The whole asteroid thing!
There have been some pretty amazing things going on with asteroids the past couple of days, namely the passing of Asteroid 2012 DA14 and the Russian Meteor Event. But they were completely unrelated! Here is an excellent infographic for you (click to make bigger):
We weren’t going to be seeing that little 50-foot asteroid coming at us from Sun-ward… The Sun is the most powerful gravitational slingshot in the Solar System but if we know the trajectories of ALL little rocks in the Solar System, then we could know a bit more. But it will take a LOT of observing time to see them… These little ones (like the Russian one) are VERY difficult to see, I just don’t see us catching them all but we can sure try :) I think we just need a big force field ;)
Here are some of my favorite posts about the Russian event:
- Reconstructing the Chelyabinsk meteor’s path, with Google Earth, YouTube and high-school math by Stefan Geens
- I really like his animated GIF – check it out! This is the kind of back-of-the-envelope calculation my undergrad astrophysics professor (who loved back-of-the-envelope calculations) said that Russian scientists did to figure out the power of the first atomic bomb (because the US released time-stamped images)
- From Phil Plait’s Bad Astronomy blog (he’s now a writer but does have a Ph.D. in astrophysics and was a professor) – he has some excellent links (well-vetted)