Asteroid Awareness Month

I was so relieved to know that no one was killed in Russia as a result of the meteorite hitting, though it’s unsettling how many were injured. It looks like space is a lot more forgiving than some world leaders (*Cough* Obama *Cough*). This time.

Yesterday, we had another one soar past our planet just 27,700 kilometres above the surface on February 15th. This one was much larger than our recent visitor. The one that hit Russia was roughly 1/3 of the size.

In light of this recent occurence, it is no wonder the news stations ate this one up. Yet, NASA reassured everyone that there was no chance of hitting Earth. Still, it’s crazy to think that it was closer to the Earth’s surface than the human-made communications and weather satellites that are in geosynchronous orbit.

Here’s a little tid bit from the CBC news website:

(Read the whole story here if you wish.)

“NASA estimates there are about 500,000 near-Earth asteroids about the size of DA14, and one of them will make a close encounter comparable to this one about every 40 years.

However, until recently, asteroids this small have been difficult to detect until after they have passed the Earth, said Curt Nason, an astronomer with the Saint John Astronomy Club in New Brunswick.

“We could have had a lot closer ones years ago,” he said. “They just couldn’t see them.”

On average, NASA estimates, an asteroid the size of DA14 will actually hit the Earth about once every 1,200 years.”

I used to want to get into astronomy, but I suck at Physics. My college Physics teacher used to write “Ouch” on my exams. Seriously. Moving right along…

This whole thing reminds me that it would be really fun to go comet watching one time soon! They really do look quite pretty with their bright tails.

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