Topic: =/\= narrowly avoided ELE 100 years ago, NASA charters 3 flights on spaceship2  (Read 1424 times)

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Offline stoneyface

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the 12th and 13th of august 1883 were mostly uneventful except for a lone astronomer in mexico. Josť Bonilla at a very small observatory at Zacatecas, Mexico observed 450 objects surrounded by mist passing in front of the sun. the event was dismissed at the time and some even thought it was not astronomical in nature but birds or other natural event misperceived by jose bonilla. now, this incident has been re-explored and the 450 objects may have been from a recently broken up comet. these objects very narrowly missed earth, in fact they came extremely close to earth. estimates put the range somewhere between 600km-8000km. that is nothing by galactic standards. basically, this was a very near miss. if they had hit earth, it would have been an extinction level event or an ELE as it is called. read the article for all the bone chilling details... http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/arxiv/27264/ yes, i was a little weirded out ;) :P

next up is an odd story, or at least i thought it was odd. NASA has chartered 3 flights aboard spaceshiptwo. a contract signed gives nasa an opportunity to do some suborbital testing now that the shuttle is gone. this marks the first time nasa doing something that makes sense (yes, i am kidding.... mostly anyway) read the article for full details. (sorry it is gizmag)
http://www.gizmag.com/nasa-charters-spaceshiptwo/20174/
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Offline stoneyface

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an interesting rebuttal from someone who is skeptical that this was as big a deal as being made out. interesting and should be read as a good "otherside" argument...

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2011/10/17/did-a-fragmenting-comet-nearly-hit-the-earth-in-1883-color-me-very-skeptical/
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Offline knightstorm

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I tend to agree with that skeptical assessment.  Also, I imagine these sorts of "near misses" are common enough, that if we obsessed over it we'd drive ourselves nuts.