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Asteroid Passes (Just) 65,000 Miles From Earth

timothy posted about a year ago | from the thanks-a-lot-bruce-willis dept.

Earth 96

An anonymous reader writes "Discovered a day before its closest approach to Earth, Asteroid 2013 LR6 came within roughly 65,000 miles of the planet as it flew over the Southern Ocean of Tasmania, Australia at 12:42 a.m. EDT on June 8. Despite being more than half the size of the one that exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia in February, the 30-foot-wide asteroid posed no threat, according to NASA."

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Hindsight (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43951053)

is useless for evaluating threats, which are on the other half of the arrow of time.

Re:Hindsight (3, Insightful)

Dr. Tom (23206) | about a year ago | (#43951499)

is how we gather statistics from the past to generate probabilities for predicting the future. The More You Know.

Re:Hindsight (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43951557)

To say that something "posed no threat" (past tense) is a bogus statement unless you already declared it a threat or non-threat in the past. It's a Schroedinger's cat kind of thing: Once you observe, the superposition and with it the ambiguity is gone. A threat is something that can go either way, so something in the past can never be a threat. It can be something that was perceived as a threat in the past, but it can not be a threat.

Re:Hindsight (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43952677)

By that logic, nothing is a threat, it either ends up hurting us or not...

Or you can interpret that as most people intend when they talk about something the past being a threat or not: if things had gone similarly but differently, would it have been possible for us to be hurt? If such a sized asteroid were on a slightly different path so it hit the Earth, it would be rather unlikely to do any actual damage, and would struggle to hit a commercial airliner or shatter windows in all but the most worst of possible incoming trajectories.

Re:Hindsight (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43953809)

If that's what they wanted to say, why don't they just say it? If this 30ft wide space rock had been on a slightly different trajectory and hit a population center, sufficiently few people would have died that it would not have been an extinction level event.

Re:Hindsight (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43953991)

That is exactly what they said... just some thick people who think some simple but otherwise obvious wording is an excuse to get all philosophical about a tangent to a misreading. It is like how some people will see the phrase "twice as small" and then spend a couple paragraphs trying to understand the significance of negative size, refusing to acknowledge what it actually means and moving on to more productive or at least interesting things.

Re:Hindsight (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43952263)

Time doesn't use arrows; he uses a flamethrower. After all, "Time is the fire in which we burn".

Re:Hindsight (2)

DrVxD (184537) | about a year ago | (#43952365)

Time is an illusion; lunchtime doubly so.

Re:Hindsight (1)

magic maverick (2615475) | about a year ago | (#43952765)

Very deep. You know they have a page on Reader's Digest for people like you.

Re:Hindsight (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43953023)

That's a direct quote from the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, you nitwit.

Re:Hindsight (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43963427)

... and so was that

Re:Hindsight (1)

DrVxD (184537) | about a year ago | (#43964883)

Is that you, Ford?

Re:Hindsight (1)

magic maverick (2615475) | about a year ago | (#43965793)

Author. Ford was the fellow who said the lunch time is an illusion thing.

A: What, three pints at lunch time?
F: Time is an illusion ...
A: Very deep. ...

Re:Hindsight (1)

magic maverick (2615475) | about a year ago | (#43965937)

And I fucked up didn't I. s/Author/Arthur/

Re:Hindsight (1)

DrVxD (184537) | about a year ago | (#43987191)

Yeah, I realised that about 0.00000001 seconds after I hit submit - ah well :-)

Stay hoopy, frood.

Re:Hindsight (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43966287)

Mr. Prefect, to you.

Flew? (4, Insightful)

rossdee (243626) | about a year ago | (#43951077)

"as it flew over the Southern Ocean of Tasmania, Australia"

At 65,000 miles out, its not flying. (its in orbit around the sun)

And the southern ocean does not belong to Tasmania, or even Australia

Re:Flew? (2)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | about a year ago | (#43951105)

And at 65000 miles, Earth subtends a 14 angle (an apple at arms length). So it's hardly "over" a single point off Tasmania, as opposed to "over" the whole hemisphere.

Re:Flew? (1, Insightful)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | about a year ago | (#43951117)

And at 65000 miles, Earth subtends a 14 angle (an apple at arms length). So it's hardly "over" a single point off Tasmania, as opposed to "over" the whole hemisphere.

