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Astronomers Catch Asteroid In Near-Miss Video

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the skin-of-your-teeth dept.

NASA 120

ananyo writes in with a story about an asteroid near miss and a neat video taken by researchers. "It may look like a blurry blob, but researchers using the InfraRed Telescope Facility (IRTF) in Hawaii have posted a video of 2012 KT42 — a small asteroid that zipped past Earth at a distance of just three Earth radii on 29 May — the sixth closest encounter of any known asteroid. The bright asteroid appears fixed, while background stars zip past but in fact the asteroid is zipping along at 17 kilometres per second. 'You get the view of riding along with it,' says planetary scientist Richard Binzel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, who led the observations. At its closest, the asteroid was at a distance between the orbit of the space station (about 1 Earth radii) and geosynchronous satellites (about 6 Earth radii)."

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120 comments

Space station altitude.... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40395941)

Space station altitude is no where near 1 earth radius!!

Re:Space station altitude.... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40395959)

Ahem... if you're at ground level, your own altitude is 1 earth radius.

Re:Space station altitude.... (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40395977)

No, then my altitude is zero as is my distance to the earth.

Do not confuse altitude with the distance to the center of the earth.

At ground level your altitude is zero. (5, Informative)

Herve5 (879674) | about 2 years ago | (#40396523)

And the space station is some *20 times* closer to Earth than an earth radius. I must say I stopped reading here too.

Re:Space station altitude.... (1)

DamienNightbane (768702) | about 2 years ago | (#40395967)

360km pretty much is when compared to 36,000km.

Re:Space station altitude.... (3, Informative)

marjancek (1215230) | about 2 years ago | (#40396053)

360km pretty much is when compared to 36,000km.

360km (actually more like 400) is pretty little compared with earth's radius of over 6'000 kilometres

Re:Space station altitude.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40397309)

Space station altitude is no where near 1 earth radius!!

But the semi-major axis is almost exactly an Earth radius (just over, if it matters ;D)
You said altitude, they used the nebulous "distance", which could mean distance from Earth's center just as well as altitude.
It's ambiguous, not wrong.

Re:Space station altitude.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40398027)

If I had to take a guess, I would say that the original numbers probably suggested that the station orbited at "1 Earth radius", which the poster read as "~1 Earth radius". It's an easy mistake to make when paraphrasing, and mistakes of this nature have likely contributed to more than one satellite crashing into a spacial body at extremely high velocities.

Re:Space station altitude.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40398061)

"Less than" sign was gobbled up by the HTML parser. Insert where appropriate, above.

23 feet, kinda small asteroid (4, Interesting)

esldude (1157749) | about 2 years ago | (#40395969)

I conjured up visions of a small asteroid that might have been a real big event if it collided. I am sure 23 feet in diameter would have made for a heck of a meteorite show. Thread to tremendous death and destruction on earth it isn't however. What is the official lower limit for an asteroid?

Re:23 feet, kinda small asteroid (1)

hey_popey (1285712) | about 2 years ago | (#40396013)

Well, it seems that Ceres [wikipedia.org] (radius=950 km, 590 mi) is still called an asteroid, since it belongs to the Asteroid Belt.

1 Earth radii (5, Informative)

TheCreeep (794716) | about 2 years ago | (#40395997)

Radius is the single, radii is the plural. When it's only one, we use the singular.
1 kilometer, 1 liter, 1 metric fuckton. Or as people use across the pond, 1 miles, 1 gallon, 1 imperial fuckton.

You don't say 1 kilometers, 1 liters and you don't say 1 radii either.
Hence, it's 1 radius.

Re:1 Earth radii (2)

Razgorov Prikazka (1699498) | about 2 years ago | (#40396315)

Hence it is 1 prius, 2 prii. On the other hand, it is 1 Wii, 2 Wius :-D

No it is not. (4, Funny)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | about 2 years ago | (#40396745)

In Latin "Prius" is not a noun, and so radius/radii does not apply. Normal rules of English mean the plural of Prius the vehicle is Priuses. (And the plural of octopus is similarly octopuses; it is not a Latin word but the Greek "oktopous", and its Greek plural is oktopodes.)

As the Latin tag says, "Quem deus vult perdere, dementat prius" (those whom the Gods wish to destroy, they send mad thinking about the plural of Prius".

