back to article Made you jump! Space to give Earth an asteroid Halloween scare

Halloween is traditionally a time for scares and the universe hasn't disappointed, sending a fast-moving asteroid down our way for a close encounter on October 31 at 1712 UTC (1012 PDT). The asteroid, dubbed 2015 TB145, was only spotted 10 days ago by astronomers operating the Pan-STARRS I telescope in Hawaii and is thought to …

  1. Notas Badoff

    Real life... I've read about it somewhere...

    "only spotted 10 days ago"

    "a third of a kilometer across, but it's traveling at 35 kilometers per second"

    I keep being struck (pardon) by the idea that I haven't heard anything in years that wasn't described by SciFi decades ago. Heck, even wildly popular brainless candidates for president was long predicted by those wacko SciFi nuts.

    One story was about an asteroid that never even really hit - clipped a peak in the Andes a tad - but the grazing passage through the atmosphere was described in wonderful detail from entrance to exit. If the overpressures didn't get you, the heat radiation would. Discoverer named it after his wife... but you've seen that in the movies haven't you. Hollywood steals from everybody.

    I'd love to go back and re-read all that SciFi, and pretend it'll never happen.... (sigh)

    1. WalterAlter
      Mushroom

      I'm gonna tell you one thing, kid...

      Younger Dryas Event

      http://cosmictusk.com/clovis-population-decline-at-younger-dryas

      http://craterhunter.wordpress.com/

      http://sites.google.com/site/dragonstormproject/

  2. m0rt Silver badge

    "The asteroid will come within 498,896 kilmeters of Earth"

    Kilmeters - apt.

  3. Bad Beaver

    Ten days

    That's a little late for my taste.

    Obligatory: Might be hard to even get Bruce Willis on the phone in that timeframe.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Asteroid stories and Bruce Willis references

    Godwin-esque!

  5. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Holmes

    Ominous

    The universe is saying "fucking ball of losers". What we gonna do about that?

    1. PleebSmash

      Re: Ominous

      We take everything they throw at us.

    2. TeeCee Gold badge
      WTF?

      Re: Ominous

      Declare war on the universe?

    3. Naughtyhorse

      Re: Ominous

      lose?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ominous

        Is this the Solar System version of "Münich"?

  6. Winkypop Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Space Balls

    Blue ball, off red...into black (hole)

    1. AceRimmer1980
      IT Angle

      Re: Space Balls

      Well at least we now know how fast 'ludicrous speed' is :P

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Space Balls

        don't forget what a splash it will make, equivalent to 100,000,000,000,000 olympic size swimming pools

  7. Richard 81

    "That's the nearest asteroid flyby since 2006, and there won't be another one as close until August 2027"

    ...that we know of. But then, we only get 10 days notice of this one o_0

    1. Naughtyhorse

      Hang on.... 2006?

      what about the 2 a few years ago, the one in russia that very nearly hit (may not have been an asteroid) but i was sure there was an event where we were all looking one way and behind our collective backs something shot past australia by about 20k miles...

      yes a bit of research (clicking on the blue words counts!)

      http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/02/16/space_asteroid_impact_inevitable/

      from 16 Feb 2013

      described as asteroid 2012 DA14

  8. Vulch

    "That's the nearest asteroid flyby since 2006"

    Ummm, no?

    There has been at least one bigger and closer in November 2011, and at least a dozen have come inside the moons orbit since then. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/02/15/2012_de14_asteroid_fail/ for instance a day or two after Chelyabinsk.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "NASA warns cosmic rock travelling at ludicrous velocity"

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygE01sOhzz0

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    perhaps

    I should go on this holiday after all...

    1. phuzz Silver badge
      Alien

      Re: perhaps

      Is your holiday on Mars?

  11. Rich 11 Silver badge

    Suspiciously exact

    The asteroid will come within 498,896 kilmeters of Earth

    That's a very exact figure for an asteroid whose orbit has only been tracked for the last ten days. If they really can predict that to one part in half a million I would be extremely impressed.

    The statement is from NASA, so let's convert that to USian natural units: 311,810 miles. That suggests one part in about thirty thousand -- that's more believable.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: Suspiciously exact

      Well, they do have computers these days, and I've heard that NASA does have a few people who know their job.

      We'll see how exact they are when they tell us exactly how close it did fly by at then end of this month.

      1. Captain DaFt

        Re: Suspiciously exact

        Evil li'l me. I'm hoping their estimates are just far enough off that it impacts the Moon. That'd be a helluva show!

    2. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: Suspiciously exact

      Its suspiciously close to 310k miles.

      1. Stuart 22

        Re: Suspiciously exact

        Only if NASA is using the same imperial to metric conversion factors as the rest of the universe. They didn't always do that with their contractors as I recall - oops!

        I'm not sure a tin foil hat is going to stop this one.

    3. Phil W

      Re: Suspiciously exact

      It's a very exact figure for what is essentially an estimate, if you're saying it's "within x kilometres" (or kilmeters if you prefer) then you're saying it will be at that distance or closer.

      It would be bizarre to give all estimates this way, "your broadband speed will be up to 76.18765298576 Mbps".

      Or perhaps we should be more worried that, technically speaking, hitting us would also count as being within 498,896 kilometres.

      1. ravenviz
        Boffin

        Re: Suspiciously exact

        Google 498896 km in miles

    4. Salts

      Re: Suspiciously exact

      Mr Spock did the estimate

    5. Naughtyhorse

      Re: Suspiciously exact

      Does NASA use feet or meters?

      (whistles innocently and leaves the building)

  12. Bill Fresher

    "That's the nearest asteroid flyby since 2006, and there won't be another one as close until August 2027,"

    This one was only spotted 10 days ago - so how can anyone claim there won't be another encounter this close until 2027?

    1. PaulyV

      Nobody does - the writer says that in the very next line after your quote...

  13. Vinyl-Junkie
    Alien

    Warning shot...

    The aliens have sent their message to tell us to improve our evil ways and now fired a warning shot across our bows by accelerating an asteroid to "ludicrous speed", hoping that the ape descended lifeforms might actually realsie something was up. Unfortunately because we're too busy tramping each other into the dust either in the name of religion or to make an extra (insert local unit of currency here) to have developed the necessary means of communication to receive the message we'll still be in the dark when the next one slams into us dead centre....

    1. roytrubshaw
      Pint

      Re: Warning shot...

      ... we'll still be in the dark when the next one slams into us dead centre....

      That's because, "All the planning charts and demolition orders have been on display at your local planning department in Alpha Centauri for fifty of your Earth years so you’ve had plenty of time to lodge any formal complaints and its far too late to start making a fuss about it now." (Douglas Adams THHGTTG)

      I wonder where the "service station" will be on the hyperspace bypass?

      1. mosw

        Re: Warning shot...

        'I wonder where the "service station" will be on the hyperspace bypass?'

        Not sure where it will be but pretty sure Elon Musk has already locked up the contract to build it.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Worrying part of this

    That's the nearest asteroid flyby since 2006, and there won't be another one as close until August 2027, when 1999 AN10 comes to within one Moon's distance to Earth

    within one Moon's distance to Earth!!!!!

    and will the moon, in it's 24 hour orbit of said Earth be anywhere near the place it will pass?

    we need to know this!!!!!!!

    Space 1999 warned us of this

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Worrying part of this

      Commander Koenig is currently in his 6th rotation shuffling papers in Kandahar.

    2. Captain DaFt

      Re: Worrying part of this

      "and will the moon, in it's 24 hour orbit of said Earth be anywhere near the place it will pass?"

      From the article:

      "but it will be close to the waning gibbous Moon and probably challenging to see with small telescopes"

      So there's a chance, just a chance, mind you, POW!

  15. Lee D Silver badge

    I've had to make up some of the numbers but:

    http://impact.ese.ic.ac.uk/cgi-bin/crater.cgi?dist=1000&diam=330&pdens=3000&pdens_select=0&vel=35&theta=45&tdens=1500&tdens_select=0

    - 8260 MegaTons TNT

    - The impact does not shift the Earth's orbit noticeably.

    - The projectile begins to breakup at an altitude of 65600 meters = 215000 ft

    - The projectile reaches the ground in a broken condition. The mass of projectile strikes the surface at velocity 33.5 km/s = 20.8 miles/s

    - The broken projectile fragments strike the ground in an ellipse of dimension 0.937 km by 0.663 km

    - Final Crater Diameter: 9.25 km ( = 5.74 miles )

    - Final Crater Depth: 578 meters ( = 1900 feet )

    - The major seismic shaking will arrive approximately 3.33 minutes after impact (from 1000km away!)

    - Richter Scale Magnitude: 7.2

    Not "the end of the world", but a huge great big bloody mess at minimum, that's for sure!

    1. Vinyl-Junkie

      re: I've had to make some ofthe numbers...

      How about a water impact (statistically more likely)? Deep ocean might not be too bad (big tsunami though?), but 10 miles off the coast of a mostly low-lying region could be nasty...

      1. Lee D Silver badge

        Re: re: I've had to make some ofthe numbers...

        1000km away:

        Tsunami wave amplitude is less than 6.4 meters ( = 21.1 feet).

        10km away:

        Tsunami wave amplitude is between: 321.0 meters ( = 1050.0 feet) and 643.0 meters ( = 2110.0 feet).

        Start swimming.

        1. Mark 85 Silver badge

          Re: re: I've had to make some ofthe numbers...

          Start swimming.

          Negative. Surf's Up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: re: I've had to make some ofthe numbers...

        "How about a water impact (statistically more likely)? Deep ocean might not be too bad (big tsunami though?), but 10 miles off the coast of a mostly low-lying region could be nasty..."

        The consensus from SciFi books is that a water impact is bad. Waaay badder tham a land impact. Apart from Tsunamis, that's an awful lot of water vapour and sea bed ejected into the upper atmosphere. Water vapour is a very efficient "greenhouse gas". And salty rain worldwide might not do crops much good.

        PS, I learned all this from fiction, so it might all be bollocks.

  16. xeroks

    scary video

    this one on youtube is fascinating.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2k2vkLEE4ko

    It shows the orbits of the inner planets (plus appearances by the big yin) alongside the asteroids, as they are discovered.

    The scary halloween bit is that all the asteroids swarming about the earth were always there, we just didn't know it.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: scary video

      Cool. It's like Indiana Jones lighting his vintage flashlight and discovering that he's actually IN the pit with the flesh.eating roaches described in the papyrus.

  17. hatti

    Hah, take that asteroid!

    No problem, I'll be under the coffee table wrapped in bacofoil with a pillow over my head.

  18. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Spaceguard UK

    Following the article on El Reg earlier this year (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/07/06/geeks_guide_spaceguard_center/) I visited the Spaceguard UK centre a few weeks ago, whose purpose is precisely that of spotting these sneaky little buggers before they visit New York, and which, if spotted in good time, means that we may have a chance to do something.

    It's a wonderful and fascinating place. They're currently putting up a new building to house a very chunky new camera (project DRAX) which will mean they can contribute a lot more to this global network. But unbelievably they get no public funding. The new building is being put up by volunteers, and they still need about £30K to finish the work. Have a look at their website, and think about making a donation...

    - pint of beer £3.50; that warm comforting feeling that your generous donation means you are less likely to get splattered by 100 million tons of fast moving space rock - priceless.

    Donations to http://spaceguardcentre.com/drax/donate-to-project-drax/

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Spaceguard UK

      - pint of beer £3.50; that warm comforting feeling that your generous donation means you are less likely to get splattered by 100 million tons of fast moving space rock - priceless.

      Until there's a plan in place to deflect or destroy the rock, we'll still get splattered. But at least we'll know it's coming have time to kiss our butts goodbye. Or just maybe schedule a very early and long pub crawl.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Spaceguard UK

      1) Shouldn't a British Spaceguard project be concerned with our York than the New upstart?

      2) You talk about New York being hit by a city-killer as if it's a bad thing....

      AC for obvious reasons!

  19. DougS Silver badge

    That's a huge rock for only spotting it 10 days ago

    We obviously have a long way to go in recognizing space rocks traveling in our general direction. It is too bad it isn't going to clip the atmosphere and give us a hell of a light show. That might be enough to get governments to realize important it is to devote the necessary resources for this. No one's going to miss a few less F35s, but we'd sure miss the coastal cities destroyed by the tsunamis that would result if something that big plowed into the Atlantic at 35 kps!

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: That's a huge rock for only spotting it 10 days ago

      devote the necessary resources for this

      i.e. form a commitee of well-paid worthies that are too senile / not under enough control to vote for the next aggressive movement in some cross-oceanic country which we have always been at war with since yesterday?

      1. Cardinal

        Re: That's a huge rock for only spotting it 10 days ago

        If there IS an extinction calibre rock heading in our direction one day, you might want to be one of the crew on the ISS eh? ..........or on second thought, ..........maybe you wouldn't.

  20. Stuart21551

    'travelling at ludicrous velocity'

    How many Elons would that be then?

    Surely, not more than 1 Elon!

  21. F0rdPrefect
    WTF?

    So which is it then?

    "The asteroid, dubbed 2015 TB145, was only spotted 10 days ago by astronomers operating the Pan-STARRS I telescope in Hawaii and is thought to be a stray part of a comet"

    I thought that asteroids and comets were 2 totally different thing.

    Which is why they have different names.

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