Sunday, January 27, 2008

Falling To Earth Again

Talk about getting nothing done....I started in earnest to visit you all but couldn't get my mind out of space, thinking about Asteroid 2007WD5 and whether it'll hit Mars or not.  The odds keep getting better each day and it's almost Wednesday so time will certainly tell a tale.  If you've forgotten about it, click into the left pane there, "ODDS OF COLLISION..." post, that seems to be the most up-to-date.  Think of it:  A mile-long, 400-feet wide, this returning rock will come into Martian space at 8.5 miles per second around 5:56 a.m. EST.  Hope it hits, we'll gain so much science from it.

But for earth?  We're not left out.  We've an Asteroid coming our way too - this ones' called 2007TU24 and it's less than 2 million miles from earth at this moment.  TU24 is 800 feet wide and headed straight toward us.  Don't start sounding the apocalyptic horn, we've plenty of radar up there plotting every move.  It's closest approach will be on the 29th, this Tuesday, at 8:33 UT or 3:33 a.m. EST.  Distance from earth will be a very comforting 340,000 miles, or 1.44 times the mean distance of the moon.  So fear not.  This is strickly a telescopic event.  But don't you want to see it fly past if you can?  

On the night of closest approach, this Monday-Tuesday, it's magnitude will be bright enough for all Americas to see easily with binocs.  How brilliant it'll be depends on the curve of sunlight hitting it.  TU24's peak will be about 8 hours after its closest approach, and even as it fades into space it'll still be quite visible.  The speed of travel past earth is approximately 7 times faster than the moon, which is half the speed that surrounding "fixed" stars drift across the sky (due to the rotation of earth).

But you really shouldn't be surprised to hear all the commotion made about "last days" and "prepare now" warnings.  I have to think such persons don't know how many millions of objects hit this planet in just my lifetime (57 years).  Which brings to mind another object falling to earth:  A satellite which has left its orbit is headed into our atmosphere.  It'll mostly burn up on approach but little pieces will fall here and there,like metal golf-balls on fire.  This happens all the time and people don't really know or care and that's okay too, but remember the piece that hit someone's car and incinerated it?  Just a reminder of the power of gravity here.  I love gravity.

NOW I'll get to those Journals..... :-)

==========================================================================

Basics courtesy of JPL, S&T, Gryphon, Goldtsone RT, star charts. 

       

11 comments:

gazker said...

What an exciting entry, you have enflamed my enthusiam I had a a kid for all things astranomical.

I better start packing now incase 2007TU24 changes course ;-)
Gaz

lanurseprn said...

You really make me wish I had a telescope!
Pam

kirkbyj05 said...

I have often wished I had paid more attention to studying the stars and their position in the skies.  
Isnstead I just look up at them on a frosty night and try to remember from my school days where everything is positioned in the firmanent.
I am in awe of the vastness of space, like most folks, but can't imagine the repercussions the impact this asteroid might have in the grand scheme of things out there in space.
What will be the repercussions from the energy this impact will cause?  Will it iradiate outwards or will it impound and change Mars the planet completely?
If I understood more I guess I could get as carried away as you Cathy.  There would be no computers or journal visiting for me either.
You can ignore my alerts...just carry on with your enquiring mind looking out into space.  There will be time to catch up later.

Hugs
Jeanie xx

mutualaide said...

I am thinking that I really wish the hub had not sold off the telescope we'd had for years and years.  It hadn't been in use for years and years and so one day, poof! it was sold.  :::sigh:::

shrbrisc said...

wow I am going to have to stare out side tuesday , I hope I see something
hugs
Sherry

pharmolo said...

Cathy,
Thanks for the heads-up on the various objects on a collision course with Mars or Earth. For reference, 8.33UT = 3.33am EST.

ma24179 said...

I think there was one person in history who was directly hit by a meteor soooo I am not to worried about it. Read about a lot of property damage though. -Missy http://journals.aol.com/ma24179/MISSYZSTUFF

jmorancoyle said...

    I refuse to concentrate on the end of days. I have too much to do before my days are over.
    Have a good day!
Jude
http://journals.aol.com/jmorancoyle/MyWay

bgilmore725 said...

And I see you got to mine today!! Thanks for visiting... and loved this info... I have not been catching much news lately. I'll try to look for it. I love our discoveries in space. bea

wwfbison said...

Well I surely hope a golf ball size piece of burning metal never lands on my head!!  This gives all new meaning to "keep your eye to the sky".
Lisa

be said...

華麗夢想,
夢世界,
酒店經紀,
酒店工作,
酒店上班,
酒店打工,
禮服酒店,
禮服公關,
酒店領檯,
華麗夢想,
夢世界,
酒店經紀,
酒店工作,
酒店上班,
酒店打工,
禮服酒店,
禮服公關,
酒店領檯,
華麗夢想,
夢世界,
酒店經紀,
酒店工作,
酒店上班,
酒店打工,
禮服酒店,
禮服公關,
酒店領檯,
華麗夢想,
夢世界,
酒店經紀,
酒店工作,
酒店上班,
酒店打工,
禮服酒店,
禮服公關,
酒店領檯,
華麗夢想,
夢世界,