Re:No it is not. (1)

arth1 (260657) | about 2 years ago | (#40397561)

In Latin "Prius" is not a noun, and so radius/radii does not apply. Normal rules of English mean the plural of Prius the vehicle is Priuses. (And the plural of octopus is similarly octopuses; it is not a Latin word but the Greek "oktopous", and its Greek plural is oktopodes.)

Octopodes is acceptable in English too, but I think most people would go "huh?"

Virus is another example - it's a collective noun like money or crockery, and the normal plural form is "virus" and not "viruses", unless you intend to count the groups, like in "moneys" and "crockeries".

I'm more concerned with the "near-miss", which is a verbose way of saying hit.

Re:No it is not. (1)

jonadab (583620) | about 2 years ago | (#40400237)

> Octopodes is acceptable in English too

Umm, no. English only imports plural forms from the source language when the singular form retains the singular markings from the source language (e.g., "alumni" because the singular form "alumnus" has that very recognizable Latin -us singular ending). The plural would only be "octopodes" if the singular were "octopous" (which would rhyme with "papoose"). The root may come from Greek, but the inflectional ending does not.

Re:1 Earth radii (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40398395)

1 Wii plus 1 Wii is a Wiiwii.

Units and news (4, Insightful)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 2 years ago | (#40396003)

the asteroid was at a distance between the orbit of the space station (about 1 Earth radii) and geosynchronous satellites (about 6 Earth radii)."

How dumb do you have to imagine your audience to create non-standard units on every piece of news?

Also, with give such an imprecise distance as "between 6353km and 38118km"?

At least speed came in km/s instead of Sheppeis per Tatum grid.

Re:Units and news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40396105)

At least speed came in km/s instead of Sheppeis per Tatum grid.

Speaking of which, how much would 17km/s be in Sheppeis per Tatum grid? Good old "units" doesn't know either of those units.

$ units 17km/s "Sheppeis per Tatum grid"
Unknown unit 'Sheppeis'

In other news...
"An asteroid travelling at a speed of almost 225 million footballfields/fortnight missed the earth by about 11 thousand nauticalmiles..."

Re:Units and news (4, Informative)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 2 years ago | (#40396139)

Speaking of which, how much would 17km/s be in Sheppeis per Tatum grid? Good old "units" doesn't know either of those units.

Sheppey: A measure of distance equal to about 78 of a mile (1.4 km), defined as the closest distance at which sheep remain picturesque.

Tatum Grid [mit.edu] : the lowest regular pulse train that a listener intuitively infers from the timing of perceived musical events.

Re:Units and news (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about 2 years ago | (#40396323)

Speaking of which, how much would 17km/s be in Sheppeis per Tatum grid? Good old "units" doesn't know either of those units.

Sheppey: A measure of distance equal to about 78 of a mile (1.4 km), defined as the closest distance at which sheep remain picturesque.

Tatum Grid [mit.edu] : the lowest regular pulse train that a listener intuitively infers from the timing of perceived musical events.

Oh, God. What happened with the good old FFF [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:Units and news (3, Informative)

MacTO (1161105) | about 2 years ago | (#40396133)

They use "non-standard units" to give the reader a mental picture of the near miss. It has nothing to do with perceived stupidity.

Re:Units and news (3, Interesting)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 2 years ago | (#40396157)

They use "non-standard units" to give the reader a mental picture of the near miss. It has nothing to do with perceived stupidity.

Ok. I used "stupidity" for "the inability of forming a mental picture for 10000 km".

Re:Units and news (2)

ongelovigehond (2522526) | about 2 years ago | (#40396179)

It is possible to be highly intelligent, yet not have the ability to make a good mental picture for 10000 km, especially if you don't know the size of the earth or the distance of various satellites orbiting it.

Re:Units and news (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 2 years ago | (#40396221)

It is possible to be highly intelligent, yet not have the ability to make a good mental picture for 10000 km, especially if you don't know the size of the earth or the distance of various satellites orbiting it.

I don't wish to go into definitions of "intelligence" but you don't really need to know the size of the earth (although it's quite sad) to know what ten thousand kms are.

Unless you don't know the size of your own country, or region. You would also have to not know the length of the equator, how far you can travel by car in a day, etc.

We're not talking parsecs here; it's ten fricking thousand kilometers. I think it's a knowledge that can be assumed taking into account the nature of the news.

