Posts Tagged ‘Space’

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.

A World Class Physicist’s View Of 2012

July 29, 2011 Leave a comment


Professor Brian Cox, OBE, is a British particle physicist, a professor at the University of Manchester, and a member of the High Energy Physics group working on the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.

He is also a populariser of science, hosting major TV series such as “Wonders Of The Solar System”. The latter was named best documentary series of 2010, and received the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award for excellence in documentary film-making. Other awards for his work in popularising science include the Institute of Physics Kelvin Prize, for communicating the appeal and excitement of physics to the general public. Some have called him “The New Carl Sagan”.

He is an outspoken critic of all areas of pseudoscience, particularly Astrology, 2012, the Mayan calendar prediction, and conspiracy theories concerning the Moon landings. [1] He is also dismissive (in a similar manner to Richard Feynman) of “philosophy of science” written by non-scientists; “to put it bluntly, vast amounts of drivel have been written about the subject by armies of postmodernist philosophers and journalists”. His comment that Astrology is “a load of rubbish”, made during one episode of Wonders Of The Solar System, provoked many complaints from Astrologers. His reply to this, in the Huw Wheldon Lecture, was: “I apologise to the astrology community for not making myself clear. I should have said that this New Age drivel is undermining the very fabric of our civilisation”. [2]

He does have a reputation for plain speaking. The Creationist belief that the world is 6,000 years old is dismissed as “bks”, anyone who believes the world is going to end next year because of the Mayan calendar is “a moron”. And people who believe Cern’s Large Hadron Collider will suck the universe into a black hole are “t—ts”. [3]

Views on 2012

Cox’s main output concerns serious science and major projects such as the Large Hadron Collider. His comments on 2012 have generally been made through less official channels, such as his Twitter account and YouTube, where he often uses colourful language and slang. For example, on Twitter he said “the 2012 end of the world stuff is a steaming pile of turd, and if you believe it u r a nobber – that’s my considered view”. There are two videos in which Cox speaks about 2012, filmed informally while on a car journey. The following is a transcript of the first video: [4]

The maya had a long count, which was a calendar, it was basically base 20, mayan calendars are always base 20, that’s because you’ve got 10 fingers and 10 toes, so it’s a HUMAN based calendar. And so the long count began – this current long count – began in 3 thousand 100 and 16 or 17 BC, I can’t remember which, and if you add them all up, then the year 13 0 0 0 0 – which is the end of that long count – is 2012. And in the mayan calendar then, a new long count begins, so the mayans believed that the universe was created in three thousand whatever it is BC, and will end in 2012 because a new one’s going to be created, a new cycle’s going to be created – it’s in the same sense that the day ends when the Sun is devoured in the East <corrects himself> in the West, and reappears again in the East.”


The maya have a calendar which cycles around, and there are many, many, many, correspondents on the internet that believe that that’s still going to be the case, that the universe is going to end in 2012.”


What kind of MORON do you have to be? ….. to?” <pauses>


See the maya had some elaborate system of counting, it all cycles around and their whole civilisation was built on it, so I have no quarrel at all with the maya, I think they had a beautiful civilisation. [but] People on the internet today who …. the thing is, the calendar is based on the number of fingers and toes you’ve got, right. How can that have cosmic significance? 5 5 5 5. How can that have cosmic significance? It just depends entirely on what – on how many dextrous protrusions the organism that invented the civilisation’s got. So …..” <shakes head, lost for words>


“So your opinion of people that think the world will end in 2012 because that’s the end of the mayan long count is? Your opinion is?”

Brian Cox:

I reckon that they might be statistically right, because you’ve got to be such a <expletive bleeped out> to believe it, that you might have a higher statistical chance of walking in front of a bus. So in that sense, they could be statistically correct. And it will be to the advantage of all of us, because the human race will progress in a more measured way, if the people who believe that are statistically removed in 2012.”

The following is a transcript of the second of Cox’s videos about 2012, in which he covers the same ground: [5]


“What do some people think’s going to happen in 2012, and what do you think?”

Brian Cox:

What IS going to happen in 2012, is that the current mayan long count is going to end, so it’s going to go to 13 0 0 0 0. and then, as our experts on mayan culture tell us today, it will go to 1 0 0 0 0, and carry on. But what the maya believe is that the universe will be recreated at that point, because they believe that every long count cycle the universe begins ends and then restarts again. <laughs> However ….”


“What do other people on the internet think will happen in 2012?”

