19 October 2010

Small Asteroid Warning: Scientist Warns of Asteroid Impact [VIDEO]

From: http://www.mhcmagazine.com/blog/small-asteroid-warning/

Small Asteroid Warning: Scientist Warns of Asteroid Impact [VIDEO]

Small asteroids could wipe out a city! An (iron) asteroid a mere 100 feet across could essentially destroy Manhattan Island if it hit in the middle of Central Park.
A 100 foot asteroid impacting the Earth would produce a crater 1/2 mile wide and 575ft deep. Everything within this 1/2 mile wide crater would be completely and utterly demolished.
At 1 mile from the center of the impact people will feel the ground shake like an Earthquake of 4.5 on the Richter scale. The air-blast from this impact will cause multistory buildings to collapse, bridges will collapse, glass windows will shatter, and up to 90% of trees will be blown down branches stripped from their trunks. The peak overpressure felt by humans 1 mile from impact is 35.1 psi (60-80 is enough to be lethal). This means if you were standing 1 mile from the impact point you would most likely suffer some sort of physical internal injuries, which may or may not be life threatening. If the pressure doesn’t get you, falling and flying debris probably will. An asteroid impact of this size would produce wind speeds in excess of 687MPH. That’s like an F11 Tornado! It would rip asphalt from the road, throw cars trucks, tear block and brick houses from their foundations, and destroy wood frame houses like they were made of cardboard.
At 3 miles from the center of impact there would still be hurricane force winds upwards of 123MPH. Wood frame houses would be destroyed, and 30% of trees would be stripped of branches and blown down. People would probably survive this if they have a safe place to shelter, perhaps in a basement or solid block or brick home.
At 5 miles though glass windows will still shatter at this distance, the air blast dissipates to around 55 MPH, and you would probably be out of the danger zone from flying debris.
“…Mark Boslough says more money, attention, and telescopes need to be focused on finding small asteroids….”

Source: KRQE
Recently Richard Kowalski of the Catalina Sky Survey in Tucson Arizona discovered the very first asteroid predicted to impact Earth. In fact this asteroid impacted Earth less than 24hours after is was discovered! Asteroid 2008 TC3 broke up in the atmosphere over Sudan and rained down in a meteorite fall scattering debris for miles.
This historical event has ushered in a new age of awareness about the threat of asteroids like no other. For the first time in human history, we were able to discover an asteroid “before” it impacted Earth.

The constant threat of asteroid impact is real, and we’re just now learning how real that threat truly is as evidenced by Asteroid 2010 TD54 a 33 feet wide asteroid which was spotted just this week. Calculations placed it’s path only 28,000 miles from Earth. In cosmic terms that’s very close. The Moon is 238,897 miles away. The Earth is only 8000 miles wide. This means that asteroid 2010 TD54 passed by us at a distance of only 3.5 times the the diameter our our planet. This asteroid really posed no danger to us, however, it raises some concern.
If we just found this small asteroid so close to us, how many more are out there that we don’t know about? Could one hit tomorrow? Yes! Is it likely, No. Do we know? No. We don’t. However we’ve come a LONG way.
See this video which shows the asteroids found from 1980-2010

Planetary defense is vitally important. Knowing what’s out there BEFORE we’re surprised with an impact is crucial. The likelihood of an impact of an asteroid large enough to do serious damage is very low. However it has happened a mere 102 years ago in Tunguska Russia.
Tunguska Event

The Tunguska Event was apparently an air-burst. Scientists and UFO enthusiast have tried to explain this event. Some scientists believe and have suggested it was an asteroid or comet exploding in the air above the forest with a force of 1000 times the energy released when the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima Japan.
It’s my opinion we should set up some sort of amateur asteroid hunter network which employs the power of numbers by tapping into the amateur and hobbyist astronomers. On the federal and international level there are programs like Catalina Sky Survey, NASA’s NEO program, and many others which are looking out and tracking asteroids. We need more eyes on the skies.
There are billions of asteroids out there. We just have to find them before they find us.
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There’s an article titled “Hunting Meteorites With a Telescope” by Richard Kowalski on pages 12-13 of the July issue of Meteorite Hunting & Collecting Magazine regarding the TC3 event.

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