Re:Units and news (2)

ongelovigehond (2522526) | about 2 years ago | (#40396271)

Sure, 10000 km is 10000 km, everybody knows that. But to make a mental image, you need to put that in scale with the earth, moon and satellites. Knowing these sizes is just memorization of a bunch of trivia, often a sign of intelligence, but not always. I know a 6 year old kid who scored 135 on his IQ test, but failed the question about which day comes after Thursday.

Re:Units and news (3, Insightful)

MacTO (1161105) | about 2 years ago | (#40396283)

So do I get to choose a topic that is outside of your domain of knowledge, declare that any reasonable person should know it, then state that anyone who doesn't know it is stupid. Because that is pretty much what you're saying.

Believe it or not, stuff like the radius of the earth, the length of the equator, or even the size of your own country is called trivia. Most people don't know them because they don't have an immediate bearing on their life. That doesn't make them stupid.

Re:Units and news (1, Insightful)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 2 years ago | (#40396331)

Believe it or not, stuff like the radius of the earth, the length of the equator, or even the size of your own country is called trivia. Most people don't know them because they don't have an immediate bearing on their life. That doesn't make them stupid.

I disagree. Not knowing the radius of the earth to the point of not being able to visualize 10000km, which would essentially mean not knowing whether it's closer to 1000 or to 100000km (as with any better precision than that you already surpass the articles') isn't trivia for me.

You scare me, btw. I now wonder what other things you consider to be trivial knowledge. The motion of the planets? What are those bright spots on the night sky? How does an engine work? How does a lightbulb work?

Re:Units and news (1)

rabidMacBigot() (33310) | about 2 years ago | (#40396709)

I consider that a man's brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things, so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it.

A man should keep his little brain attic stocked with all the furniture that he is likely to use, and the rest he can put away in the lumber-room of his library, where he can get it if he wants it.

Re:Units and news (1)

kwerle (39371) | about 2 years ago | (#40398809)

I disagree. Not knowing the radius of the earth to the point of not being able to visualize 10000km, which would essentially mean not knowing whether it's closer to 1000 or to 100000km (as with any better precision than that you already surpass the articles') isn't trivia for me.

trivia plural of trivia
Noun:
Details, considerations, or pieces of information of little importance or value.

I'll bite. What practical/important use do you have for that piece of information?

'cause I don't have any, and I never have. Though, as it turns out, I used to work (in a data/IT support role) on a spacecraft. I guess you could say that I used to work indirectly for NASA.

So I think you're right - most folks would probably guess that the earth is between 1000-100000km in radius.

But I still don't know (or care, frankly) if it is more or less than 10Kkm. And stating distances in radii was a nice touch.

After all, what kind of arbitrary unit is a kilometer when talking about orbital distances?

Re:Units and news (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about 2 years ago | (#40400513)

I disagree. Not knowing the radius of the earth to the point of not being able to visualize 10000km, which would essentially mean not knowing whether it's closer to 1000 or to 100000km (as with any better precision than that you already surpass the articles') isn't trivia for me.

To summarize: You've watched a lot of scifi, so you can paint a picture in your head you think is right and you call that 'intelligence'.

Re:Units and news (1)

jonadab (583620) | about 2 years ago | (#40400631)

> You scare me, btw. I now wonder what other things you consider to be trivial knowledge.

Oh, come on. If the radius of the earth in flipping kilometers isn't trivial, I'm sure I have no idea what would be. I suppose you also think everyone should memorize fifty digits of e (I only know thirteen digits), what month the Battle of Carchemish took place (I only know the year), the complete list of sound changes from Proto-Indo-European to Proto-Germanic (I only know about a third of them), which of the three ideal gas laws is named after which person (Boyle, Charles, and whoever the other one was named after, for when volume is held constant, I forget his name), the full list of Roman emperors (I only know the major ones), the names of all 92 Johnson solids (most days I only remember the Platonic solids and some of the Archimedean ones), the number of verses in each chapter of the Bible, and the full lists of which cast members appear and do not appear in each episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Do you have room left in your brain for anything that's, you know, useful?

