Saturday, June 25, 2011
Asteroid to pass dangerously close to Earth June 27, 2011
Small asteroid to whip past Earth June 27
At closest approach, the asteroid will pass only 7,500 miles (12,000 km) above Earth's surface.
Near-Earth asteroid 2011 MD will pass only 7,500 miles (12,000 kilometers) above Earth's surface Monday, June 27, at about 9:30 a.m. EDT. The asteroid was discovered by the LINEAR near-Earth object discovery team observing from Socorro, New Mexico.
The top diagram shows the trajectory of 2011 MD projected onto Earth's orbital plane over a 4-day interval. The diagram below it gives another view from the general direction of the Sun that indicates that 2011 MD will reach its closest Earth approach point in extreme southern latitudes (in fact, over the southern Atlantic Ocean).
This small asteroid, only between 15 and 65 feet (5 and 20 meters) in diameter, is in a very earthlike orbit about the Sun, but an orbital analysis indicates there is no chance it will actually strike Earth on Monday. The incoming trajectory leg passes several thousand kilometers outside the geosynchronous ring of satellites and the outgoing leg passes well inside the ring. One would expect an object of this size to come this close to Earth about every 6 years on average. For a brief time, it will be bright enough to be seen even with a modest-sized telescope.
For more observing information for asteroid 2011 MD, visit the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center website.
Note: Let me play "Chicken Little" for one moment. This could explain all the fireball/meteor activity of late, yet how can they say that *asteroid 2011 MD* will miss us, when there are so many uncertainties?
If there were to be an impact, the ocean is definitely my choice but the ensuing Tsunami would be catastrophic!