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Showing posts with label Commentary. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Commentary. Show all posts

Oct 28, 2019

The 2019 UB8 2019-10-29 Flyby! How Close? Is Close?

(2019 UB8) approximate (0.50 LD) flyby distance from Earth
This image adapted by Steven M Tilley from the image the original
Earth-Moon.png by Nickshanks
 under licensed under the
Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic license
Tonight(2019-Oct-28/29) the NEO 2019 UB8 (4.4 m - 9.7 m) will do a flyby(A.K.A NEO Earth Close Approaches) of a Nominal Distance of 0.50 LD (0.00127 AU) ~191,000 KM (~ 119,000 miles). Sorting by nominal distance, this close approach is listed in the top 270 of 22,500+ entries in JPL's close approach database. (As of 2019-Oct-28) Flybys within one LD are quite common from what we "know" NEOs flybys within one LD a few times every week or so.

If  the Earth was the size of a basketball  how far would the Moon be?
What is Close

Close is a relative term. "Close" to a major sports venue is not the same as "close" to the ER. If one were to think of a basketball-size Earth, it may in understanding what is "close" and what is "far." In this, basketball-size Earth system, the ISS would be at ~0.76 CM (0.3 inches); we had NEO Flybys at 10.35 CM (4.1 inches) [ 2011 CQ1 on 2011-Feb-04] before. The Moon would range from ~673.41 CM (~22.0 Ft) to ~753.81 CM (~24.7 Ft). 2019 UB8 will be ~347.62 CM (~11.4 Ft) from the basketball. To see 2019 UB8 tonight, check out the Virtual Telescope Project.

Sep 25, 2016

An Asteroid as Entered the Blogosphere… Should I Be Worried?

A commentary by Steven M. Tilley

The Asteroid to Earth "Say out my Way!!!!"
Earth to the Asteroid "Watch where you're going ... fool!!!"
 Image edited by Steven M. Tilley
(Disclaimer --  Earth and
asteroids CAN NOT talk)
 see the original (public domain) image
Planetoid crashing into primordial Earth  at
 Donald Davis' official site
About every few month or so an asteroid makes waves online.  This lead some people to panic. Before anyone panics and does something dumb. One should remember one of the secrets to life, breathe, in and out. Then remember anyone can post anything online. Some sources are better than others when it comes to asteroid information. Sources range from very useful to worse than useless.

First check for reliable information from some of the reliable sources such as the Minor Planet Center, NASA NEO Program Office at JPL, ESA's NEODyS (Near Earth Objects Dynamic Site), or The Tracking News.  The writer of this blog post is aware that are many people in the blogosphere who distrusts one or more of the name reliable sources.  The author suggests that they reexamine their stand. A significant number of individuals and organizations from around the world observe asteroids; these observations serve as a cross check. If someone or a group makes an error, the error would soon come to light with more observations. If there is nothing about the asteroid  from the name from reliable sources most likely, the story probably is wrong. 

Another thing to remember as a story moves through the blogosphere it changes like the "telephone game." The original story is misread, poorly translated, misunderstood, etc. then rewritten by other writers with the wrong information.  Then other writers then use the revised story as a source for new stories adding to the madness. One should seek out the original story(and see if it is reliable).

When reading up ( and writing) about asteroids one should know the limits of one's knowledge base.  Some of bloggers and youtbers out there go way outside of their knowledge base; they think they "know" when they don't  "know."  The problem is many people mistakenly repost "wrong" blog posts(and videos) adding to the madness. Just because something has been shared, many times does not make it true.

It should be stated that no post is complete without a "good" headline and an image to hook readers. Many times the picture is wrong, and the headline is highly misleading.  It takes lots of time to find a picture of the asteroid or use a telescope to image the asteroid in question.  This requirement of time will lead many writers to find any old image of any old asteroid. Many times if the author used a real picture of the asteroid internet users would not click.

Finally one should keep studying about asteroid there so much to know. One should not be afraid seeking good answers to questions. Just look for good sources of information.