Oct 11, 2017

The Flyby By a "Astronomical Yard" of 2012 TC4

On 2017 October 12, the asteroid 2012 TC4 will flyby the Earth. This flyby has received a great deal of coverage in the media. When comes to media coverage of any asteroid flybys one of the most overused expressions is "close shave." Anyone who ever had to shave for work knows what a close shave is and what one is not. By comparing the solar system to the known universe, Pluto would be a "close shave" astronomically speaking. However, the subject at hand is the flyby of the Earth by an asteroid, therefor the Earth may serve a useful point of comparison.

If one wishes to simplify the matter, one could create a scale model of the Earth by way of a spreadsheet. If, one uses a ball with a diameter of 29.21 cm (11.5 inches) [this happen to be same as the as the length of a football ball(American)] to represent the Earth:

  • A CM would be 436.2204724 KM, an inch would be 1108 KM.
  • The International Space Station would be 9.2 mm away.
  • Geosynchronous orbit would be 820.4 mm, 0.8204 m, or 0.8972 yards
  • 2012 TC4 Nominal Distance(JPL)[2017-Oct-10] would be 1003.6 mm, 1.0036 m, or 1.0976 yards
  • Light-second would be 6872.5 mm, 6.8725 m, or 7.5159 yards
  • Lunar distance would be 8666.1 mm, 8.6661 m, or 9.4773 yards.
It should be noted since the start of The 2012 TC4 Observing Campaign the orbital uncertainty has been dramatically reduced. This many of made much of media coverage in the blogosphere out of date.
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