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Old 2013-03-07, 01:30   #1
Uncwilly
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Exclamation Duck and cover, the sky is falling!

Ok, for those of you that may or may not be keeping score....
This year is shaping up to be a profound year in the heavens above:
*First, most of your heard about asteroid 2012 DA14 (this is the one that came closer to Earth than the geosync sats.)
*On that same day there was the Russian meteor (it was an asteroid before it hit the atmosphere)
*Over the weekend there was an asteroid discovered on the Sat 3/2 that flew by about as far away as the moon the next day.
*Now asteroid 2013 ET was discovered on 3/3. On 3/9 it will whiz by at 2.5 lunar distances.
*The comet you may hear called PANSTARRS (2011 L4) will start to become visible in the Northern Hemisphere this weekend near sunset. It should put on a good show as March goes on.
--Check out this picture taken 3/3 with TWO comets in the same photo
*Near the end of the year Comet ISON (2012 S1) is likely to be the best any of you will ever see. If projections hold true, it could be the best comet in recorded history!
*And for one more: On Jan. 3, comet 2013 A1 (the first discovered in the first part of 2013) was discovered. It may become visible in 2014. But, -as of today-, there is a 1 in 600 chance that it may hit Mars on Oct 19, 2014. Almost certainly it will get closer to Mars than the Moon does to Earth. It is likely to come about 2x as close to Mars as one of its moons.

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Old 2013-03-07, 02:14   #2
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2 link about the last meteor
http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astro...ober_2014.html
http://www.planetary.org/blogs/emily...ower-mars.html
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Old 2013-03-07, 06:42   #3
Uncwilly
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firejuggler View Post
2 link about the last meteor[sic]
I hope that comet hits Mars and that both the landers (and the various sats) can provide data.
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Old 2013-03-07, 09:50   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncwilly View Post
*Over the weekend there was an asteroid discovered on the Sat 3/2 that flew by about as far away as the moon the next day.
That asteroid is called "2013 EC": http://www.universetoday.com/100440/...-march-4-2013/

Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncwilly View Post
*Near the end of the year Comet ISON (2012 S1) is likely to be the best any of you will ever see. If projections hold true, it could be the best comet in recorded history!
The best comet any of us will ever see, but not the best you will ever see?

Last fiddled with by ATH on 2013-03-07 at 09:51
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Old 2013-03-07, 09:59   #5
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That's a very impressive list, all occurring within such a short space of time. Some of the items were unknown to me, including the comet which will pass extremely close by Mars or, with a tiny probability, impact there.

It leaves me wondering how unusual such a line-up for a twelve month period actually is from an astronomical perspective, and how much the effect is due to our now vastly improved observing techniques (before which the close fly-bys and the less spectacular comets would have gone unnoticed) and the increased human population (before which more objects which impact Earth would go unnoticed, or not be reported to the rest of the world, than do now).
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Old 2013-03-07, 18:00   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian-E View Post
It leaves me wondering how unusual such a line-up for a twelve month period actually is from an astronomical perspective, and how much the effect is due to our now vastly improved observing techniques (before which the close fly-bys and the less spectacular comets would have gone unnoticed) and the increased human population (before which more objects which impact Earth would go unnoticed, or not be reported to the rest of the world, than do now).
Exactly - as with headlines about "soaring cancer rates", is the rate really higher or have we just gotten better at detecting things?

I do hope the ballyhooed comet really does live up to the hype, though - I thought Hale-Bopp was a once-in-a-lifetimer already. Now I just need to see a daytime-visible supernova and I can die happy.
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Old 2013-03-07, 18:28   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ewmayer View Post
Now I just need to see a daytime-visible supernova and I can die happy.
All we need is a way to make the sun go nova and you'll have all three.

Last fiddled with by ewmayer on 2013-03-07 at 19:23 Reason: I said "super", not "regular"
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Old 2013-03-07, 19:13   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akruppa View Post
All we need is a way to make the sun go nova and you'll have all three.
Nova is hard for technical reasons. Supernova is also possible in principle but also beyond current technology.

A nova consists of a binary, one of which is a white dwarf accreting the outer layers of a main sequence star. To make the sun go nova you'd have to find a white dwarf, the nearest of which is believed to be 8.6 light years away, and tow it into very close orbit around the sun. It's not obvious to me that it would be easier to make one from one from the obvious candidates and then tow it approximately half the distance.

Right now I can't think of a (relatively) easy way of making the sun go supernova. Dumping a neutron star into it might work but it would need careful control of the impact parameter. And where would you find a convenient neutron star and how would you bring it into this neck of the woods?

Sterilising the inner solar system is relatively easy by comparison. A few hundred comets or asteroids fitted with rocket motors should do the job nicely.

Last fiddled with by xilman on 2013-03-07 at 19:15 Reason: Add rhetorical question
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Old 2013-03-07, 22:48   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xilman View Post
Nova is hard for technical reasons. Supernova is also possible in principle but also beyond current technology.
As my Spanish-speaking compadres say, "Esa idea no va."
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Old 2013-03-09, 02:08   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian-E View Post
It leaves me wondering how unusual such a line-up for a twelve month period actually is from an astronomical perspective, and how much the effect is due to our now vastly improved observing techniques (before which the close fly-bys and the less spectacular comets would have gone unnoticed) and the increased human population (before which more objects which impact Earth would go unnoticed, or not be reported to the rest of the world, than do now).
"Newly Found Asteroid to Pass Within Moon’s Orbit on March 4, 2013"
http://www.universetoday.com/100440/...-march-4-2013/
Quote:
. . .

“That we are finding all these asteroids recently does not mean that we are being visited by more asteroids,” Masi said during the webcast, “just that our ability to detect them has gotten so much better. Our technology has improved a lot over the past decades.”

. . .
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Old 2013-03-10, 06:10   #11
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2 More close visits:

Asteroid 2013 EC 20 passed just 93,000 miles (~0.4x lunar distance) away on Saturday.
On Sunday, Asteroid 2013 EN 20 will fly about 279,000 miles from Earth (~1.2x lunar distance). Both were discovered just three days ago.

Starting to feel like this?

Last fiddled with by Uncwilly on 2013-03-10 at 06:14
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