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Close Approach By Asteroid 2012 BX34

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the everybody-wave dept.

Space 55

An anonymous reader writes with news that asteroid 2012 BX34, 11 meters wide, is in the process of passing within 60,000km of Earth — about a fifth of the distance between the Earth and the Moon. At that size, the asteroid would pose no danger even if it hit the Earth's atmosphere.

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Ok.. The mayans were right. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38839847)

The Mayans were right!!!!

Re:Ok.. The mayans were right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38840253)

Yes they were. We are shifting, astrologically, from the Age of Pisces to the Age of Aquarius.

You don't even have to replace your Mayan calendar, it just starts again. It's a loop, like going from 23:59:59 to 00:00:00 on a modern clock.

Re:Ok.. The mayans were right. (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 2 years ago | (#38841949)

We are shifting, astrologically, from the Age of Pisces to the Age of Aquarius.

Hooray for water recycling!

"at that size..." (-1)

Brucelet (1857158) | more than 2 years ago | (#38839927)

Summary neglects to mention what size it refers to. From the two links, it looks like the rock is about 12m or 36 feet across

Re:"at that size..." (2)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38839949)

Either the summary changed or Brucelet neglected to read the summary where it says the asteroid is 11 meters wide.

Re:"at that size..." (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 2 years ago | (#38843003)

Just because it has called out a single dimension does not say much about its size.
Is it 11 meters wide 300 meters long and 1k in depth? Is it spherical? If not then 11 meters wide means not much of anything.

Re:"at that size..." (2)

Quirkz (1206400) | more than 2 years ago | (#38844377)

Generally, if they cite only one dimension, they're citing the *largest* dimension. So you know it's at most 11 x 11 x 11.

Re:"at that size..." (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 2 years ago | (#38846663)

I was just being an ass. :)

Re:"at that size..." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38847619)

Ah, well, carry on then.

Re:"at that size..." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38839955)

"An anonymous reader writes with news that asteroid 2012 BX34, 11 meters wide,"

Re:"at that size..." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38842509)

or is it 11 metres wide...

Re:"at that size..." (1)

rnaiguy (1304181) | more than 2 years ago | (#38839961)

"...news that asteroid 2012 BX34, 11 meters wide..."

Re:"at that size..." (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38840039)

"...news that asteroid 2012 BX34, 11 meters wide..."

Size is one thing, what's it made of? If it were iron/nickel it could be "interesting times" should it come to earth. Rocky wouldn't be as bad. Frozen gasses would be pretty exciting, but as it's not trailing a coma, it's likely one of the former. If you're looking for a place it's likely to land, probability seems to favour Canada - consider these craters and how many are in the GWN [environmen...affiti.com]

Re:"at that size..." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38841031)

It has a ceramic shell with a Uranium core, the perfect weapon.

Re:"at that size..." (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#38841731)

at 11 meters? no it certainly would not be 'interesting times'. It would be a cool fire show. If some is really unlcuck, it might how a city. While bad for the the city, certainly nothing for anyone else.
It would weight, what 50,000 tons?(approx) a 747 has a min. operational weight of around 40,000 tons. Up to 9It could weight about the same as a 747. It would be travelling at 40K. It would be nothing like the craters you link to. Awesome link, btw.
Add tio that it would probably break up into at least two large pieces.

also, the earth is covered in craters, most of them have grown over, or are underwater.

Anyone feel like jumping off onto it? (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38839959)

Hope people have some sanity, but with the shape of the world today, I have my doubts.

If that's a rocky asteroid, as opposed to mostly frozen gasses, I expect it could still present a sizeable dent. Lots of old craters on this world, just covered up mostly by erosion, plant life, etc.

Re:Anyone feel like jumping off onto it? (5, Informative)

iggymanz (596061) | more than 2 years ago | (#38840037)

nope, stony asteroid has to be about 35 meters or more in diameter to "make a dent", otherwise it will just burn up in atmosphere.

