly over from my back yard several times, and it's wet my appetite for more.

    • by cusco ( 717999 )

      If you request it NASA will put you on a mailing list for times when the ISS is supposed to fly over. You can sign up here. []

  • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Monday February 17, 2014 @05:20PM (#46270453)

    Well I was on a website, hitting the refresh button watching an asteroid, while a bigger one hit without us seeing it.

  • ...that that fucked up the Mars Climate Orbiter.

    Pick a set of units, lazy asses.
    • ...that that fucked up the Mars Climate Orbiter. Pick a set of units, lazy asses.

      I agree--the speed should really be in football fields per hour for consistency.

      And the journalistic quality should be reported in hyperboles per column-inch (because this is the Orlando Sentinal, so metric would be too confusing).

    • since the length of a metrically measured soccer ('football' outside the USA) field can vary, why not use the non-metrically specified American football field which doesn't?

      • Most Aussies call it soccer too, like the US we now have our own style of football "Aussie rules", Aussie rules has it's roots in Gaelic football which I believe is still played in Ireland.
  • There are large asteroids passing near the Earth fairly often - this particular asterioid, 2000 EM26, will get only 8.8 Lunar Distances (LD) away. One that is more than three times its size, 2006 DP14, passed closer at 6.2 LD last week. Check out [] for a list of recent and future NEAs, plus lots of other stuff.
    If it were a large asteroid passing within the orbit of the moon (< 1.0 LD), now that would be worthy of a broadcast event like this.

    • Because we're all gonna fuckin die!!!!!!!
      Well, we are, someday..
    • Large? This rock is rather smaller than 1/5,000,000,000th the size of Ceres.

      And the news articles are calling it "gigantic".

      Would it be possible to save "gigantic" for describing things big enough for extinction-level events, rather than "slightly smaller than the Superdome"?

  • by jgoemat ( 565882 ) on Monday February 17, 2014 @06:30PM (#46271051)

    Yes it's the closest approach, but it's still going to be 3.2 million km away. If the Earth were the size of a basketball, the asteroid would be 560 feet away and only 1/5 the size of a pixel in an iPhone retina display. The 0.017 arcsecond angular resolution requires a 6.6 meter telescope to see more than just a point of light.. And as for "hurtling past Earth" as some reports say, if it were heading straight for earth at 27,000 miles per hour it would take 73.5 hours or more than 3 days to get here. In our scaled example it would be travelling at a whopping 0.00255 km/h, under 1/10th the speed of a garden snail. The asteroid should have close to the same visibility for many hours around the time of closest approach. Right now (5 hours before) it could at most be 2% smaller through a telescope. [].

    I think it's cool, I just wish the articles wouldn't hype so much and would include more context.

    • I like your writing style. Why aren't you in charge of the asteroid reports around here?
    • If the Earth were the size of a basketball, the asteroid would be 560 feet away

      That doesn't mean much to me, as there's no comparison to how far away other things are. Perhaps better to say it will go past at a little over 8 times the distance to the Moon. People are used to seeing pictures of the Earth and Moon.

  • Great view of the Service Unavailable page.
  • The Slooh Observatory video feed got thoroughly Slashdotted. It's totally inaccessible.

    Why isn't there a peer to peer video streaming software package optimized for live video? Asymmetric broadband sucks, but almost every broadband connection can accommodate at least one outbound video stream. Sure, if you were far enough down the chain, "live" turns into "live with delay", but who's going to notice? So why hasn't this been done?

    • here is the youtube link []

      • Quick summary of the linked video: Asteroid 2000 EM26 hasn't been seen since its initial discovery in 2000 and was not seen during this show. The Slooh telescope in the Canary islands that they had hoped to use to cover the close approach is iced over, unable to open its weather dome.

        The Dubai Astronomy group took a bunch of pictures of the area in the sky where the rock should have been, but apparently Slooh lacks automated image analysis software, as they were talking about manually examining each of the

  • by macson_g ( 1551397 ) on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @03:52AM (#46273999)
    Either you say

    3-football-field-long asteroid as it zips by us at nearly 50x the speed of commercial airliner

    and you are doing sunday-newspaper pop-sci, or use actual units:

    1000 feet long asteroid as it zips by us at nearly 27000 miles/h

    and qualify for pop-sci column in illustrated weekly. Don't mix the conventions!

Life in the state of nature is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. - Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan