Tag Archives: path

Near-Earth Asteroid 2012 TC4 Could Give Us Quite A Headache In 2017 — Near Miss?

.Anura Guruge December 2014 thumbnail
by Anura Guruge

Related Posts:

**** Check CATEGORY ‘Astronomy’ for many other posts >>>>

Danny Fleming, a mathematician and astronomer gave me a heads up, via e-mail, on this. Thank YOU, Danny.

2012 TC4, as the ‘2012’ in its designation denotes, was discovered in October 2012 though it is POSSIBLE that it has been around for quite some time — though maybe not in its current, very near-Earth orbit.


Click to ENLARGE.

It is an ‘Apollo’ class asteroid (named after the prototype asteroid in this group). Apollos, in their relentless orbit around the Sun, crosses the Earth’s orbit — twice.

Well 2012 TC4 crossed the Earth’s orbit in October 12, 2012 coming quite close to Earth. At their closest they were 58,900 miles apart. That is 1/5 the average distance between the Earth and the Moon (what we call the ‘Lunar Distance‘ (LD)). The LD as such as 0.247 LD.

5 years later, again, coincidentally on the exact date, i.e., October 12, it will get within 0.034 LD of the Earth. That is nearly 7 times closer. Yes, it could get within 8,400 miles from us. That is close.

At that distance there is a very good chance that Earth’s (fairly strong) gravitational pull will capture it and pull it in. In which case WE will get SMACKED. Thought to be about 30 yards across it is NOT a huge asteroid, not large enough to annihilate all of us. But that is still plenty big enough to wreak quite a bit of destruction, especially if it lands near a city.

Not much we can do. It is not like the Earth can duck out of the way.

This orbital chart, using the JPL Small Body Database Browser,
shows that 2012 TC4 ends up right on top of us.


Click to ENLARGE.

Comet ISON, C/2012 S1: Upcoming Dates & Viewing Opportunities.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.ISONPrintCover150206
Anura Guruge

Related posts:
>> Comet ISON presentation —
>> Oct. 22, 2013.

>> Comet ISON looking good —
>> Oct. 21, 2013.

>> Comet ISON over NH —
>> Oct. 16, 2013.
Search on ‘Comet ISON’ on sidebar for other posts >>>>
**** Check my ISON blog.

Click to ENLARGE. From NASA - Hubble.

Click to ENLARGE. From NASA – Hubble.

Comet ISON prospects, quite literally, are getting brighter by the day.

It is intact and is becoming more ‘active’, i.e., spewing out more gas and dust which is what leads to the coma and tail, by the minute.

Right now it is travelling at more than 10 miles PER SECOND. That is in excess of 38,000 miles per hours. So it is getting closer to the Sun at a very fast clip.

Ameteur astronomers using backyard telescopes are capturing some amazing pictures. Check this one from October 5, from Austria (that is in Europe).

On November 2, 2013, i.e., next week, it will cross Earth’s orbit for the first time, i.e., inbound (towards Sun) crossing. Check this post for orbital diagram.

But, on that day Earth is way off to the right — 112 MILLION miles away, that is 1.2 x the Earth-Sun distance.

So, we will not be able to see Comet ISON, naked eye, on November 2.

The EARLIEST possibility for a potential glimpse is November 17 — some of this also having to do with moonlight getting in the way.

Closer to the 17th, as things become more clear, I will post an update.


It might not be the ‘Comet of the Century’, but it is still on track to be one heck of a comet.



Asteroid 2012 DA14 That Will Harmlessly Fly By Earth At A Distance Of 21,200 Miles On Friday, February 15, 2013.


Anura Guruge

Related posts:
Check Category ‘Astronomy’ in the sidebar trench below >>>

Though many don’t realize this I spent quite a bit of time working on astronomy, these days even at the expense of Popes and cardinals.

Artistic rendition of 2012 DA14 passing by Earth on February 15, 2013.

Orbital diagram of the flyby.

This is Way Cool.

A dynamic orbit tracker from NASA’s JPL.
Try it out if you have Java installed.
Click to access JPL. [Orbit diagram], collapsed, will be at the top. You need Java.

Click to access JPL. [Orbit diagram], collapsed, will be at the top. You need Java.

It was discovered last year, on February 23, 2012, by a Spanish observatory.

It is an Earth-crosser asteroid that orbits the Sun every 366.2 days. Since it furthest point from the Sun, aphelion is beyond Earth’s orbit, crosses Earth’s orbital path twice a year. It has been probably been doing this for millions of years, though we now have precise data going back to August 1913.

It is not very big, about 160 ft across and weighing about 180,000 tons. It would do a fair amount of damage if it were to hit the Earth. It will not do so this year! But this is a record close approach. So much so that Earth’s gravity will perturb its orbital path reducing its orbital period by 51 days. That is a big deal.

There is an increasing chance that it might actually get around to hitting the Earth post 2080 — so 67 years from now. So our kids will have to keep an eye out. Asteroids of this size do hit the Earth every 1200 years or so. We are due. DA14 would not be the end of the World. It is too small. It could destroy a city. There was smaller asteroid that entered Earth’s atmosphere, above Russia, in 1908 and exploded in the sky before hitting the ground. It destroyed about 80 million trees over a 830 square mile area,