Re:Anyone feel like jumping off onto it? (5, Interesting)

iggymanz (596061) | more than 2 years ago | (#38840099)

also of interest, a 10 meter metal (e.g. iron-nickel) asteroid will have big fragments that will hit the ground, for example the one that hit Sikhote-Alin mountains in Siberia in February 1947, 150 tons of fragments hit the ground and one of them weighed 1.7 tons!

Re:Anyone feel like jumping off onto it? (2)

A10Mechanic (1056868) | more than 2 years ago | (#38840395)

"A stony meteoroid of about 10 metres (30 ft) in diameter can produce an explosion of around 20 kilotons". (air-burst) I guess it depends on the angle of attack and altitude at burst. (from Wiki) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tunguska_event [wikipedia.org]

Re:Anyone feel like jumping off onto it? (1)

iggymanz (596061) | more than 2 years ago | (#38840571)

quite true, and of course greatly depends on velocity too. The size numbers are for the large part of the bell curve.

Re:Anyone feel like jumping off onto it? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38841183)

This is why you shouldn't read wikipedia. It can be misleading. The meteoroid has the kinetic energy of that. This energy may be transferred as an airburst high in the sky. If done close enough to the ground (as you hinted), the shockwave may do damage, and the collective residual portions of the meteoroid may do damage, but I highly doubt it'll do 20 kilotons of damage to anything near the surface area.

Re:Anyone feel like jumping off onto it? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#38841929)

And that explains why I dislike tnt comparisons.

Yes total energy would be equvilient...but energy is lost entering the atmosphere, the break up so not you have several smaller "tnt piles".

Of course the event you link to was cause by a comet, so not really the same thing.

Re:Anyone feel like jumping off onto it? (1)

treeves (963993) | more than 2 years ago | (#38846207)

"...energy is lost entering the atmosphere..."
Oh great, so it could contribute to global warming.

Re:Anyone feel like jumping off onto it? (1)

oPless (63249) | more than 2 years ago | (#38840317)

What would be its (relative) velocity if it did hit the atmosphere?

Sure there's the idea of mass in posts (iron vs rock) but not velocity!

At sufficiently high velocities it doesn't really matter what a projectile is composed of.

Re:Anyone feel like jumping off onto it? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842025)

Yes, yes it does.

Is it the type of material that would cause an air burst? is the material the type the will break a part? How much matter will it kick up?

I would rather have a baseball traveling the speed of light* hit us rather then a 1000 ton pieces of stone impacting the earth at 55,000 km per hour.

The first one might destroy a city, the with one would cause mass extinctions, and ruin all civilization.

*I know it cant, just an example that mass and material type matter.

Re:Anyone feel like jumping off onto it? (1)

holmstar (1388267) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842693)

1000 tons isn't really all that much. Certainly not a civilization ending event... more likely just an interesting item for the evening news. You would need something on the order of kilometers in diameter to end civilization as we know it. Also, an object with the rest mass of a baseball and traveling at very near the speed of light probably wouldn't be able to physically destroy a city as it would tend to explode into a burst of high energy particles upon impact with the atmosphere. It seems plausible, however, if there are enough high energy particles striking a city that it might irradiate it to the point that everything alive is killed. A different definition of destruction, perhaps.

Re:Anyone feel like jumping off onto it? (2)

idontgno (624372) | more than 2 years ago | (#38844545)

I would rather have a baseball traveling the speed of light hit us rather then a 1000 ton pieces of stone impacting the earth at 55,000 km per hour.

Are you sure?

The "big rock hitting us pretty fast" case is a kinetic energy content of 1.167 x 10^14 Joules [wolframalpha.com] , or about 28 kilotons equivalent yield. [wolframalpha.com]

OTOH, that wee little 145 gram baseball at .999c is 6.5 x 10^15 Joules [wolframalpha.com] , or 1.55 megatons yield equivalent [wolframalpha.com] *.

Both of those are city-killers, I suppose, but the baseball will kill a bigger city deader.

Neither is a dinosaur-killer. Humanity has made, and used, weapons with as much energy release as that.

