Bus-sized asteroid shaves by Earth

Jan 28, 2012 by Kerry Sheridan
This NASA image shows a view of Earth from Apollo 17. An asteroid about the size of a bus shaved by Earth on Friday in what spacewatchers described as a "near-miss," though experts were not concerned about the possibility of an impact.

An asteroid about the size of a bus shaved by Earth on Friday in what spacewatchers described as a "near-miss," though experts were not concerned about the possibility of an impact.

The asteroid, named 2012 BX34, measured between six and 19 meters in diameter (20 to 62 feet), said Gareth Williams, associate director of the US-based Minor Planet Center which tracks space objects.

The asteroid, which had been unknown before it popped into view from a in Arizona on Wednesday, came within about 60,000 kilometers (37,000 miles) of on Friday at about 1500 GMT, he said.

"It's a near miss. It makes the top 20 list of closest approaches ever observed," Williams told AFP.

had announced on on Thursday that the asteroid would "safely pass Earth on January 27."

Williams explained that since the asteroid was so small, it could only be detected when it was close to the Earth, but that the fly-by, while a surprise, was not terribly uncommon.

"This came about a sixth of the distance from the ," he said. "In the past year we have had some 30 objects that were observed to come within the of the Moon."

Williams said his pager went off in the middle of the night Wednesday after the asteroid was first sighted, but once he checked he went right back to sleep because he knew it would not hit Earth from its projected distance.

But where it goes next is less certain.

"If we have radar on it from last night then we can probably predict it decades into the future," he said.

"If we don't have radar, then we only have a two- to three-day arc of observations and extrapolating that into the future will be very uncertain."

However, since the asteroid is so diminutive, it poses little threat to the vast Earth, he added.

"This object is so small that even if it hits us the next time around it won't survive passage through the atmosphere in one piece," Williams said.

"Objects in that size range -- six to 19 meters -- will typically break up due to the force of entering the . All that may remain are a few fist- or football-sized rocks that make it to the ground as meteorites."

In November last year, a much a larger asteroid called 2005 YU55 made its closest fly-by of Earth in 200 years.

The near-spherical asteroid, 1,300 feet (400 meters) in diameter, passed by at a distance of 201,700 miles (324,600 kilometers), as measured from the center of Earth, NASA said.

In 2008, a small estimated to be a few meters (yards) wide sparked a fireball in the night sky plunged down over Sudan, scattering fragments over the Nubian desert, NASA said.

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User comments : 21

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NotParker
1.7 / 5 (27) Jan 28, 2012
I am glad we are spending trillions to combat trivial amounts of warming instead of worrying our pretty little heads about killer asteroids that no one notices until they are 2 days away.
Parsec
4.2 / 5 (24) Jan 28, 2012
I am glad we are spending trillions to combat trivial amounts of warming instead of worrying our pretty little heads about killer asteroids that no one notices until they are 2 days away.

Claiming that anyone is spending trillions combating global warming is beyond ludicrous. Calling a bus sized space object a killer asteroid indicates to me almost certainly didn't read the article your commenting on.

Was it your intent to make yourself look like an idiot?
Blakut
4.7 / 5 (15) Jan 28, 2012
I just hate it when they say near miss. It's near hit people. You can't nearly miss, this means you hit, right?
Yenaldlooshi
4 / 5 (9) Jan 28, 2012
Oh well. ...Better luck next time.
Doug_Huffman
1.8 / 5 (6) Jan 28, 2012
I am glad we are spending trillions to combat trivial amounts of warming instead of worrying our pretty little heads about killer asteroids that no one notices until they are 2 days away.
There's no sense in worrying about what can't be helped. I hope NotParker is alive to watch the straining at the realization that nothing can be done about the killer asteroid however many years of notice we have.

Read N. N. Taleb's The Black Swan: The *Impact* of the Highly Improbable. The killer asteroid will be an object lesson.
NotParker
1.7 / 5 (17) Jan 28, 2012
Claiming that anyone is spending trillions combating global warming is beyond ludicrous.


If you added up all subsidies for "renewable" energy it will be close to 1 trillion. Greenpeace's renewables plan will cost close to 225 trillion.

"The total bill for WWS comes to around $225 trillion over the next 20 years."

http://www.thegwp...wer.html
NotParker
1.8 / 5 (15) Jan 28, 2012
"they propose to just nudge the errant little planetoid thing. Push it a little bit faster or perhaps a little head-on bump to just slow the thing down a bit -- essentially they want to play bumper cars with asteroids; just to persuade them not to hit the earth as a 200,000-megaton fireball plus cataclysmic shock wave. We're not talking about the puny atmospheric fireball like the one that leveled 800 square miles of trees in Tunguska, Siberia in 1908. That was just a little guy -- maybe 40 meters across."