Re:Units and news (2)

Razgorov Prikazka (1699498) | about 2 years ago | (#40396373)

I agree, every now and then newspapers write panic-stories on the lack of "general knowledge" of university students.
Then one can read: 73% of university students dont know what is celebrated on Easter! Or: 81% of senior high-school students have no idea when the Battle of Waterloo was fought. Thing is, just as you say, that it is trivial for most people (including students).
The moment that Theology students dont know what Easter is / history students dont know when the Battle of Waterloo was fought / The radius of the earth is unknown to geology students / the length of the equator is not known by geography students... then there might be something to worry about. And even then that is a mild worry. As long as they can accurately find the information, that is good enough for me.
The rest is pub-quizz knowledge.

Re:Units and news (1)

delt0r (999393) | about 2 years ago | (#40398277)

The relevant quote is:

Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.

--Albert Einstein

Re:Units and news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40398659)

..unless it's a climbing perch

Re:Units and news (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40396313)

And the news story came out of the United States where no one has any feel for the length of a kilometer. Instead kilometers are used to confuse people.

Not buying it? Ok...
You are familiar with a wooden popsicle stick aren't you? You have held one and you would be able to tell someone if one was longer or shorter then normal right?
Without measuring, using a calculator or calculating on a piece of paper... Tell me roughly how many popsicle sticks there are to a kilometer?


Just because someone is intimately familiar with the size of something in no way makes it easy or intuitive to convert that to something that is on a massively different scale.

Re:Units and news (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 2 years ago | (#40396351)

Just because someone is intimately familiar with the size of something in no way makes it easy or intuitive to convert that to something that is on a massively different scale.

"the asteroid was at a distance between the orbit of the space station (about 1 Earth radii) and geosynchronous satellites (about 6 Earth radii)."

1 to 6.

That's like not knowing how many times your height is a bus stop.

Re:Units and news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40396577)

Without measuring, using a calculator or calculating on a piece of paper... Tell me roughly how many popsicle sticks there are to a kilometre?

Well from memory I would say a "popsicle" stick was approximately 10cm long so there would be approximately 10000 of them to a kilometre if laid end-to-end.

Re:Units and news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40396327)

I have not a slightest clue how big (in units) my country is, neither the one I'm currently residing in, same applies for the region, in fact I found geography to be really boring, so I didn't pay too much attention. Naturally, I have no clue how long the equator is. I also don't own a car, which makes me pretty crappy at estimating how far can I go in it in a day, nor how big that number is.

On the other hand, I could find all that information within seconds with the help of google. Therefore, I am neutral to the units they used in the video. It took me significantly longer to write this stupid response than to find how big the radius of the earth actually is.

Re:Units and news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40396621)

You are an idiot plain and simple.

Numbers like 10.000 km have no meaning for most people. Just like a trillion dollars doesn't make any sense to most people - sure, we know it's a big number, but you are in a domain where most people just can't comprehend the size.

Re:Units and news (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40396261)

I just imagine your mom.

Re:Units and news (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about 2 years ago | (#40400345)

Ok. I used "stupidity" for "the inability of forming a mental picture for 10000 km".

That isn't a measure of stupidity, it's a measure of anyone who's seen yo mama!

Re:Units and news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40396167)

Well not of the reader anyway.

Re:Units and news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40396303)

Yes, this. I'd be surprised if 15% of the people ALIVE even knows the actual scale of Earth with respect to their normal lives.

It is surprisingly small, as are all the oceans wrapped up in to a perfect sphere.
Still pretty god damn huge, but massively overstated by most people.

Re:Units and news (1)

Teun (17872) | about 2 years ago | (#40396433)

The author does not have to worry about a percentage of people alive to understand his article, it was written for a very specific audience and they will understand.
The fact his article leaked to /. and some of our constituency is no longer technically capable is only a curiosity for the amused observer.

Re:Units and news (4, Insightful)

danhuby (759002) | about 2 years ago | (#40396347)

On the contrary, Earth radii is a useful unit when explaining how close something came to the earth. It helps to form a mental picture.

For example, if you state that the moon is 384,400km from the earth, that doesn't really mean much - even if you know the diameter of the earth it's not as easy to form a mental picture as it is if you say that it is 62 Earth radii.

Personally though I would have thought diameters would be better than radii? I.e. the moon is 31 Earth diameters (or simply 31 'Earths') away. (As a side note I think that is much further than most people would guess it is).

Re:Units and news (1)

ongelovigehond (2522526) | about 2 years ago | (#40396369)

Actually, when I first saw a scale drawing of the Earth-Moon system, I was shocked to see how close the Moon actually is.

