Posts Tagged ‘NASA’

Asteroid 2012 DA14 will not impact Earth

January 11, 2013 Leave a comment

da14orbitWritten by Leslie Haze of

It seems these days any information regarding an announcement of a Near Earth Asteroid (NEA) coming remotely close to Earth spirals out of control within minutes on the internet by “doomsday prophets”. It is inevitable. What they fail to recognize or report are the facts or truth. No research is done and the doomsday prophets immediately go into internet viral mode. It is unfortunate for the doomsayers because it will only add one more failed prediction to their rapidly infinite list of crock predictions. These tiresome predictions only confirm their idiocy.

Asteroid 2012 DA14 is a moderate asteroid classified 0 (No Hazard) on the Torino scale. This means no threat to Earth. This statement of course has no bearing for conspirators. This is not enough evidence to prove to someone who is unconvinced. Here I will explain how if the asteroid made impact with Earth, it would be so miniscule it would embarrass your dog. How could I possibly know this? Simple research of facts with side by side comparisons of similar asteroids. If you claim to be a “seeker of TRUTH” keep reading or you may stop now if you are looking for more hyped up disinformation.

Asteroid 2012 DA14 is only 45 meters or 148 feet in diameter. About the size of a commercial airliner. If the asteroid made it into Earth’s atmosphere it would most likely disintegrate some kilometers above the ground in a large explosion, which if it occurred over a populated area, would cause severe personal and structural damage. What does that mean? Anything 75 meters or less in diameter would not survive intact during its passage through our atmosphere.

Hypothetically let’s say DA14 miraculously didn’t disintegrate while entering the Earth’s atmosphere or was more than 75 meters in diameter. Let’s compare DA14 with the the Barringer Crater in Arizona. The meteorite that impacted here was a rare Type M made of metallic iron and was only 50 meters in diameter. This is the measurement after most of it burned up in the atmosphere. The Barringer Crater is 1,200 m (4,000 ft) in diameter, some 170 m deep (570 ft). Since the Barringer Crater meteorite was made of metallic iron (Type M) the impact caused far more damage because it was so heavy. Still it hardly produced an Extinction Level Event (ELE). (Please note there are 3 classifications of asteroids.)

It is estimated that more than 75% of all asteroids in the solar system are carbonaceous (Type C). Type C asteroids are asteroids made of carbonates. Composition is thought to be similar to the Sun, depleted in hydrogen, helium, and other volatiles. Type C asteroids inhabit the main belt’s outer regions, where as Type M is metallic Iron. The likelihood of DA14 being a Type M is 1% and the likelihood of a Type M actually impacting Earth makes the odds even less. On top of this, the likelihood of DA14 hitting a populated area makes it slim to none. You would have a better chance of winning the lottery. To give you a better understanding it would be like comparing a bowling ball (Type M) to a volleyball (Type C). Type C asteroids are much lighter and less destructive. Since Type C asteroids are less dense, they have a greater probability of breaking up into hundreds of pieces as they enter the atmosphere. Coincidentally the asteroid that created the Barringer Crater, even being a Type M, broke up before impact as well.

If asteroid DA14 were to enter Earth’s atmosphere on Feb 15, 2013 the explosion would produce the equivalent of 2.4 megatons of TNT. The asteroid that created the Barringer Crater had an impact energy estimated at about 10 megatons. That is about a 1/4 of what DA14 is estimated. Let’s say our calculations are off and it makes it into Earth’s atmosphere. Based on the facts given, DA14 would probably destroy a small neighborhood if it even were to explode above a populated area which is less likely than likely. The Earth is about 75% water and only 3% of land surface is covered by populated urban areas according to GRUMP data-sets. This means there is about a 3% chance the asteroid would explode near a populated area.

Based on all the facts given, even if DA14 was miraculously made of metallic iron we can see by comparing the Barringer Crater this would be the maximum damage. (Note: the Barringer Asteroid was much larger before it entered Earth’s atmosphere.) The damage it caused was nowhere near being an Extention Level Event. Sorry to disappoint anyone.

Asteroid 2012 DA14 will also not be visible to the naked eye. Also according to NASA/JPL there is an estimated cumulative 0.033% risk (1 in 3,030) of 2012 DA14 impacting Earth sometime between 2026 and 2069. There is an estimated cumulative 0.00018% risk (1 in 556,000) of 2012 DA14 impacting Earth sometime between 2078 and 2111.

