Monday, July 03, 2006

Close Miss

Well, we've all survived the night and we probably didn't even know we were in danger. Asteroid 2004 XP14 passed closest to Earth last night - shortly after midnight Eastern Time - and is now moving further from our orbit.

I'm always amused that some people actually worry about things. If it had hit it would have created a crater about 20-30 miles in diameter. Yes, that's a big crater. But, compared to the size of the Earth, it's a tiny speck. The likelihood it's going to hit in any particular place is miniscule. I'm not up to doing the math on the probability of that, but lets just say it's minimal and leave it at that.

So, see, you have even more to be thankful for today and you didn't even know about it.

But, hey, mark your calendars for April of 2029, when Asteroid 99942 Apophis is expected to be visible in Asia and North Africa. It's huge - about 1000 feet wide - and will pass within 20,000 miles of Earth. In orbit terms that's like your next door neighbor's deck. Ones that big only come that close to Earth about once every 1,500 years. But, Apophis will likely be making another trip in about 2036.

So, depending on your approach to life, either chalk it up to oddities or start laying in the canned goods.

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