A fun thing to do is ask people to stretch out their arm, and have them indicate how big the moon is between their thumb and index finger.

Re:Units and news (1)

cyberchondriac (456626) | about 2 years ago | (#40400327)

It surprised me too. I think the analogy I saw was one where you have one person holding a basketball, which respresents Earth, and another, a tennis ball, which represents the moon; the two people have to stand about 25 feet (7.69 meters) apart to scale the distance. I would've thought maybe 10 to 12 feet.

Re:Units and news (2)

Teun (17872) | about 2 years ago | (#40396411)

I thought this was a very acceptable way of presenting the relative distance of the occurrence.
Those in the know can easily convert it to real measurements in their favourite units but for the layman the relative distance is probably easier to grasp.

Re:Units and news (1)

duinsel (935058) | about 2 years ago | (#40396419)

Moreover, ISS orbits with an apogee of 405 km above ground according to Wikipedia, while earths radius has a minimum of 6,357 km according to the same source. Not sure where the asteroid flew, but unless you mean that ISS orbits ~1 earth radius from the center of the earth, 1 earth radius does not equal the the orbit of the ISS.

Re:Units and news (2)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 2 years ago | (#40396425)

How many parsecs did it take to zip by the Earth, and how does that compare to the less than 12 Parsecs it took the Millennium Falcon to do the Kessel Run?

Re:Units and news (4, Informative)

Muad'Dave (255648) | about 2 years ago | (#40396469)

Many sites [spaceweather.com] that report on PHAs (Potentially Hazardous Asteroids) use LD, meaning Lunar Distance. That's pretty descriptive to the general public - "Wow that thing flew right between Earth and the Moon!". According to their archive, KT42 missed Earth by 0.05 LD and was #6 on the all-time closest flyby list [blogspot.com] .

Don't get your hopes up... (2)

WSOGMM (1460481) | about 2 years ago | (#40396033)

It was only 7 meters across. No impending doom this time folks.

Re:Don't get your hopes up... (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | about 2 years ago | (#40396081)

Still... Impeding-doom asteroids routinely pass between the Earth and the Moon and are detected after the fact.

I say we should forget about the Moon or about Mars. It is time that Earth sets up a good detection system (maybe an orbital array of Hubble-like telescopes ?) and begins thinking about mitigation plans for the case where a dangerous asteroid is located.

Re:Don't get your hopes up... (1)

ongelovigehond (2522526) | about 2 years ago | (#40396153)

Historically speaking, the chance of being killed by an asteroid is low enough that I'm not going to worry about it.

Re:Don't get your hopes up... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40396199)

That's that the dinosaurs said.

Re:Don't get your hopes up... (1)

ongelovigehond (2522526) | about 2 years ago | (#40396377)

Actually, the dinosaurs were always worried about asteroid impacts. However, my own ancestors, who also lived during that time, never worried, and they survived.

Student (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40396061)

VietNam Student [tapchisinhvien.vn] Education [tapchisinhvien.vn] The bright asteroid appears fixed, while background stars zip past but in fact the asteroid is zipping along at 17 kilometres per second. 'You get the view of riding along with it,' says planetary scientist Richard Binzel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, who led the observations

Near miss? Near hit, rather.... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40396115)

Near miss? Near hit, rather....

Re:Near miss? Near hit, rather.... (2)

KreAture (105311) | about 2 years ago | (#40396229)

Yes, I wish they would stop using the term. Is is not just misleading and stupid, it's wrong too.
A near miss relates to situations where chance played a role averting a disaster. Since this asteroid has been traveling on it's well-defined path and wil lcontinues to do so, modified ofcource by bodys it passes, it has nothing to do with chance and no ammount of butteryflys flapping their wings could have made it hit earth.
It was rather:
- a near hit
- a narrow escape
- a close encounter
- a close call

Since this was a case of moving objects the correct term is:
- near collision

Re:Near miss? Near hit, rather.... (2)

dogbert_2001 (1309553) | about 2 years ago | (#40397377)

You don't compare a near miss to a near hit. You compare a near miss to a FAR miss. Near is referring to distance. It is not being used as a synonym for "almost."

Re:Near miss? Near hit, rather.... (5, Insightful)

CompComp (1838698) | about 2 years ago | (#40396295)

The asteroid missed. It didn't miss by by a large amount- it came near. It was a near miss. It didn't hit, so it wasn't a "near hit" or a "far hit".