Slashdot doesn't do the markup for degrees? Jerks.

Surprised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43951257)

Slashdot doesn't do markup for anything. No accents for European languages (let alone more esoteric ones), no Unicode, no nothing.

It's 2013, and flat ASCII is all you get. On a blog that claims to be for techies by techies.

Weird thing is that the whole kaboodle is written in perl which supports Unicode right out of the box.

captcha: jackasses

Re:Surprised? (3, Informative)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | about a year ago | (#43951407)

Slashdot doesn't do markup for anything. No accents for European languages (let alone more esoteric ones), no Unicode, no nothing.

It does not support the degree symbol, but it does have some of the accented characters used in Western Europe (ä à á å â ç ñ ø € etc.). It also supports some less common characters, such as the Icelandic ð or the æ or ß ligatures.

Re:Surprised? (1)

Bearhouse (1034238) | about a year ago | (#43952583)

You missed é, which is perhaps more commonly used than the others you cite...

But otherwise, yeah, pretty lame for a nerdy site.

Re: Surprised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43951853)

it's ASCII, all the way down.

Re:Surprised? (1)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | about a year ago | (#43951861)

I don't care about unicode. I was referring to the html markup for degree "°".

It's html, it should display on a web page without any assistance. The comment-clenser allows many others to pass through (like &, which is how I wrote the above.) But for some reason it blocks so many harmless character codes.

Re:Surprised? (1)

Shompol (1690084) | about a year ago | (#43955297)

ASCII has a near-perfect support for English. Why does lack of Unicode support bother you? Does it hinder you from posting in other languages? In that case /. does an excellent job at filtering out (certain class of) trolls, and that takes precedence over whatever minor inconvinience it poses.

Re:Surprised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43964991)

In that case /. does an excellent job at filtering out (certain class of) trolls

And yet somehow you still managed to get your post through. Bravo.

Re:Flew? (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year ago | (#43951245)

Tasmania was the center point or centrally located section of that hemisphere from the roids perspective.

Actually I don't know anything about this. But that seems like an easy assumption to make =)

Re:Flew? (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year ago | (#43951579)

Is the word that you are looking for periapsis, the point where two orbiting bodies are closest?

When you don't know the standard terminology, ....

Re:Flew? (1)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | about a year ago | (#43951941)

The asteroid isn't in orbit around the Earth, so periapsis doesn't work.

But my point was just that at 65,000 miles, referring to the exact surface intersection point of closest approach in a popsci article is about as silly as referring to the RA/dec or constellation. "The car crash occurred 500km north of a point just west of Federal Street, Hobart."

(More visually useful might have been a pic of the Earth/moon/sun alignment and the asteroid path.)

Re:Flew? (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year ago | (#43968435)

Doesn't have to be closest to be centrally located with the center point of another object... Yes for spheres this is generally true. But not all the time.

Re:Flew? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43951107)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tasmania "Tasmania (abbreviated as Tas and known colloquially as "Tassie") is an island state, part of the Commonwealth of Australia"
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_Ocean#Existence_and_definitions "Coastal maps of Tasmania and South Australia label the sea areas as Southern Ocean"

Re:Flew? (1)

WillKemp (1338605) | about a year ago | (#43951211)

It's like saying "the Atlantic Ocean of Madeira".

Re:Flew? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43951969)

"as it flew over the Southern Ocean of Tasmania, Australia"

And the southern ocean does not belong to Tasmania, or even Australia

"Off". It's an typo.

Re:Flew? (1)

gronofer (838299) | about a year ago | (#43957247)

"Off". It's an typo.

You may be right. But that just raises the bigger question: are they are using the Australian or International definition of "Southern Ocean"?

Re:Flew? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43953405)

From the sun's perspective, it is orbiting the sun. From the earth's perspective, it just flew by. It is all relative.

Re:Flew? (1)

danlip (737336) | about a year ago | (#43956061)

At 65,000 miles out, its not flying. (its in orbit around the sun)

Even if it entered the atmosphere it wouldn't be flying, it would be falling (and burning up quickly).

Re:Flew? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43957499)

At 65,000 miles out, its not flying. (its in orbit around the sun)

Wait, so if what you are saying is true, does that mean the earth isn't flying around the sun?