*Actually, that "baseball at the speed of light" is classical kinetic energy. Using the relativistic kinetic energy equation, which seems appropriate at .999c, the answer turns out to be 2.78 x 10^17 Joules, [wolframalpha.com] , or about 66 1/2 megatons. [wolframalpha.com] Which is a bit more than the biggest weapon we've ever used in any setting. Still not a dinosaur-killer, but damned unpleasant to be anywhere near I'd bet.

Re:Anyone feel like jumping off onto it? (1)

oPless (63249) | more than 2 years ago | (#38896801)

*Actually, that "baseball at the speed of light" is classical kinetic energy. Using the relativistic kinetic energy equation, which seems appropriate at .999c, the answer turns out to be 2.78 x 10^17 Joules, [wolframalpha.com] , or about 66 1/2 megatons. [wolframalpha.com] Which is a bit more than the biggest weapon we've ever used in any setting. Still not a dinosaur-killer, but damned unpleasant to be anywhere near I'd bet.

Finally someone gets my point.

Waiting (1)

phrostie (121428) | more than 2 years ago | (#38840081)

Talk about waiting till the last minute.

@Apple can #suckit (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38840103)

Motorola just announced their 4th quarter results: 5 million android phones, 200,000 xoom tablets.

Pretty impressive! I can see why Google is paying $12 billion for them (seems like Motorola is practically giving themselves away).

Once the Google acquisition is complete, they'll crush Apple with numbers like those.

#winning

Re:@Apple can #suckit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38840207)

Dude, wrong social network.

Re:@Apple can #suckit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38845017)

Apple shipped 15.4 million iPads worldwide in the 4th quarter. [strategyanalytics.com] 200k xoom tablets is nothing.

AT&T had 7.6 million iPhone activations [att.com] in the 4th quarter. That's only one carrier in one country. 5 million Android phones world-wide is nothing in comparison.

Discovery date (4, Funny)

Dan East (318230) | more than 2 years ago | (#38840141)

The asteroid was discovered two days ago on the 25th, and its closest approach occurs today. Not much time there to get the shuttle back from the Smithsonian, haul it down to Florida, refit it with all the stuff they took out, and launch Bruce Willis to destroy the asteroid. Good thing it's not a larger asteroid on an actual collision course. (Yeah, I know, the shuttle isn't actually at the Smithsonian yet)

Re:Discovery date (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38840277)

(Yeah, I know, the shuttle isn't actually at the Smithsonian yet)

Then let's make sure it gets there A.S.A.P.!

Re:Discovery date (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38840475)

Well, had it been a larger asteroid, wouldn't it have been detected much sooner ?

Re:Discovery date (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38840613)

It would have made it easier to detect earlier but detection of asteroids still rely on being pointed at it with the right detection method. A charcoal black asteroid would require radar to detect. The standard rocky gray asteroid can be detected in visible light, if it's traveling at the right angle.

Re:Discovery date (1)

AdrianKemp (1988748) | more than 2 years ago | (#38841725)

That's so incredibly false it hurts...

First of all "charcoal black" is still going to reflect a good amount of light, and it'll emit lots of IR too.

Secondly, anything big enough to block out any reasonable portion of the sky is going to get noticed just as quickly as a new shiny object. When starts go missing people notice.

Re:Discovery date (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38841999)

Without a start there can be no end.

Re:Discovery date (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38840937)

The Smithsonian does have the test vehicle Enterprise OV-101. In the movies, it wouldn't take more than a week to pull Enterprise out of the Udvar-Hazy center and prep it for its first flight into space. (Probably done by hawt macho women to a modern rock soundtrack.)

Re:Discovery date (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38841349)

Larger asteroids are also easier to detect.

Re:Discovery date (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38841777)

and launch Bruce Willis to destroy the asteroid.

What the .... ? I thought the plan was to launch the asteroid to destroy Bruce Willis!

