Free Newsletters - Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear
by Staff Writers
Moscow (Voice of Russia) Feb 20, 2014
A massive asteroid is scheduled to make its way past Earth Monday night. Scientists advise it will not make contact with our planet, while amateur astronomers will be able to watch its flight online.
The space-rock known officially as 2000 EM26 passed over Earth Monday night at 02:00 GMT February 18 (21:00 EST). Scientists estimated that it was 270 meters (885 feet) in diameter, roughly equivalent to three football fields, and soared through the stars at a whopping 12.37 km/s (27,000 mph).
At its closest point, the asteroid was approximately 8.8 lunar distances from the Earth's surface. One lunar distance is roughly 383,022.92 kilometers (238,000 miles), meaning asteroid 2000 EM26 was a mere 3,370,601.696 kilometers (2,094,400 miles) away.
"We continue to discover these potentially hazardous asteroids - sometimes only days before they make their close approaches to Earth," wrote Slooh's technical and researcher Paul Cox in a statement Monday. "Slooh's asteroid research campaign is gathering momentum with Slooh members using the Slooh robotic telescopes to monitor this huge population of potentially hazardous space rocks. We need to find them before they find us!"
Coincidentally, the fly-by comes almost one year to the day after a much smaller asteroid exploded in the sky above Chelyabinsk, Russia. The 65-foot rock exploded 18 miles above the ground, but Slooh officials said the energy released was equivalent to 20 atom bomb explosions. The concussion alone was enough to damage thousands of buildings and leave more than 1,000 injured by broken glass.
Another astrological event from 1908 lives on in myth as much as it does in science books. What is thought to have been an asteroid or comet exploded in the air above the Podkamennaya Tunguska River near what is now Krasnoyarsk Krai in the Siberian region of Russia.
The blast is classified as the largest impact event on or near Earth in recorded history and its mysterious cause has partly contributed to the massive number of research papers, over 1,000, to focus on the event.
"On a practical level, previously-unknown, undiscovered asteroid seems to hit our planet and cause damage or injury once a century or so, as we witnessed on June 20, 1908 and February 15, 2013," astronomer Bob Berman told Slooh.
"Every few centuries, an even more massive asteroid strikes us - fortunately usually impacting in an ocean or wasteland such as Antarctica. But the ongoing threat, and the fact that biosphere-altering events remain a real if small annual possibility, suggests that discovering and tracking all [near Earth objects], as well as setting up contingency plans for deflecting them on short notice should the need arise, would be a wise use of resources."
Source: Voice of Russia
Asteroid and Comet Mission News, Science and Technology
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.|