Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Impacts and near misses for Apophis Day 2016

I opened and closed Yuri's Night 2016 by mentioning the proxity of two days about space that I celebrate on this blog.
Tomorrow is Yuri's Night followed by Apophis Day.  I don't think I realized that I celebrate two space days one right after the other, the first about the promise of space and the second about its perils.  Now that I do, I'm appreciating the juxtaposition.
Stay tuned for stories about near misses and other risks from space in tomorrow's Apophis Day post.
It turns out last month was an active month for misses and at least one actual collision.  I begin with Jupiter Collision! Impact Burst Captured By Amateur Astronomer from

John McKeon captured an impact on the gas giant on March 17th, 2016 (00:18:45 UT). The video was snapped using an an 11" SCT with an ASI120mm camera and Ir-pass 742nm filter. It was most likely an asteroid or comet colliding with Jupiter. has more on this impact and a history of others with Jupiter that have been observed since 1994.

Next, Wochit News reported Comet Speeds By Earth on March 22nd.

This morning a comet sped past Earth, coming closer to our planet than all but two other space objects in recorded history. It will be another 150 years before another comet comes as close. The comet was still a safe 2.2 million miles away, and was only visible through a telescope. The fly-by was an excellent opportunity for NASA scientists to work on the advancement of the study of comets. The study of comets aides in a better understanding of the universe, as well as providing information on how to handle a possible asteroid strike on Earth.
The last close encounter for March was reported a month in advance by Tomonews US: Asteroid near miss: NASA says 2013-TX68 could pass as close as 11,000 miles from Earth

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory announced on Tuesday that an asteroid could pass extremely close to Earth next month, much closer than the Moon.

Asteroid 2013 TX68 will make its closest pass by Earth on March 5. The asteroid, which has a diameter of 100 feet (30 meters), could pass as far out as 9 million miles (14 million kilometers) or as close as 11,000 miles (17,000 kilometers). The average distance of the Moon from the Earth, by comparison, is 238,555 miles (384,400 kilometers), according to NASA.

According to NASA, the variation in the distance depends on the trajectory of the asteroid, which scientists could not predict, since they were only able to track the asteroid for a few days after it was discovered on Oct. 6, 2013.

What NASA scientists are sure about is that there is no chance the asteroid could hit the Earth this time, although there is a 1-in-250-million chance it could hit our planet on its next pass, on Sep. 28, 2017.

Even if it does hit the Earth, it is too small to cause any real damage. It would likely break up in the atmosphere and blow apart in an explosion from an incoming asteroid called an "air burst."
Follow over the jump for a year's worth of stories from Tomonews about asteroid near misses plus a warning from Wochit about comets.

The story I embedded above the fold plus the videos I included in Halloween and Friday the 13th bring space visitors and Asteroid redirect for Apophis Day, along with many other from the past two years, compose Tomonews' Asteroids hitting earth: Doomsday asteroid, asteroid near miss, meteor hits earth - Compilation.

1. NASA scientists believe a giant asteroid called 1950DA could collide with Earth in the year 2880.

2. Fly-by expected to bring asteroid much closer to the Earth than the Moon, which is more than 200,000 miles away.

3. Surprise! NASA scientists have suddenly discovered that a large, high-velocity asteroid is approaching Earth and will fly closer than anything we’ve seen in nearly a decade.

4. Although there is no threat of impact this time, if asteroid 2004 BL86 were to hit earth, it would create a crater with a 10-km-wide diameter

5. NASA announced a plan on March 25, 2015, regarding a future mission to change the trajectory of an asteroid. The mission may have the potential to protect Earth from an impending asteroid impact in the future.
Now I'm sure that I've posted about all the recent incidents and events on topic for today.  Even so, I'm not done.  Wochit News warns Astronomers Say Comet Impacts More Likely Than Widely Thought.

Large comets, dubbed centaurs, exist on the outer fringes of our solar system, and have made their way to Earth before.
As I'm fond of reminding my readers...

Happy Apophis Day!


  1. That last comic was really funny. I hope that if we're ever hit be something devastating it's over quick. I guess I'm a big ole chicken, but I don't want to survive all manner of disasters to get taken out by a sinus infection years later because all the meds are gone. Just sayin'.

    1. A dinosaur killer, which would be 5 miles across, would do the trick. None of the ones mentioned here fit the bill, not even Apophis. That would destroy a major metropolitan area and ruin a medium-sized country, but it may not even end civilization. As for your fear of dying from a sinus infection because there are no antibiotics, welcome to the world of Mad Max!