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Asteroid to swing by today! March 2, 2009

Posted by baldricman in astronomy, General, News.
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I just found this great piece of news (actually, its pretty boring if you know about this stuff, but heck, I thought I’d sensationalise it a bit, eh wot?), so I thought I’d share it with you.

At 13:44 UTC 2nd March (that’s today), a small asteroid designated 2009 DD45 (small, but still bigger than its bra-size namesake) will buzz by at a mere 0.00047 AU’s (astronomical unit) from us. That is, about 63500 kms or so. Now that may seem quite far (and it certainly isn’t anything to worry about), but what I thought was extra cool, was that that is well within our moon’s orbit! As another reference, that is roughly twice the altitude of most communication satellites. Or, about 5 Earth’s next to each other (if my dubious arithmetic holds)

Its certainly not the closest shave we’ve had (the closest recorded “buzz” I could find was about 6600 kms or so). However, more importantly, its worth noting/remembering that Earth gets hit by these things all the time. Just last October, a little beastie “no bigger than a car” landed gracefully somewhere in Sudan… read about it here.

Apparently it would be visible through a semi-decent backyard telescope, but its brightest point (magnitude 10.5) is somewhere over the Pacific, making it tougher for most of us. (That, and you’ve got to know where to look – due to it’s close proximity to earth and the resulting error of parallax, this is quite specific)

All in all, I’m a little disappointed that I’ve had to step in here, as the media in general has this time, for some reason, not decided to cause widespread panic about it. Oh well, better luck next time….

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Comments»

1. Allen - March 4, 2009

Here’s one that was even closer – it grazed the atmosphere and was “About the size of a truck”!

http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap090302.html

baldricman - March 4, 2009

Wow, thanks for stopping by, thats a seriously cool picture 🙂


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