Brian Cox:

The problem with the maya’s view of history, as we now know, is that it’s based on a base 20 counting system, right, base 20, so it’s not base 10, it’s base 20, and that’s because you’ve got 5 fingers on that hand, 5 fingers on that hand, and 5 toes on each foot. So their calculation of when the universe will end, requires you to have 10 fingers and 10 toes. Hence, you would have to be a complete tw*t [6] to think <laughs> that it has any bearing on Cosmolgy. Not if you’re maya, see the maya believed that people influence time passing, people are required actually to keep time passing, so their view of the world was self-contained and sensible. If, at the turn of the 21st century, you still believe that that’s the case <laughs> then you are a tw*t.

On the dangers of the Large Hadron Collider

Cox dismisses “doomsday” scenarios involving black holes or other products created by the LHC in 2012, or any other year;

“according to Dr. Brian Cox at CERN, the universe conducts the equivalent of ten trillion lifetime runs of the LHC every second, and has been doing so for billions of years, with not a single observable consequence.” [7]

What this refers to is the fact that the universe itself creates particles with similar and greater energies than the LHC, and that these naturally occuring particles have been colliding with other particles, in bodies such as the Moon, for billions of years, with no disastrous effects. [8]

Gia Milinovich

Brian is married to Gia Milinovich, an American TV producer. Her blog includes a page entitled “Apocalympics 2012 – Mayan “Prophecy”, in which she berates 2012 believers. Here are some quotes from Gia’s Blog: [9]

Some people – whacky New Agers and many people who should know better – have taken this to mean that the world will end. The fact that the end of the Mayan Long count ends on or near the Winter Solstice adds much more significance to people who seem to think there’s some kind of ‘supernatural magic’ in the revolution of the Earth around the Sun.


What I can’t understand is why people think the Maya had more of an ability to see into the future than any one else.


I’m afraid that anyone who believes there is any deep significance in Mayan Prophecy is quite clearly incapable of finding joy and wonder in the real world and instead insists on creating stories which are based on fear, negativity, insecurity and self-loathing. Seriously, you can’t predict the end of the world *and* love Yourself, Humanity and the Universe, can you? Sad really.

Published scientific papers by Professor Brian Cox (not including CERN);


Media Writing Credits;


1. Brian Cox speaking about Moon Landing conspiracies:
2. Astrology comments during the Huw Wheldon Lecture, at 9 min 20:
6. Tw*t (noun): A stupid incompetent fool, a person who lacks good judgment, a foolish or despicable person.

No, 2005 YU55 Won’t Destroy The Earth

July 28, 2011 Leave a comment

On November 8th of this year, the 400-meter-wide asteroid 2005 YU55 will pass the Earth, missing us by the comfortable margin of 325,000 kilometers (200,000 miles).

While this is the largest asteroid (that we know of) to swing past us for the next 17 years or so, YU55 is not an immediate threat to Earth. Its orbit does bring it close enough to our planet that it’s been deemed a potentially hazardous asteroid, but the orbit is well-enough known that we can rule out an impact for at least the next century. That’s long enough for me personally to not be concerned.

I’ve seen some small amount of buzz on the usual conspiracy sites about this asteroid, and I do see some folks trying to play this up a bit (search on “YU55 doomsday” for example), but fear-mongering chatter is surprisingly low for this event. I expect that by this fall you’ll be seeing breathless YouTube videos accusing NASA of covering up a imminent impact — and I don’t say this blithely; it’s happened before. Remember asteroid 2007 TU24? No? That’s because nothing happened, despite the claims of panic-promoters.

As you can see in this JPL animation below, in November YU55 will miss us by a cosmic mile as well (click to embiggen and get a clearer animation):

You can see the Earth at the center (the diagonal line if the Earth’s orbit around the Sun), the Moon orbiting the Earth, and the path of YU55. The scale on the bottom is a million kilometers, about 620,000 miles. The Moon’s orbit is roughly 770,000 km (475,000 miles) wide. The path of YU55 cuts a shallow chord across the Moon’s orbit, well away from our planet.

Still, there’s a chance for some real science on this rock. At that distance, it’ll appear so small (1/4 arcseconds across, where the Moon is 1800 arcsec across for comparison) that it’ll be too small even for Hubble to make much of it — at best, in Hubble’s cameras it will appear to be just two pixels across. And that’s even if Hubble could track it, which it can’t.

But the Deep Space Network of radio telescopes can actually get very high resolution imagery using sophisticated techniques, possibly getting images with a resolution of just 4 meters — the size of an SUV — on the asteroid. That means YU55 will be 100 pixels across, enough to see some details on the surface, including craters, boulders, and even possibly a moon if it has one. Pretty cool.

So anyway, just in case the icky underside of the internet tries to play this up later this year, shouting doom-and-gloom, let me be clear:

By Phil Plait.

Comet Elenin is not a danger to the Earth

April 5, 2011 6 comments

Comet C/2010 X1 (Elenin) is a comet discovered by Russian astronomer Leonid Elenin on December 10, 2010. Elenin was using a robotic observatory near Mayhill, New Mexico.

Mr. Elenin is an amateur astronomer from Lubertsy City, Russia, near Moscow. He is a graduate of the Moscow Aviation Institute, works as a researcher at the Keldysh Institute of Applied Mathematics (Russian Academy of Sciences), is married, and is bilingual (Russian and English). He volunteers with the International Astronomical Search Collaboration, and runs a website at He has had a passion for astronomy since childhood, and studies minor Solar System objects and variable stars. He has discovered more than 10 variable stars and numerous asteroids, and now, a comet.

On December 11th, 2010, Leonid Elenin posted news on his site of a “new and interesting object” discovered during a “routine survey of the sky on Dec. 10, 2010”. The discovery was made at the independent Russian remote observatory ISON-NM, which is located near Mayhill, New Mexico. The observatory is operated under the Russian project ISON (International Scientific Optical Network). His observations were confirmed by Aleksei Sergeyev and Artyom Novichonok at Madinak Observatory in the Ukrane.

Initially the comet was thought to be a short period comet, with aphelion near the orbit of Jupiter, and a perihelion inside the orbit of Earth. However, over a week after its discovery, the Minor Planets Center at Harvard published the orbital elements, revealing that the perihelion would be near Mercury! It was still unclear as to whether this was a rogue (a one time event) or a periodic comet. Further observations and calculations show that its period is on the order of 10,000 years, and that this is likely its first pass through the inner solar system. This leads to the prospect of a very bright comet in 2011. Leonid Elenin also estimates that the comet nucleus is 3-4 km in diameter.

According to the JPL Small Body Database C/2010 X1 is a Hyperbolic Comet, meaning that it will not return. However, Leonid Elenin has calculated that due to perturbations to the comet’s orbit from the gas giant planets, that the orbit of his comet will be modified to a long-period elliptical orbit, and that it will return in about 10,000 years.

Comet Elenin is in an orbit that is close to the plane of the ecliptic. It is currently just past opposition and about 3 times farther away from us than we are from the sun. Here is an illustration of the comet’s orbit as of April 5, 2011.

In August 2011, Elenin will become a naked-eye visible object, as it sweeps in closer to the sun than the Earth is.

By September 1st, 2011, Comet Elenin will approach the orbit of Mercury, and it will reach Perhelion on September 5th. In just a little over a month it will have traveled from the orbit of the Earth to the Orbit of Mercury. At this point it will be so close to the sun from our vantage point that it will be completely hidden. However, it will be visible on solar-observing spacecraft such as STEREO and SOHO.

On October 17th, 2011, Comet Elenin will make its closest approach to the earth. However, its distance to the Earth will still be huge, nearly a quarter of the distance between the earth and the sun.

Wild Claims.

Instead of being excited about the possibility of a naked-eye visible comet, some people are making some very strange and wild claims about the comet, or about Leonid Elenin. Some people are apparently questioning whether Leonid Elenin is even a real person, despite the fact that he is acknowledged as a contributor in various scholarly journal articles since 2009.

Elenin will not collide with Earth.

At its closest approach, Comet Elenin will be 34 million kilometers (21 million miles) away from the Earth. It will also be 4 million kilometers (2.4 million miles) above the orbit of the Earth. See this image showing that Elenin will be well above Earth’s orbit, and this image, showing it will be well ahead of the earth in it’s oribt and the videos below created by member obaeyens using the orbital simulator AstroGrav.

The Earth will not pass through Elenin’s tail.

A common misconception of comets is that the tail streams out behind the comet. Even if that were the case, the images and video above show that we would not pass through the tail. However, the tail of a comet does not stream out behind the comet’s path, but rather points away from the Sun. As such, the tail will never be in a position to cross the path of the Earth.

Even if the Earth were to pass through the tail of the comet, the only effect on the Earth would be a nice show of meteors. The Perseid meteor shower occurs every year between August 9 and 13 when the Earth passes through the orbit of Comet Swift-Tuttle. Comet Halley is the source of the Orionid shower in October.

Leonid Elenin is a real person.

Yes, it has been claimed that “Leonid Elenin” does not, in fact, exist, but that instead his name is a ‘coded message’. The poster finishes off a list of what they see as ‘hints’ in the circumstances with the statement:

You know the way TPTB operate. Everything is scripted well in advance and they use Hollywood to drop clues.

Or, it could be that the poster watches too many fictional movies and thinks that they are ‘coded messages’ from “The Powers That Be”.

