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Earth Moon Space Science

Asteroid Whizzing By Earth 6 Times Closer Than the Moon (cnet.com) 203

An anonymous reader shares a CNET report: The problem with asteroids passing near Earth is that they're often difficult to spot. Fortunately the hardest ones to see in our neighborhood also tend to be the smaller ones. Such is the case with 2017 BH30, which was discovered Sunday by the Catalina Sky Survey just hours before passing by us at the creepy-close distance of only 40,563 miles (65,280 kilometres). This asteroid is estimated to be between 15-32.8 feet (4.6-10 metres) in length, making it somewhere between the size of a truck and a... big truck. That's pretty small by asteroid standards, but it's also the closest spotted asteroid to pass us since September when asteroid 2016 RB1 passed within 24,000 miles (about 39,000 kilometres) of our planet's surface, putting it almost as close as satellites in geosynchronous orbit. This is the third asteroid to buzz by earth closer than the distance to the moon this year. We don't expect a closer pass by one of these visitors until October, when asteroid 2012 TC4 could come more than twice as close.
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Asteroid Whizzing By Earth 6 Times Closer Than the Moon

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  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Monday January 30, 2017 @11:26AM (#53765933)

    I can't help it, but those reports have been increasing in numbers rapidly. Either NASA needs money or our detectors have been improving considerably lately.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by goombah99 ( 560566 )

      well at 40K miles its about 10 earth radii. A dart thrown at that radius has about a 1% chance of intersecting within the earth's atmosphere. Since we haven't had a major earth impact in a couple hundred years one might guess that similarly close events are something like 10,000 years apart if they were random events. Thus observing more than one in your life suggests they are not random.

      • There have been a lot of airbursts [wikipedia.org]. The smaller the meteor, the narrower the window where it will survive to impact the Earth. Too slow or too shallow and angle and it spends too much time in the atmosphere and burns up (like much of our rocket launch debris). Too fast and the energy of hitting our atmosphere fragments it, greatly increasing its surface area and again causing it to burn up. It has to hit the atmosphere at just the right speed and angle to form an impact crater. Fast enough that it does
      • Such small asteroids hitting the Earth are a lot more common than once every 10000 years. Many will go unnoticed.
        The Chelyabinsk meteor 2013 was about 20 metres, which is already larger than that. And the Tunguska event 1908 was a 60 to 190 metres object. The smaller the object the more common they are.
    • I can't help it, but those reports have been increasing in numbers rapidly. Either NASA needs money or our detectors have been improving considerably lately.

      Don't worry, Trump is going to ban them.

  • by goombah99 ( 560566 ) on Monday January 30, 2017 @11:27AM (#53765945)

    What kind of english is that?

    • by Chrisq ( 894406 ) on Monday January 30, 2017 @11:29AM (#53765973)
      compounded by "more than twice as close." Does that mean less than half the distance (my guess) or more than half the distance?
    • by Oswald McWeany ( 2428506 ) on Monday January 30, 2017 @11:30AM (#53765989)

      What kind of english is that?

      That was my thought too. 1/6 the distance of the moon would make more sense. It's like saying Suzy is twice as skinny as Lucy... it doesn't really make sense even though we know what you mean by it.

      • by arth1 ( 260657 )

        Similarly jarring is "This asteroid is estimated to be between 15-32.8 feet". It seems fairly clear that estimates that are so loose don't have a tenth of a foot precision. Same with 4.6m for the metric.
        The figures stated are likely due to idiots converting metric to imperial back and forth multiple times, while not taking into account uncertainties, nor going back to the source.

        If I were to guess, it would be that the original said 5-10 m.

        • Similarly jarring is "This asteroid is estimated to be between 15-32.8 feet". It seems fairly clear that estimates that are so loose don't have a tenth of a foot precision. Same with 4.6m for the metric. The figures stated are likely due to idiots converting metric to imperial back and forth multiple times, while not taking into account uncertainties, nor going back to the source.

          If I were to guess, it would be that the original said 5-10 m.

          And of course, 5-10,yards would be a more accurate conversion of the precision implied in the original than converting to feet, even if it was rounded to an integer.

      • it doesn't really make sense even though we know what you mean by it.

        The purpose of language is to let someone else know what you mean, so it makes perfect sense.

        • Whereas that is absolutely true, it makes me think of "Yoda". Yoda get's his meaning across in films, despite talking funny. If you or I went around talking like him, people would assume a few screws were loose. It takes that tiny fraction of a second to interpret "odd but understandable" language. When things are almost right, but not quite right it naturally gets on a lot of people's wick.