Re:Flew? (1)

jc42 (318812) | about a year ago | (#43967273)

... does that mean the earth isn't flying around the sun?

If the Earth ever unfolds its wings, we insignificant surface parasites are in for a wild ride.

Hand in your card on the way out (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about a year ago | (#43970479)

How would wings work in space? I think you mean S-foils.

Slashdot Editors love Australia. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43958295)

It's why they shoehorn in at least one Aussie-related story every day, even if it means completely distorting the facts in order to do so.

Chicken Little Lives (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year ago | (#43951113)

Like the dinosaurs that came before us, we will claim the sky is not falling right up until it actually does.

Re:Chicken Little Lives (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43951139)

Allow me to wiggle my rancid asshole right in front of your cock. Wow, your putrid cock really wants to be drained of its tadpoles! What say you?

Re:Chicken Little Lives (3, Funny)

You're All Wrong (573825) | about a year ago | (#43951163)

I don't remember the dinosaurs claiming that.

Re:Chicken Little Lives (3, Funny)

PsyMan (2702529) | about a year ago | (#43951169)

I don't remember the dinosaurs claiming that.

Some of the more mature slashdotters do though *cough* COBOL

Re:Chicken Little Lives (0)

cjjjer (530715) | about a year ago | (#43952271)

Depends on what you call "mature". I am 44 and work on COBOL a few times a year doing contract work for a couple of healthcare gigs. Mostly maintaining (or porting the programs to SAS http://www.sas.com/ [sas.com] ) it is actually quite lucrative if you don't mind doing it.

Re:Chicken Little Lives (1)

Bearhouse (1034238) | about a year ago | (#43952607)

I write in APL, you insensitive clod!

Re:Chicken Little Lives (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43951187)

What a short memory you have ;)

Re:Chicken Little Lives (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43953697)

I don't remember Chicken Little claiming the sky was not falling until it actual did either.

Finally a use for the ISS (5, Funny)

PsyMan (2702529) | about a year ago | (#43951129)

Can we not fit a large laser to the ISS and have someone fly it around up there blasting it in to smaller manageable chunks (they would only need 2 rotation buttons, a thruster and a fire button). I am sure Atari patented this technology back in the 70's.

Re:Finally a use for the ISS (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43951215)

Yeah. NASA has already started extensive astronaut training with the help of Kerbal Space Program...

Re:Finally a use for the ISS (1)

jd2112 (1535857) | about a year ago | (#43952547)

I would rather send Bruce Willis in a titanium hulled space shuttle with a hydrogen bomb.

Re:Finally a use for the ISS (1)

RoverDaddy (869116) | about a year ago | (#43966721)

You forgot Hyperspace. I'm sure the ISS astronauts want that one too.

Just to be clear. (2)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about a year ago | (#43951133)

We almost got rid of Tasmania?

Re:Just to be clear. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43951173)

We almost got rid of Tasmania?

Damn, what would South Australia do for population growth then????

Re:Just to be clear. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43951283)

The two headed Tasmanian s and the inbreeding .. continue. ..
Pity , as Tasmanian women really do have two ...

Re:Just to be clear. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43952009)

You sure t'wasn't a wombat, boy?

Does NASA *really* need to say that... (0)

Nutria (679911) | about a year ago | (#43951191)

it posed no risk? Are there *really* people who think that a boulder so far away is actually a danger?

If so, sterilize them. Now!

Re:Does NASA *really* need to say that... (1)

meglon (1001833) | about a year ago | (#43951227)

To be fair, the object that hit Chicxulub posed no risk for any of it's near Earth passes either.... until it did.

While this object is fairly small, it passed about 1/4 of the distance to the moon from us. If we were intelligent, we'll keep track of it so we can plot to see if it will ever hit us; if we blindly think it poses no risk, it may slap us in the face in the future.

As for NASA stating that it posed no risk in passing us that close, i can both understand the humor in their statement, as well as them feeling the need to after the complete and utter bullshit hysteria that anything more than a gnat farting 10 miles away causes in some of the truly idiotic of our species (see: all the lame ass, end of the world bullshit ever contrived by mental midgets, or the con-men taking advantage of the mental midgets).