Does Leonid Elenin even exist?
Comet Elenin a “smokescreen” for Nibiru:

Don Yeomans on C/2010 X1

Don Yeomans has weighed in on the comet, saying:

“So you’ve got a modest-sized icy dirtball that is getting no closer than 35 million kilometers,” said Yeomans. “It will have an immeasurably miniscule influence on our planet. By comparison, my subcompact automobile exerts a greater influence on the ocean’s tides than comet Elenin ever will.”

NASA’s David Morrison on Comet Elenin claims

“The comet never comes close to the Earth, but it is expected to be visible in binoculars during August and October. Part of the Internet chatter concerns its size. Comets are exceedingly small and enveloped in a tenuous cloud of gas and dust, so the only way to be sure of their actual dimensions is to visit with a spacecraft. This means its mass is less than one billionth the mass of the Earth. Needless to say, we will not be aware of the tiny gravitational pull from Elenin.”

This is a quote from a David’s answer to a question on the “Ask an astrobiologist” page. He has received lots of questions about Elenin as well.


1. Elenin, Leonid. “Новый интересный объект нашей обсерватории | SpaceObs.” Сайт обсерватории ISON-NM / ISON-NM Observatory Site. Web. 06 Apr. 2011. <>.

2. Elenin, Leonid. “«Кометы могут представлять серьезную угрозу» – интервью «Газете.ru» | SpaceObs.” Сайт обсерватории ISON-NM / ISON-NM Observatory Site. Web. 06 Apr. 2011. <>.
3. Beatty, Kelly. “Bright Prospects for Comet Elenin? – Observing Blog.” 24 Dec. 2010. 06 Apr. 2011 <>.
4. International Astronomical Search Collaboration. “Employee List.” Home. 06 Apr. 2011 <>.

Asteroid Toutatis will not impact the Earth on December 12, 2012

March 6, 2011 Leave a comment

4179 Toutatis was first sighted on February 10, 1934, as object 1934 CT, and then promptly lost. It remained a lost asteroid for several decades until it was recovered on January 4, 1989, by Christian Pollas, and was named after the Celtic god Toutatis/Teutates. Toutatis is an Apollo, Alinda, and Mars-crosser asteroid with a chaotic orbit produced by a 3:1 resonance with the planet Jupiter and 1:4 resonance with the planet Earth. Due to its very low orbital inclination (0.47°) and its orbital period of very nearly 4 years, Toutatis makes frequent close approaches to Earth, with a currently minimum possible distance (Earth MOID) of just 0.006 AU (2.3 times as far as the Moon).

The approach on September 29, 2004, was particularly close, at 0.0104 AU (within 4 lunar distances) from Earth, presenting a good opportunity for observation, with Toutatis shining at magnitude 8.9 when brightest. The most recent close approach of 0.0502 AU happened on November 9, 2008. The next close approach will be December 12, 2012, at a distance of around 0.04633 AU, and at magnitude 10.

Radar imagery has shown that Toutatis is a highly irregular body consisting of two distinct “lobes”, with maximum widths of about 4.6 km and 2.4 km respectively. It is hypothesized that Toutatis formed from two originally separate bodies which coalesced at some point, with the resultant asteroid being compared to a “rubble pile”.

The close pass in September 2004 was close enough to raise concerns that Toutatis would eventually collide with Earth. The likelihood of collision is considered to be small. As a planet-crossing asteroid, Toutatis is likely to be ejected from the Solar System on a time scale of a few tens of thousands of years, giving it a limited number of opportunities to strike Earth before disappearing forever.

So back to the information at hand… you might be asking yourself what is an AU? 1 A.U. is the average distance between the center of mass of the Earth and the center of mass of the Sun which comes out to be approximately 149,598,000 km (92,955,887.6 miles). Now we can use simple dimensional analysis to actually see how far Toutatis will be from the Earth on December 12, 2012.

0.04633 AU x 92,955,887.6 mi = 6,931,000 km (4,307,000 miles) from Earth.
………………………….1 AU

So the asteroid will be 4.3 x 10^6 mi away from the Earth… is that close? Lets put that in to perspective by comparing it to the Earth-Moon average distance. The Earth-Moon distance is 384,403 km (238,857 miles) apart, meaning that Toutatis will be 18 times the distance of the Earth to the Moon. In our opinion, that’s not close enough to classify it as a Doomsday possibility… its even stretching it to call it a “close encounter”. So, with the information at hand we can safely say that the chances of Toutatis impacting the Earth on December 12, 2012 is 0%.

4179 Toutatis at its closest on December 12, 2012

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.

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