picture of the day
Asteroid 2007 TU24. Credit: Arecibo/Greenbank
Jan 30, 2008
A Miss is as Good as a Mile
Despite "doomsday" fears of an asteroid
collision, TU24 has once again faded into obscurity without
any dramatic developments.
11, 2007, the
Catalina Sky Survey detected the first sign of a Near
Earth Object (NEO) dubbed 2007 TU24. The initial orbital
calculations seemed to show that the 250-meter chunk of
space rock had a slim chance of passing close to our planet
possibly within the orbit of the Moon. However, the most
recent data indicates that it flew by Earth at a distance of
approximately 538,000 kilometers half again as far as the
Moon on January 29, 2008, at 3:33AM EST.
from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California,
analyzed the newest data from the
Goldstone Solar System Radar telescope and determined
that there is no chance the asteroid will ever come within
striking distance of the Earth.
Previous Picture of the Day articles note that asteroids
and large meteors are rarely, if ever, going to impact the
Earth in the first place.
Electric Universe view, any object coming far from the earth
will carry a different charge. As it encounters lower layers
of the Earth's plasma sheath, the voltage between the object
and the layer could abruptly increase and the object begin
to visibly discharge.
At first it
would be surrounded by a glow
discharge, a diffuse luminescence similar to St. Elmos
fire or to high-altitude elves.
As the voltage rises, the discharge would jump to arc mode
and the object would become an electrode at the focus of
upper-atmospheric charge. At this point material would
begin to ablate in a sputtering process as well as from
velocity-caused air friction.
current flow becomes too extreme, capacitive discharges
within the meteor will cause a violent outburst of
electricity with sudden bright flashes. The meteor is now
called a "bolide," or
effects within semi-metallic objects prompted some Electric
correspondents to wonder if such a flare (or a glow
discharge) might appear during the 2007 TU24 flyby. The
short answer is that the object is far too small, plasma in
space is far too diffuse, and its encounter with Earth was
at too great a distance for any such phenomena to appear.
followed closely on the heels of
Asteroid 2007 WD5 which was predicted to smash into the
surface of Mars on January 30, 2008. As of January 11,
however, the odds were reduced to a 1-in-10,000 chance that
there would be a Martian catastrophic event. Once again, we
predict that there will be no visible effects of any kind as
2007 WD5 proceeds past Mars and back into the depths of
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