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Old 17 April 2018, 11:35 AM
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Icon22 Earth Has Near Miss With Asteroid Spotted Just Hours Earlier

An asteroid came alarmingly close to striking the Earth on April 15, just hours after the large space rock was spotted flying through the solar system.

http://denver.cbslocal.com/2018/04/1...eroid-reports/
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Old 17 April 2018, 04:08 PM
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... passed within 119,500 miles of the Earth around 2:41 a.m. Eastern Time on Sunday morning. While it doesn’t sound like a short distance, 2018 GE3 was twice as close to the Earth as the moon is, which has an average orbit of 238,900 miles away.
"twice as close"? That is downright wrong. It was about "half as far".

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The “medium-sized” space object is reportedly over three times the size of a meteor that entered the atmosphere over Russia in 2013
That is size statement is useless. Does the author mean the longest dimension was 3x the previous asteroid's? That is bigger of course, but if it is the maximum dimension then the mass (much more important than the dimension) would be 9x the Russian asteroid. Or does it mean the mass was 3x.
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Old 18 April 2018, 01:48 AM
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True. I don't think they have a mass for it yet (?) so this should be diameter estimated from brightness. Maybe they didn't think the readers would understand diameter. It's hard to say what's the most "useful" measure here though.
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Old 18 April 2018, 02:46 AM
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Originally Posted by ganzfeld View Post
True. I don't think they have a mass for it yet (?) so this should be diameter estimated from brightness. Maybe they didn't think the readers would understand diameter. It's hard to say what's the most "useful" measure here though.
Even without knowing the reflectivity of the object the brightness would be proportional to the cross sectional area. So the estimated length is calculable, as is the volume. At least to a first approximation. The most useful measure is the mass since it is mass*velocity^2 that would define the destructive power if it actual hit earth.

Last edited by jimmy101_again; 18 April 2018 at 02:48 AM. Reason: velocty squared
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Old 18 April 2018, 03:54 AM
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I don't think the power released is very useful for most people though. The largest known impact in our lifetimes, Chelyabinsk, released the energy of a powerful nuclear weapon (20 or 30 times the first atomic bomb used in war). It did not, of course, cause similar destruction.

I think diameter is fine. Just say diameter instead of size, in my editorial opinion. (It's not useful, just info. But there's nothing useful about this news anyway without a metric tonne of other info about other things.)
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Old 18 April 2018, 01:41 PM
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There is something useful about the news: the asteroid missed.
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Old 18 April 2018, 01:50 PM
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Not seeing how that info could be used for any purpose.
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Old 18 April 2018, 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by NobleHunter View Post
There is something useful about the news: the asteroid missed.
This time ...

~Psihala
(*"I'll get you, my pretties! And your little dog, too!")
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Old 18 April 2018, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by ganzfeld View Post
Not seeing how that info could be used for any purpose.
It can be used for the purpose of deciding whether or not to act.

I'm not sure how phrase this but in some cases negative news is only useful in that positive news would be extremely useful.
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Old 18 April 2018, 07:16 PM
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Originally Posted by ganzfeld View Post
Not seeing how that info could be used for any purpose.
An asteroid missed. If we know the size and velocity we can estimate how much damage it would have done if it hit. This is the second "surprise" visit in what 3 years? It has significant impact on if we fund an effort to detect these objects before they sneak up and hit us in the back of the head.
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Old 18 April 2018, 11:10 PM
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I get what you're saying but previously undetected objects of this size pass relatively close (although not this close) all the time - dozens a year. That's the useful news but it isn't really being reported in the news. (NASA reports these with diameter, FWIW.) If you mean 'useful' in the sense that one this close might start that conversation then, yes, I agree.

One question is whether the effort to detect objects of this size would really be worth it with current technology. We might get a few extra days of panic but there's nothing that could be done. (Shelters?) To be useful, we would really need way better detection and tracking than we have - similar to what we do for space junk around Earth.
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Old 19 April 2018, 04:59 PM
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Originally Posted by ganzfeld View Post
We might get a few extra days of panic but there's nothing that could be done.
What do you mean, "nothing that could be done"? We could always send Bruce Willis and Steve Buscemi up in a rocket to blow it up!
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Old 19 April 2018, 05:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ganzfeld View Post
I get what you're saying but previously undetected objects of this size pass relatively close (although not this close) all the time - dozens a year. That's the useful news but it isn't really being reported in the news. (NASA reports these with diameter, FWIW.) If you mean 'useful' in the sense that one this close might start that conversation then, yes, I agree.

One question is whether the effort to detect objects of this size would really be worth it with current technology. We might get a few extra days of panic but there's nothing that could be done. (Shelters?) To be useful, we would really need way better detection and tracking than we have - similar to what we do for space junk around Earth.
For a rock of this size, if we could figure out where it was going to hit then a few days would be useful. A lot of people could be moved out of the impact zone or to higher ground to avoid tsunamis. Even for bigger rocks, food could be gathered or sequestered to best support the remnant population. Though I'm doubtful most governments would be capable of the necessary effective action.
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Old 19 April 2018, 07:14 PM
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Well, sure, if we could. But that is why "a rock is about to hit spot X" could be useful info whereas "a rock just missed us by that much" is not really.
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Old 19 April 2018, 07:34 PM
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Enough "Rocks keep whizzing by our heads" stories might lead to a general thought of "one may not" that would push us towards doing something about it.
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