Sunday, April 11, 2021

Well, That's A Relief

Observations made in March enabled astronomers to determine that the asteroid Apophis, which had been given a 2.7% chance of hitting the Earth on April 13, 2029 (Friday, of course), will in fact miss us.

Apophis is a stony asteroid about 1,100 feet across, weighing around 60 million tons. If it struck the Earth it would release the equivalent of 1,200 megatons of TNT -- that's 75,000 Hiroshima bombs, or 24 of the biggest nuclear weapon ever exploded, Tsar Bomba. It would, I'm guessing, make for a really bad year, and a pretty bad next five years or so, but wouldn't be a civilization-killer. By contrast, the Chicxulub impact, which wiped out the dinosaurs and 75% of everybody else, is rated at one hundred million megatons.

It won't miss by much, though -- about 20,000 miles. Which, in astronomical terms, is about one-fifth of a cat's whisker. In fact, we have hundreds of active satellites (those blue dots in the video above) in geosynchronous orbit, which is 22,500 miles out. I want to know what the chances are that Apophis will perturb some of their orbits and make them useless, or even hit one. That would be fun to watch.


Trooper York said...

Great post.

Hey can the asteroid bounce off the satellite and then hit Earth?

That would suck.

I think I saw that plot in Supergirl.

MamaM said...
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MamaM said...

Back to wondering about The Belt in the picture again and Breugel's Babel.

Could the belt of satellites that currently surround the earth and uphold vital communications down here represent this generation's version of the Tower of Babel?

With Apophis as the unseen hand perturbing their orbits and causing some serious outages and scrambling in key places among the mighty nations and numerous worker bees who depend on those signals to communicate, defend and survive?