So, to sum up:

  • The asteroid will not impact Earth on February 15, 2013.
  • There is an estimated cumulative 0.00018% risk (1 in 556,000) of 2012 DA14 impacting Earth sometime between 2078 and 2111.
  • It is rated a low −5.78 on the Palermo Scale. (The risk is less than 1/500000 of the estimated risk of another similarly sized near earth asteroid hitting Earth during that time period. It is estimated that there are more than a million near-Earth asteroids smaller than 100 meters.)
  • It rates 0 (No Hazard) on the Torino scale.
  • If it were to hit Earth, it is estimated that it would produce the equivalent of 2.4 megatons of TNT. The Tunguska event has been estimated at 3−20 megatons.
  • In 2012 there was a cumulative 0.033% risk (1 in 3,030) of 2012 DA14 impacting Earth sometime between 2026 and 2069. In 2012 it was also known that the asteroid would pass no closer to Earth’s surface than 3.2 Earth radii.

Cosmophobia – An unreasoning fear of the cosmos

January 5, 2013 Leave a comment

Now that 2012 is behind us and all of the doomsday predictions of December 21st failed, Bill Hudson (a.k.a. ‘Astrogeek’) founder of the website has created a new site for 2013 and beyond. Dealing with yet more doomsday predictions that are already in full swing on numerous conspiracy websites, fears from comet impacts to rogue planets, this is Cosmophobia.What the heck is “Cosmophobia”? You may be wondering:

Astronomer David Morrison, Senior scientist with the NASA Lunar Science Institute, coined the term ‘cosmophobia’ after answering questions at the NASA “Ask an Astrobiologist” page. He defined it as “An unreasoning fear of the cosmos”, and created a short list of items that people are worried about.

A presentation at the Astronomical Society of the Pacific’s annual meeting in Tuscon in August 2012 was titled “Doomsday 2012 and Cosmophobia: Challenges and Opportunities for Science Communication” and is available for viewing via NASA’s website.

This site grew out of the 2012hoax website, at the end of 2012. It was felt that despite the fact that 2012 had ended without the various predictions of doom and destruction the resources gathered under the 2012hoax website would still be necessary in the future. Many of the predictions made about 2012 originated well before 2012, and would continue to be claimed well after 2012.

This site will deal with various claims that invoke ‘cosmophobia’, where the fear factor is pumped up in claims in order to make something fairly mundane sound sinister and threatening. In addition to claims made about astronomy, we will also look into claims touching on other fields of science such as geology and vulcanology. We will approach all claims from a perspective of skeptical inquiry. The claimant must provide evidence that supports their claims, and extraordinary claims will require extraordinary evidence.

The Cosmophobia website:
The Cosmophobia discussion board:
The Cosmophobia Facebook Group:

The Truth About Comet Elenin

August 23, 2011 Leave a comment


The black boxes in Google Sky, WikiSky, and Microsoft World-Wide Telescope are not ‘censored’ by NASA

December 3, 2010 5 comments



Much is made of the fact that there is a blank region in Orion that appears on Google Sky, WikiSky and Microsoft WorldWide Telescope. The region in question can be seen here.

What is it?

The presence of the blank square is undeniable. So, why is it there? Why is approximately the same region being ‘censored’ by three major online planetarium programs? Did the Men In Black come knocking on Google’s door?

The truth of the matter is far more mundane.


The images that make up the visual portion of these online planetarium sites are all from the same source… the DSS (Digitized Sky Survey). The original DSS1 was a high-resolution scan (digitization) of photographic plates. For the northern sky, a 1958 sky survey from the Palomar Observatory2 was the source. For the Southern skies, Southern Sky Atlas and its Equatorial Extension (together known as the SERC-J) and the southern Galactic Plane survey (SERC-V), from the UK Schmidt Telescope at Anglo-Australian Observatory, were used.

The so-called ‘missing’ block comes from the Palomar data.

Wait, when did you say?

1958. The base data that appears in Google Sky, WikiSky and Microsoft World-Wide Telescope is from 1958. These programs are augmented with other data sources, but the block appears in the DSS data.

So, this means that the conspiracy theorists would have you believe that NASA and other branches of the government are trying to hide something in data that is 52 years old3.

Why is there a “blacked out” square?