"There are a lot of NEOs and these are only the ones we know about. Some 6613 have been identified, of which 800 are bigger than 1 kilometer across and about 146 are identified as PHA's ("potentially hazardous asteroids," a.k.a. "near-earth-objects-that-can-kill-us-all")."

http://news.disco...eat.html

Note: This object was 6-19m across. Tunguska was only 40m.
Scalziand
5 / 5 (3) Jan 28, 2012
The way the orbit is, there should be another relatively close flyby in 2 years. It seems like there's a 3-2 resonance between the orbits of 2012 BX34 and Earth.

http://ssd.jpl.na...34;orb=1
Anda
3.4 / 5 (10) Jan 28, 2012
Claiming that anyone is spending trillions combating global warming is beyond ludicrous.


If you added up all subsidies for "renewable" energy it will be close to 1 trillion. Greenpeace's renewables plan will cost close to 225 trillion.

"The total bill for WWS comes to around $225 trillion over the next 20 years."

http://www.thegwp...wer.html


Okay , you not only look like an idiot. You really are an idiot.
Moebius
3.5 / 5 (4) Jan 28, 2012
"In the past year we have had some 30 objects that were observed to come within the orbit of the Moon."


We're overdue unfortunately.
NotParker
1.7 / 5 (12) Jan 28, 2012
Okay , you not only look like an idiot. You really are an idiot.


I assume you are too stupid to do the math ...

Example of one country's subsidies. Probably 150 to 200 billion so far just for Feed in Tariffs. Double or triple that for total money wasted.

"As of 2012, the FiT costs about 14 billion euros (US$18 billion) per year to subsidize new wind and solar installations."

http://en.wikiped..._Germany

kaasinees
3.4 / 5 (5) Jan 28, 2012
(-99) - (-100) = 1
the difference is positive..
Shabs42
3.4 / 5 (8) Jan 28, 2012
You realize there are uses for alternative energy other than combating global warming, right? Even if you don't believe that climate change poses any threat to humanity, you have to realize that there is a finite amount of fossil fuels underneath us right? Waiting until they run out to look for a new source of energy would be kind of like waiting until the day before an asteroid hits before taking steps to prevent the collision.

Also, I agree that with you that we should be paying attention to NEOs, but good luck convincing the public that we need to spend taxpayer dollars on that project. Unfortunately your average taxpayer wants nothing to do with projects like that even when the economy is booming, hence very few politicians will back it. Since there is no profit motive in searching for asteroids (sort of like doing the short term research on alternative energy unless you can afford operating at a loss for a while), it is unlikely that private companies will take up that burden.
enigma13x
2.3 / 5 (3) Jan 29, 2012
come on people stop trying to devalue notparker's oil wells, he's not that bright what else is he going to do for a living apart from polluting we are not going to convince him about carbon so dose anyone want to pick one of the 2000 odd noxious chemicals that are produced through oil or maybe the damage done by strip mining coal, csg and oil spills
bluehigh
2.3 / 5 (9) Jan 29, 2012
how fast do these rocks fly?

antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (4) Jan 29, 2012
Average velocities for stuff impacting our atmosphere is 10-70 kilometers per second.
NotParker
1.4 / 5 (8) Jan 29, 2012
come on people stop trying to devalue notparker's oil wells, he's not that bright what else is he going to do for a living apart from polluting we are not going to convince him about carbon so dose anyone want to pick one of the 2000 odd noxious chemicals that are produced through oil or maybe the damage done by strip mining coal, csg and oil spills


See if you can breath when a Tunguska sized asteroid hits within 800km of where you are standing ...
NotParker
2.1 / 5 (7) Jan 29, 2012
More Tunguska reading:

"Based on these simulations and comparisons to observations, Tunguska-class (blast-dominated) aerial bursts recur on time intervals of about 100 years. "

104 years ago ...

" LDG-class (radiation-dominated) aerial bursts recur on time intervals of about 10,000 years."

"The LDG event represents a much different aerial burst regime, with different phenomenology. Glass fragments are scattered over an area spanning 6500 km2"
http://craterhunt...-threat/
Dug
5 / 5 (1) Jan 29, 2012
Editor - Please stop inserting ads in the body of articles. It's extremely irritating. It makes the advertiser look like a deceptive slime ball as well.
GSwift7
1 / 5 (2) Feb 01, 2012
I just hate it when they say near miss. It's near hit people. You can't nearly miss, this means you hit, right?


Not really. The event was a miss. The use of the word near to describe what kind of miss it was is entirely appropriate.

I've seen two really dramatic meteors in my lifetime. The first was just before sunset. It was bright enough to see it even with the sun still above the horizon. It left a trail of smoke in the sky. I was standing with a group of people and they were all facing me, so none of them saw it. I was like "wow! look at that!" but it was gone before any of them looked.

For the second one I was on the south side of the house and I saw a light from the other side of the house. Thought it was a helicopter. As I started to walk around and look, it passed off to the west side of the house and scared me to death when it came around. It was so bright it cast shadows. That one visibly broke up into red pieces off to the west.
GSwift7
1 / 5 (2) Feb 01, 2012
speaking of impact events, have any of you seen the movie Melancholia? It's about another planet crashing into the Earth. Kinda strange but cool. It's also has a metaphorical meaning, but the whole end of world thing intriques me.

http://www.magpic...ncholia/