          There might be a plus side to it though. I remember reading that students learn material better when they have a p

          • Whereas that is absolutely true, it makes me think of "Yoda". Yoda get's his meaning across in films, despite talking funny. If you or I went around talking like him, people would assume a few screws were loose. It takes that tiny fraction of a second to interpret "odd but understandable" language. When things are almost right, but not quite right it naturally gets on a lot of people's wick.

            There might be a plus side to it though. I remember reading that students learn material better when they have a professor with an odd accent. When it takes more effort to understand what someone is saying, you're more likely to remember what they said.

            Perhaps that's why, talk like that, Yoda does.

            Fun fact: Yoda is so old that he actually wrote the Little Drummer Boy carol. "Come, they told me, the newborn king to see". Toss in a couple of rumpapumpums and there you have it.

    • by goombah99 ( 560566 ) on Monday January 30, 2017 @11:35AM (#53766035)

      The article is 6 times less better english speaking than above average. One day I go to park went, There see I a man grinding a monkey's organ.

      • by Maritz ( 1829006 )
        Heard on radio once: "How many cigarettes per day, is it like, killing yourself on the train? Phone in, please."
        • by aquabat ( 724032 )
          “I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.”
    • by zm ( 257549 ) on Monday January 30, 2017 @11:38AM (#53766071) Homepage

      Slashdot knows words. They are the best words. It's the best English. It's great. Believe me. Let's make /. great again.

    • There is a growing plague of this nonsensical usage. It's absurd.
    • by DontBeAMoran ( 4843879 ) on Monday January 30, 2017 @12:02PM (#53766305)

      It all depends on how close to the Moon we are these days. I mean, are we still angry at it?

    • What kind of english is that?

      It's the kind of English that's written by a person who hasn't sharpened their crayon in a while.

    • by Maritz ( 1829006 )
      You get that in summaries on slashdot. Not sure why. There's a generic 'X times less' thing going on. It's weird, no doubt about it.
      • It certainly is weird. Reading things like this is literally killing me. It's even worse then people saying their are to many grammar nazis.
    • by arth1 ( 260657 )

      What kind of english is that?

      That would be English as she is spoke [wikipedia.org].

    • Yeah, football fields only please.

    • by qeveren ( 318805 )

      "One time closer" would be hitting the Earth... I dunno what to do with the other five times...

    • It means it passed so close it caused temperatures to double.

  • by avgjoe62 ( 558860 ) on Monday January 30, 2017 @11:30AM (#53765979)

    This is the third asteroid to buzz by earth closer than the distance to the moon this year.

    That's it, I'm heading down to the local planning office at Alpha Centauri and lodging a stern complaint about this new hyperspace bypass.

  • We don't expect a closer pass by one of these visitors until October, when asteroid 2012 TC4 could come more than twice as close.

    Well, they didn't expect this one. So I'm guessing they'll spot others whizzing past between now and October.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    How about at half the distance ? Twice as close. Means as much as twice as cold.

  • goddamit, this was supposed to hit us at the end of last October to spare us the trauma of having to vote for Killary to avoid the catastrophe of being Trumped by Putin.
  • Five times the savings!

    *sigh*
  • ...one sixth the distance to the moon... ...less that half that distance...

    I'm almost shaking from just how the phrases "6 times closes to the moon" and "more than half a close" mess with my brain...

    Please, for the sake of us people with less than normal minds, don't use phrases like that!

  • I'm not kidding when I say I wish it would hit the Earth and wipe us all out. This planet needs a reset.

    • I am with you, my friend.

      I don't think that the human race deserves to make it out of the gravity well.

    • Dunno about your wish but I's sure be happy if it landed on Mr. Cheeto-Head.

      So would an increasing majority of Americans I suspect...

      Mac

  • I thought no one can hear you scream.
  • "You stole my lyrics" -- Dez Fafara (Coal Chamber)

  • . . . . .until we stop noticing. . . . .

  • China, US, and the former USSR have already knocked out satellites. From the New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01... [nytimes.com]

    > China successfully carried out its first test of an antisatellite weapon last week, signaling
    > its resolve to play a major role in military space activities and bringing expressions of
    > concern from Washington and other capitals, the Bush administration said yesterday.
    >
    > Only two nations â" the Soviet Union and the United States â" have previously destroyed

    • by bongey ( 974911 )

      Guarantee the secret air force space shuttle is designed to capturing enemy and recovery our own satellites. One of their test was staying in orbit right next to an decommissioned satellite.

  • Boom tomorrow.

  • Something that is one time closer to us than the moon is right here, on top of us. Something that is six times closer (an absurd statement that has no real meaning) would consequently be five times further away than the moon, but in the other side? 1/6 of the distance is not six times closer!
  • We're building a Space Wall. It will be a beautiful wall. No meteor will be able to get over it. The Grays will pay for it!

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