July 20, 2006 at 4:00 pm #15603
Does anyone know the ‘facts’ about the comet that missed earth about two weeks ago? I can’t find anything in the news about it, someone has?July 20, 2006 at 5:10 pm #15604
Asteroid nearly misses Earth
An asteroid hurtling through space came within a hairs breadth in astronomical terms, at least of crashing into the Earth early Monday, US scientists have said.
Apollo Asteroid 2004 XP14 was discovered by Lincoln Laboratory in Lexington, Massachusetts, a research facility which part of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and which claims the title of the worlds principal detector of asteroids said Roger Sudbury, a spokesman for the lab.
We were the discoverer said Sudbury of the Apollo Asteroid 2004 XP14, which passed some 268,873 miles (432,000 kilometers) from the Earth at 0425 GMT.
The distance between the two bodies was slightly greater than that between the Earth and the moon a close shave in the vastness of outer space.
Sudbury said the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Minor Planet Center, which is affiliated with the Lincoln Lab, had classified the body as a potentially hazardous asteroid, because of its proximity to Earth and, if it hit, could have caused significant impact.
Most of them that we discover are in the main asteroid belt, which is between Mars and Jupiter, Sudbury said.
Most would just burn up upon reentry into the atmosphere, he said. Some of them will have trajectories that will at some point come into the Earths orbit.
The question, of course, he continued, is, where the Earth as the asteroid goes by?
Sudbury said The Minor Planet Center has established criteria in terms of size and other factors to alert scientists and lay observers whether an asteroid could actually penetrate the Earths atmosphere and do significant damage.
In the case of Mondays asteroid, he said, scientists were able to reassure the public that there was never any great risk, but that it would stray off course and crash into the Earth.
The spokesman told AFP that near-Earth asteroids were once believed to be a rarity, but recent scientific and technological advances have allowed researchers to track asteroids that previously escaped detection.
In a few years weve detected more than have ever been discovered in history, Sudbury said.July 21, 2006 at 2:35 am #15606
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