Re:Does NASA *really* need to say that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43951337)

Is there any reason to believe that an object that has passed at 56000 miles today has any higher chance to hit us in the future than any other object that we have not seen yet??
After looking at the diagram on the website depicting the orbits, I don't think so. It was just a freak accidental passby of two objects in completely dissimilar orbits.
The next time the object's orbit crosses the earth object, the earth will be in a completely different position!

Re:Does NASA *really* need to say that... (1)

meglon (1001833) | about a year ago | (#43957333)

That's kinda why they track these things... to find out if it does. One day of tracking isn't usually enough to know it's orbit well enough to tell.

Re:Does NASA *really* need to say that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43952733)

Or maybe they think it poses no risk due to its size? At that size and speed, it wouldn't even shatter windows except in the most unlikely of direct hits... and in that unlikely situation, it might break a few windows, but would be much quieter than the one in Russia recently.

Re:Does NASA *really* need to say that... (1)

meglon (1001833) | about a year ago | (#43957355)

There's a lot of variable to the equation, and yes, size is one of them. On smaller objects, it's not necessarily the most important; a 30m rock pile wouldn't even hit ground, a 30m iron, high speed, steep entrance... it's going to make a very nasty dent in whatever it hits...a car, a backyard, a city...

Re:Does NASA *really* need to say that... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43952165)

Yes, they're called Space Nutters. They are convinced the Earth is a tiny little rocky mud ball and are sure doomsday is just around the corner for the whole species, which is why it's vitally important we send test pilots 0.1 Earth radii up in a tin can. So that they can survive the Apocalypse and colonize Mars or something. I don't think sterilizing them helps anything, but maybe a good high-school science refresher.

Re:Does NASA *really* need to say that... (1)

Tamerlin (940577) | about a year ago | (#43963483)

it posed no risk? Are there *really* people who think that a boulder so far away is actually a danger?

If so, sterilize them. Now!

Yes, indeed they do. Why? Because so few people have the brains and imagination to conceive of distance beyond the next block. In astronomical terms, 65,000 miles is almost grazing, hence a near miss. To a human on earth, it's a long way away.

Re:Does NASA *really* need to say that... (1)

Nutria (679911) | about a year ago | (#43964065)

An astronomical-skin-of-the-teeth miss is still... a miss.

Re:Does NASA *really* need to say that... (1)

Tamerlin (940577) | about a year ago | (#43964279)

Yes... but explain that to the average american't bozo who thinks that it's ok for schools to include theology in science classes.

Dictionary of numbers (1)

jamesh (87723) | about a year ago | (#43951203)

Asteroid 2013 LR6 came within roughly 65,000 miles of the planet

This is exactly where you need to put some context on the numbers. I don't know offhand if that's come between earth and the moon (just looked it up - much closer to earth than the moon). Maybe everyone but me carries numbers like that around in their head but I don't and something like "about 1/4 the distance to the moon from earth" or "roughly twice as far as geostationary orbit" would have been really useful.

Re:Dictionary of numbers (1)

WillKemp (1338605) | about a year ago | (#43951213)

They didn't need to - they knew you'd do their work for them!

Re:Dictionary of numbers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43951221)

Geostationary orbit is about 36000km or 22000 miles above ground.

Re:Dictionary of numbers (1)

PsyMan (2702529) | about a year ago | (#43951231)

Thats about 6,973,824 double decker buses OR 2,092,147.2 olympic size swimming pools.

Re:Dictionary of numbers (1)

vikingpower (768921) | about a year ago | (#43951611)

Or 0.003388947 microparsecs, or 520,000 furlongs, or 61176471 smoots [wikipedia.org] ( rounded up ).

Re:Dictionary of numbers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43952019)

A third of a light-second. Sixteen Earth-radii.

Re:Dictionary of numbers (1)

FlyMysticalDJ (1660959) | about a year ago | (#43953915)

Or 20.9 quadrillion beard seconds

Re:Dictionary of numbers (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about a year ago | (#43970631)

1 / 3539823008th of a Kessel run.

