Friday, February 15, 2013

Asteroid miss, Meteor hits (data)

Close call? Kind of, as asteroid hurtles past Earth

At its closest, Asteroid DA14 half the size of a football field flying at nearly 17,500 mph passed within 17,100 miles of Earth.
However, if, by chance, it did hit? The fallout would be devastating.

The asteroid would have crashed with the equivalent of 2.4 million tons of dynamite, creating a disaster of regional proportions similar to the 1908 asteroid explosion over Tunguska, Siberia, which flattened 750 square miles of forest.

The Russian meteor, likely about 49 feet wide and travelling at 40,000 miles-per-hour; Russia said 985 people sought medical care after the shock wave; 48 were hospitalized, mostly because of injuries caused by flying glass.

Meteors the size of the Russian one hit Earth every few years, Binzel says, but hit land near inhabited places much less often.

"These are two events separated by almost 24 hours, so it is unlikely they are connected"

Let's put the data into a perspective:

Earth's Diameter at the Equator: 7,926.28 miles (12,756.1 km).
So the asteroid was about 2 diameters of the Earth away.

The distance from Earth to Moon is 238,855 miles;
That is 30 times the distance of the Asteroid that flew by.

The distance of International Space Station to Earth is about 205 miles (330 km)
That is 38 times closer than the Asteroid.

Cruising altitude of airplanes is about 6 and 7 miles high.
The Asteroid was more than 1000 times far away than airplanes are...

So the Asteroid was relatively far away in human dimensions (vs. airplanes or ISS),
but relatively close in cosmic dimensions (compared to Moon).

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