Re:Near miss? Near hit, rather.... (1)

Zelaron (1358987) | about 2 years ago | (#40398003)

Near miss? Near hit, rather....

In this context, the word "near" is not being used to mean "almost" but "close in proximity." It would be nice if the use of "near miss" would stop on the grounds that it's ambiguous (rather than necessarily wrong, which it isn't).

Re:Near miss? Near hit, rather.... (1)

jonadab (583620) | about 2 years ago | (#40400817)

> It would be nice if the use of "near miss" would stop on the grounds that it's ambiguous

It's not ambiguous. In the entire history of the English language the phrase "near miss" has only ever been used with one meaning. The fact that a small handful of misguided pedants think it should mean something different from what it obviously does mean does not make it ambiguous. The pedants are just wrong -- and even they clearly understand what the writer intended to say.

Downloadable video (5, Informative)

k(wi)r(kipedia) (2648849) | about 2 years ago | (#40396149)

I can't view anything in my Flash-free browser. After some searching I found what looks like a downloadable video of the asteroid flyby (56 MB) [vimeo.com] . From the caption:

The sixth closest asteroid encounter on record, the May 29 near-miss by the object catalogued as "2012 KT42", was tracked by the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF) on Mauna Kea, Hawaii as it whizzed inside the orbital distance of Earth geosynchronous satellites (6.6 Earth radii or an altitude of 22,000 miles).

Re:Downloadable video (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40396679)

I can't view anything in my Flash-free browser. After some searching I found what looks like a downloadable video of the asteroid flyby (56 MB) [vimeo.com] .

A war against Flash will sap your time and energy. Just install the plugin until it is no longer offered, and then you can watch it without all of the searching and posting about how you routed around Flash.

Near Miss (5, Funny)

erktrek (473476) | about 2 years ago | (#40396227)

Here's a phrase that apparently the airlines simply made up: near miss. They say that if 2 planes almost collide, it's a near miss. Bullshit, my friend. It's a near hit! A collision is a near miss.
[WHAM! CRUNCH!]
"Look, they nearly missed!"
"Yes, but not quite.”

George Carlin

Re:Near Miss (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 2 years ago | (#40396743)

All hits are near hits. This cant hit that unless they are near each other. But a miss could be a far miss or a near miss. That is why they called it a near miss to distinguish it from the safe and ignorable far miss.

Re:Near Miss (1)

Twinbee (767046) | about 2 years ago | (#40397355)

All hits are near hits

Not if you translate 'near' to mean 'nearly', and when you say "that nearly hit", that definitely implies it didn't hit.

Um ... What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40396289)

"At its closest, the asteroid was at a distance between the orbit of the space station (about 1 Earth radii) and geosynchronous satellites (about 6 Earth radii)."

The space station is only 370 km high, that's about 1/5th of the radius of the earth.

These numbers are WAY off (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40396431)

Holy crap dude! The space station orbits at about 5% of the earth's radius

space station altitude = 370 km
radius of earth = 6384 km

Saw a meteor once. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40396439)

I've seen a meteor once. It was glowing orange, sparks were trailing it. (this happened the summer prior to the persion gulf war)

No idea where it hit, but it looked to be pretty low when I saw it, so, I'm pretty sure some of it made it to earth... probably not terribly far from where I was standing. Truly fascinating. :-)

Re:Saw a meteor once. (2)

RichMan (8097) | about 2 years ago | (#40396913)

You should be able to see meteor on any night if you look long enough.

Around August 12th the annual peak (Perseids) usually yields 1 visible meteor a minute to a keen observer.

The Leonids (Nov 17) peak every 33 years at 1000 meteors and hour (16 a minute).

I would rather NASA would catch a near-miss (2)

WindBourne (631190) | about 2 years ago | (#40397385)

If we are sending a manned mission to an asteroid, why not put a small unit on these asteroids, with carmera, drill, etc. and let it continue with the asteroid. The other idea would be to catch one and try to manuvuer it. By doing that, we can come up with ideas on how to take on one that will hit us, but also how to mine them.

We have uncountable closer encounters... (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 2 years ago | (#40398033)

We have them all the time. And they end up getting called meteors. But they were asteroids once too...
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