Asteroid TV (1)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | about a year ago | (#43951237)

Thanks to progress in technologies, in telescopes (quality and price, China stuff ...) we have more and more asteroid news. Of course NASA needs to justify a budget, and any scary news is welcome. People are always glad to broadcast any news in regard to their new glass equipment. Thus, even an asteroid half the size of the one that illuminated the Russia sky a few weeks ago makes the headlines.

Lucky! (5, Funny)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#43951243)

Much further and we would have been dealing with an integer overflow.

Re:Lucky! (1)

Livius (318358) | about a year ago | (#43952557)

We should upgrade all the asteroids to 64-bit so they can pass at a safe distance.

We definitely don't want the next asteroid to be the exception.

Re: Lucky! (1)

eyegone (644831) | about a year ago | (#43953547)

Yeah. Just imagine the stack trace!

Miles (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43951511)

Please stop it for once and for all, lengths in fingers, feet, thumbs, elbows, fathems, whatever. Internet is international, please don't use these clown units that are a remnant of the Dark Ages, but just internationally accepted standard units.

Re: Miles (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43951911)

The internet is purely a U.S. invention (al gore is sure of it). If the rest of the world wants to play with dirty french contrivances that have no usefulness except to move a decimal point, go ahead.
If you aren't using base 2, 8, or 12 in your daily life, you are probably not accomplishing anything except theoretical physics, that is to say, nothing.

Re: Miles (1)

dadelbunts (1727498) | about a year ago | (#43952369)

Lets also not forget that space sciences use non metric units all the time. A light year and an AU are definately not metric and used all the time, but these metric loving hippies love to leave them out.

Is it my imagination? (2)

stevegee58 (1179505) | about a year ago | (#43951529)

Is it my imagination or are there more of these near-Earth rocks coming our way?
Or are they just being reported more? Or is the detection network more effective?

Re:Is it my imagination? (2)

DrVxD (184537) | about a year ago | (#43952509)

Detection is more efficient; reporting is WAY more efficient.

Tasmania is an ocean? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43951713)

That is all.

By no threat I'm guessing they mean (1)

NotSoHeavyD3 (1400425) | about a year ago | (#43951865)

That even if it hit earth it'd only send down some fragments that would only do damage if it actually hit you. (I mean they mention it was smaller than that Russian a little bit ago and that didn't really do much to the earth.) Actually here's a calculator that will let you put in some numbers. (Which pretty much agrees it'd only be a big deal if one of the fragments actually hit you directly.) http://impact.ese.ic.ac.uk/ImpactEffects/ [ic.ac.uk]

Seems to be happening more often (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43952295)

This sort of thing seems to be happening more regularly. That could of course be a result of better science and math allowing us to track the asteroids more accurately.

I prefer to think that the Martians have decided there isn't any hope left for us.

but obama is still here (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43953373)

but obama is still here...let me know when he passes.....

Tasmania, Australia is not a Southern Ocean (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about a year ago | (#43954259)

Another wonderful job by Slashdot's illiterate editing crew.

Re:Tasmania, Australia is not a Southern Ocean (1)

Master Moose (1243274) | about a year ago | (#43955237)

To be fair, this is a US centric site, so to be that geographically close is to be commended

despite!? (2)

danlip (737336) | about a year ago | (#43956101)

Despite being more than half the size of the one that exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia in February, the 30-foot-wide asteroid posed no threat, according to NASA.

So despite being smaller than something that actually hit earth and did no significant damage, it posed no threat? Wow, that is sure surprising! Who writes this shit?

Re:despite!? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#43959031)

After watching a grand piano fall on someone, would you be particularly concerned about having half a grand piano fall on you?

Re:despite!? (1)

metaforest (685350) | about a year ago | (#43967865)

>> After watching a grand piano fall on someone, would you be particularly concerned about an upright piano falling on you?

FTFY

Southern Ocean of Tasmania??? (1)

Absolutely.Geek (2913529) | about a year ago | (#43968505)

Serriously WTF, as a Kiwi (New Zealander) I know that the Southern Ocean is a fairly large body of water....Tasmaina happens to be in said ocean....."of" is really a bit of a stretch.

So, Earthlings, how's that space program doing? (1)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | about a year ago | (#43970233)

You say you *want* to remain on a single lump of rock?

HAHAHAHA!!!!

(translated from the Glertish)

So much for early detection system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43982531)

So much for early detection system

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