Ah, but is there a ‘blacked out’ square? As it turns out, no. That one block of data has some apparent issues, since it drops out of the interface of three different online planetarium programs. However, it is possible to directly query the data from the original source, the Space Science Telescope Institute. This is the source used in the video below.


Here is a good video on YouTube debunking the ‘censorship’ claim by EvilSpork29 titled “Debunking: Google SkyView, WikiSky & WorldWide Telescope Cover-up & Conspiracy Theory”[1]. The author takes you through step by step, and shows you exactly where to get the ‘missing’ data.

An astute reader points out that a fourth online planetarium does not have a blank square in this area, and that is SkyMap. In fact, you can see ‘behind the square’ at this link.

Imperfect Data

In addition to all of the other objections, the idea that the DSS data had to be edited fails on another count. The data are not perfect. This is an implied property where people imply that NASA wouldn’t publish these images with errors in them. The fact of the matter is that the DSS imagery have all kinds of image artifacts.

Go back to the link to google sky, and zoom out until you see the stars in Orion and Sirius. Once you have these, look for a round blue object between Sirius and Orion, sitting just above Sirius, and zoom in on it, until you see this.

That is the underside of the telescope at Palomar. It is an image that appears on the original photographic plates, and is a result of a double-exposure or light leak onto the plate. The plate was not discarded because it was felt that the data was not obscured enough, and was too valuable to discard. There are several of these in the DSS data, along with some other interesting imaging artifacts.

The telescope imaging process introduced certain artifacts into the plates such as varying levels of brightness, noise, and color saturation, as well as vignetting: a darkening of the edges and the corners of each plate, which needed correction in order to generate a clear and seamless image. Terapixel programmatically removed these anomalies, stitched and smoothed images, and then created image pyramids for visualization in WorldWide Telescope (WWT). [2]


Even if we were to believe the conspiracy theorists who claim that planetarium programs have been censored by nefarious powers that be, it remains a very simple matter to stand in your backyard and gaze in the direction of the allegedly hidden coordinates. All the censorship in the world can’t cover up the actual sky, nor can it ensure the silence of millions of professional and amateur astronomers around the world.


The claim of censorship fails because the data are available from the Space Science Telescope Institute as well as The data is over 50 years old, so whatever a censor was hiding would have had to have been visible at that point. Also, censorship conspiracies are dubious from a practical standpoint, because hiding something in software does nothing toward hiding it in the actual sky, as people (including astronomers) can simply look up at supposedly “censored” regions of the heavens.

1. now called the ‘First Generation’ DSS or sometimes DSS1
2. Officially the National Geographic Society – Palomar Observatory Sky Survey (NGS-POSS)
3. as of 2010
1. “EvilSpork29” “YouTube – Debunking: Google SkyView, WikiSky & WorldWide Telescope Cover-up & Conspiracy Theory.” YouTube. Web. 28 Nov. 2010. <>.
2. “Terapixel – Microsoft Research.” Microsoft Research – Turning Ideas into Reality. Web. 28 Nov. 2010. <>.

How even media websites scaremonger with doomsday tripe

June 17, 2010 Leave a comment

This is a typical example of how even media websites are scaremongering with BS doomsday articles. & have an article up on their sites, posted on June 15th, 2010 titled: End of the world in 2013 says NASA. As soon as we saw this article we wanted to check to see if they had proof, coming from Asylum this seemed highly unlikely, and whaddya know? No proof whatsoever. Nowhere in the article does it say NASA says the world will end in 2013 and you won’t find anything of the sort written by NASA anywhere else stating such a thing. The article title Asylum has used  is an out right lie. Some people will use their brains and realise the article is pish and take no notice of it, Asylum are well known for posting such things, but others will take one look at the title and spread the article around as if the statement is true. Such an example of someone not using their brain when it comes to this situation can be found here. Using solar flares as this “end of the world scenario” is also, quite frankly, laughable. Not only that but it’s old news and has been debunked numerous times. Yes CME (Coronal mass ejection) events, along with solar flares, can disrupt radio transmissions, cause power outages (blackouts), and cause damage to satellites and electrical transmission lines. Solar flares strongly influence the local space weather of the Earth. They produce streams of highly energetic particles in the solar wind and the Earth’s magnetosphere that can present radiation hazards to spacecraft and astronauts. The soft X-ray flux of X class flares increases the ionization of the upper atmosphere, which can interfere with short-wave radio communication and can increase the drag on low orbiting satellites, leading to orbital decay. It’s hardly ‘doomsday’ stuff people, but rather more of a nuisance. Without going into too much detail here, we recommend you head over to and read their article on solar flares, what they can and cannot do and what we could expect around 2013 if we were hit by a large one.