Re:Discovery date (2)

BigSes (1623417) | more than 2 years ago | (#38844961)

No, thats Asteroid 2012 DEMIMOORE50+

Re:Discovery date (1)

Zoxed (676559) | more than 2 years ago | (#38843687)

> and launch Bruce Willis to destroy the asteroid

Can we not launch him on a oneway trip anyway ? (just to be sure :-)

Mayan Wisdom? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38840267)

I suppose the Mayans had it right all along. It's the end of the world!

Come on everybody! (1)

jcreus (2547928) | more than 2 years ago | (#38840339)

Let's go to the basement! Whoops, we already are :).

Good luck finding it... (-1)

geogob (569250) | more than 2 years ago | (#38840681)

With a magnitude of around 27, good luck finding it with your binoculars...

So, unless you have a 8 meter telescope in your backyard, your chance of seeing BX34 are pretty dim (pun intended). Considering this, and considering that it posses no risk of impact, and considering that even in the event of an impact, it would pose no risk at all, and considering similar events happen every few week, I find it difficult to consider this as a newsworthy information.

I hope we won't get a news updated on every piece of rock that fly within a few tenths of LD from earth all the way through 2012.

Re:Good luck finding it... (4, Insightful)

AdrianKemp (1988748) | more than 2 years ago | (#38841837)

You might not find it interesting, but I do.

Just because it isn't software or hardware doesn't mean it isn't fitting for a nerd-news site. It's appropriately listed under Science and is a very interesting event. A small (seriously, 11 metres) object coming very close to Earth poses an interesting test of our local space awareness. If we can detect these things sooner and more accurately this is exactly the sort of thing that would be a candidate for capture once we have a proper space presence.

Re:Good luck finding it... (0)

geogob (569250) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842661)

don't get me wrong. I do find it interesting. I follow these kind of things out of personal interest on a regular basis. That's precisely why I can't say that there is nothing of significant interest with this particular event.

It is interesting. But not newsworthy (at least, in my opinion), at least not this particular event.

Re:Good luck finding it... (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#38842079)

I understand your point, and they are ones with bring up; however I think a general bubble in society about common natural events helps keep people interested. another grain of sand on the 'We must keep a better eye in the sky' pile.

Because I can say, without hyperbole, that we can be rendered extinct by a large rock from space. So the sooner we find them, the better are chance at diverting it.

It is common (4, Interesting)

Torg (59213) | more than 2 years ago | (#38840759)

The issue is we can only tell when one is about a day out. Many times we can only see them as they are leaving, not aproaching. It is actually a fairly common occorance. You can see them at http://www.spaceweather.com/ [spaceweather.com] . Since the begniing of the year there have been 5 that have come close enough to actually be of note.

math (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38840867)

According to the chart, it has a relative velocity of roughly 10km/s Assuming it's a little less dense than iron, (7g/cm^3), that should work out to something like 250 Tj of kinetic energy, or around a 56 kiloton warhead. If it actually kept most of that energy though the atmosphere (ie didn't break up), it would only be dangerous to populated parts of the world. It would make a nice bang, but not a climate changing one.

Is it an asteroid? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38841469)

Are we sure it is an asteroid and not a scout raptor from Galactica? :P

No danger at 11 meters? (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | more than 2 years ago | (#38843611)

At that size, the asteroid would pose no danger even if it hit the Earth's atmosphere

A nonsensical statement. That just depends on its trajectory.

Land on this (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#38845293)

Seriously, we need to find a small asteroid that comes into orbit and land a small automated craft on it. This would give us practice for doing the real thing with ppl. In addition, if we find a large enough asteroid in our orbit, lets land ppl on it. We had one earlier that was ideal for doing it.

99942 Apophis - 2029 & 2036 on THIS one... apk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38845887)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/99942_Apophis [wikipedia.org]

APK

P.S.=> Perhaps THIS is a better overall read:

Apophis: The Asteroid That Could Smash Into the Earth on April 13th, 2036:

http://www.deepastronomy.com/apophis-asteroid-could-hit-earth.html [deepastronomy.com]

... apk

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