Saturday, December 22, 2012

Real World Asteroid Worry Eliminated

Hey Space Placers!


With all of the non-sensical hoopla over yesterday's end of the world, our planet has dodged a real space bullet in the form of a 140-meter wide asteroid named 2011 AG5. This asteroid was of significant concern to astronomers as when discovered in 2011 there was a real chance of it impacting our planet in 2040. Such an impact would have released 100 megatons of energy - a large city killer.

Gemini Multi-Object Spectrograph image of 2011 AG5. The asteroid is the point at the center of the image (circled) with background stars trailing because the telescope tracked on 2011 AG5. This single 300 second exposure is oriented with north up and east left - each background star streak is about 15 arcseconds in length. 2011 AG5 is highly variable in brightness and other Gemini observations on October 27th required longer exposures than the one shown here.

Follow up observations with the 8-meter Gemini Telescope in Hawaii has allowed astronomers to conclusively state that this space rock has zero chance of impacting our planet. Statistically, our planet suffers such an impact once every 10,000 years, so such an impact, and others like the one that killed the dinosaurs, WILL happen again in Earth's lifetime.

We have to prepare to defend ourselves from such events and the only way to do that is with a space program. We cannot allow our pressing problems here on Earth to cause the withering away of a robust and capable space program. To do so is to seal our REAL doom someday from an inbound space rock or comet.

Read More About It:

Sky Guy in VA

No comments:

Post a Comment