Jupiter hit by comet?

July 21, 2009 2 comments

UPDATE: An object that hit Jupiter last year with a force equivalent to a few thousand nuclear bombs, which left it with a scar the size of the Pacific Ocean was probably an asteroid, say astronomers. Click here for the full report.

Astronomers say Jupiter has apparently been struck by an object, possibly a comet. Images taken by Nasa show an Earth-sized scar in the atmosphere near the south pole of the gas giant. The images, taken by the US space agency’s infrared telescope in Hawaii, come on the 15th anniversary of another comet strike.
In 1994, Jupiter was bombarded by pieces of the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9. Scientists at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, captured the new images after receiving a tip from an Australian amateur astronomer, Anthony Wesley, on July 19.

“We were extremely lucky to be seeing Jupiter at exactly the right time, the right hour, the right side of Jupiter to witness the event. We couldn’t have planned it better,” JPL scientist Glenn Orton said in a statement released by the lab. Orton said the event “could be the impact of a comet, but we don’t know for sure yet.”


This image released by Nasa/JPL shows a large impact on Jupiter’s south polar region captured on July 20, 2009, by Nasa’s Infrared Telescope Facility in Mauna Kea, Hawaii. Astronomers say Jupiter has apparently been struck by an object, possibly a comet, leaving an Earth-sized scar on the giant planet. The images also show bright upwelling particles in the atmosphere, detected in near-infrared wavelengths, as well as a warming of the upper troposphere with possible extra emission from ammonia gas detected at mid-infrared wavelengths.

We thought we would post this news on our blog as it will no doubt have many 2012ers and doomcryers somehow relating this event to Nibiru, especially via YouTube. It’s just the way these people work unfortunately.

Nibiru SOHO Images Debunked

May 14, 2009 12 comments

UPDATE: Unfortunately some of the links in this article are no longer working.

By Phil Plait of This article was written by Phil afew years ago now but is still relevant to the newest wave of “Nibiru SOHO” images to hit the web. These images show exactly what Phil describes below.


What is going on in the SOHO images?

A few people have been asking about this, but there hasn’t been much talk about it. As it happens, I have a lot of experience with astronomical imaging. I spent about a decade working on Hubble images, and a few years before that on a ground-based telescope. I still do dabble in digital astronomical imaging. I am not bragging, just putting my credentials down to show that I am very experienced in this field.

Let me say this up front: the images from SOHO are completely within the realm of what you’d expect from such images. The “anomalies” pointed out by Tuatha (who claims spaceships are all around the Sun: do a websearch on the words “suncruiser” and “SOHO” and you’ll see what I mean), Ms. Lieder and the rest are not anomalies at all. They are simply things that happen when you use a digital camera.

The cameras usually used in astronomical imaging are called CCDs, for Charge-Coupled Device. It’s like a computer chip that’s sensitive to light. The best analogy for one is like an array of buckets in the rain. Each bucket (CCD pixel) collects rain (light). The amount of rain collected depends on how much rain falls on that bucket; the amount of light in each pixel of the CCD depends on how bright an object is. When light hits a CCD it is converted to electrons, and when the image is done the electrons are “read off” the CCD and counted. The more electrons you see in a pixel, the more light hit that pixel. The numbers of electrons can be converted to images by your computer. That’s how the images on, say, the SOHO site are done.

So, how does this affect the Planet X arguments? In many ways:

Sometimes, a pixel is more sensitive to light than others. This can happen when a pixel is hit by high energy radiation like cosmic rays (which I’ll abbreviate “CR”), which are subatomic particles zipping around space. What happens then is that pixel is always “bright”, or “hot”, even when nothing is putting light into it. You have to make a map of the hot pixels in a CCD so you can compensate for them.

Ms. Lieder claims the images taken by Steve Havas show Planet X. What they really show is a hot pixel. When the pictures are properly calibrated, as several people have shown (see here and here), the “Planet X” pixel goes away. One giveaway is that stars/planets/etc. are round in the image (they cover several pixels), where hot pixels look like single points. The things pointed out by Ms. Lieder and others are single points, so they cannot be real. This shows two things: 1) you have to be careful and understand CCDs when you look at the data, and 2) Ms. Lieder is wrong.

A lot of the stuff pointed out by Tuatha in the SOHO images is really just hot pixels. They aren’t spaceships at all, they are simply pixels inside the SOHO camera that are a bit too overenthusiastic.

When cosmic rays hit a CCD, they dump their energy into a pixel, making it look very bright. Sometime, if the impact angle is low, the CR leaves a streak. At the end of the streak, it can suddenly dump lots of energy into the pixels, making what looks like a spray. I saw this all the time in my Hubble images. Unless there are billions of spaceships out there leaving little trails in all those random images, I would prefer to assume they are actually the somewhat more common cosmic ray.

In the SOHO images, there are lots of CRs. Sometimes these are particles from the Sun, accelerated during a coronal mass ejection. Matter of fact, after you see a big ejection from the Sun, the particles can hit the SOHO detectors, making it look like they were hit by a shotgun. A few of what Tuatha claims are spaceships near the Sun are CR sprays. Tuatha’s claims are wrong.

Remember the bucket analogy? What happens when a bucket fills up to the brim with water? It overflows. The same thing happens in CCDs. A pixel can only hold so many electrons before it overflows. Because of the way the pixels are made, the overflow goes into the adjoining pixels horizontally, so the overflowing pixel leaks electrons into the pixels to its left and right (or above and below it). If enough light is hitting the one pixel, it can overflow the adjacent pixels, which flow into the next ones, and so on. When you look at the resulting image, a bright object appears to have a bright horizontal line going through it. This is called “blooming”. A bright star may bloom over several vertical pixels, so you get many rows of blooming.


There is a picture posted at which is called the “Ra” image because there is a feature that looks like the symbol for the Egyptian god Ra. This is a perfect example of a bright object blooming. If you go through the SOHO archive, you’ll see this happening whenever a bright object is in the image. Venus is the brightest thing you’ll see, and it blooms quite a bit. I don’t know what was in the SOHO field in the Ra image, but it was bright and it bloomed (it may have been a very energetic CR). Those “wings” are not real. They are simply electrons that overflowed inside the CCD itself.

You can see several examples on this page: In fact, the explanation given by Joe Gurman on that page is correct, and the webpage author didn’t believe him. The cosmic rays and bright objects give the same shape every time because what’s happening is inside the CCD, not on the sky. Also, the “torpedo” in that image is a comet! Lots of comets are seen going very near (and sometimes actually impacting) the Sun. Matter of fact, more comets have been discovered using SOHO than any other single telescope. Hundreds have been seen.

As far as other “anomalies” in SOHO images go, there are many, but all the ones I have seen have rational explanations. Sometimes you see what look like palm fronds coming out, fanning across the image (this one is a favorite of The Millennium Group, which you can see here). I asked a SOHO person, and they said that sometimes debris gets knocked off the satellite (there are a few moving parts on the satellite that can jolt it) and this stuff drifts in front of the camera. They are out of focus at first, and as they move away they get more and more in focus. That’s why you get the palm frond shape; the thick base is actually when the particle is close, and the narrow tip is when it’s far away. It’s a time exposure of something coming into focus.


Well, that was longer than I anticipated, but I hope it clears some things up. The point here is that people like Tuatha, Ms. Lieder and others have no experience with digital astronomical cameras, and assume they simply take pictures. CCDs are far more complicated than that, and in fact I have just scratched the surface here with what you need to know to interpret CCD images. Every single thing Tuatha has pointed at in the SOHO images actually has a far more mundane explanation than alien spaceships.

Like Robert Sepehr (a man who has a Planet X video to sell, and constantly makes easily-disproven claims on a PX discussion group), who constantly claims the Sun is acting up without understanding that this is actually the Sun’s normal and expected behavior, Tuatha and the others simply don’t understand the subject they are talking about. It’s really that simple. I don’t mean this to sound condescending; I mean it to be literally true. I try to stay away from topics (like geology and mammoths) in this field when I do not have the expertise to give an informed opinion, but in this case I do. If more people actually went out and tried to find the answers to some of these questions, a lot of the Planet X “evidence” would go away.


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