Huge asteroid to fly closely past Earth

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13556129/

I’m looking forward to the pictures, if any are successfully made.

As long as they don’t look like this. :slight_smile:

Heh. Reminds me of a dream I had the other night.

Met up with an old girlfriend, we walk down the street catching up on old times. We look up, and a shooting star flies overhead.
“Ooh look at that, how romantic,” she says, pointing.
“It’s true. I wonder if it means we were always supposed to be togeth…wait a minute. That’s not a shooting star, it looks more like a shooting moon.”
“A shooting moon? What does that mean?”
“I don’t know. Unless…oh, shit! ASTEROID!!!”
KABLOOOIEE!!!

I’m not sure what she was sayin’, but I don’t think it was good.

While finding the correct word might not be a large issue when you’re a few moments from planetary destruction, the proper word is meteorite,* not asteroid.

  • I will note that I had thought it to be “meteor” but the Wiktionary is saying that that is only referring the the light streak.

I think you mean “meteoroid”, here, Sage Rat. That’s the one smaller than an asteroid.

If it’s an asteroid, it stays as an asteroid even when Earth gets in the way.

“Kyoo no tema wa kore desu!” - “Oooo!”

That was a good video, and thanks for it. I think I got the gist of it without understanding Japanese.

Did I understand a word for “magma” in there?

Anyway:

Meteoroid=A smaller body than an asteroid in space.
Meteor=Same, but falling thru the earth’s atmosphere.
Meteorite=Same, but resting on/in the earth’s surface after impact.

I don’t usually use Wikipedia for cites, but this is not very esoteric, and aligns quite nicely with what I learned in Astronomy class: Defs of meteoroid/meteor/meteorite

Were astronomers able to get any photos?

I don’t think this has ever been formally decided one way or another. The Chicxulub impact was of course the original and eponymic dinosaur killer. Craters resulting from asteroids having impacted earth are astroblemes.

I suspect it may be best to let the survivors of an asteroid impact decide what to call it.

If there are any.

You realize I heard this story on the news about half an hour after finishing reading Heinlein’s The Puppet Masters for the first time? Are we sure this thing didn’t make a landing? :eek:

So that’s what the Chairman’s been saying. The subtitles have it all wrong.

I was wondering–I know that if an asteroid that’s large enough hits the Earth we’re all toast. But how close–without touching–can an asteroid scrape past Earth without killing all or most life on Earth? That would include not boiling away the oceans and atmosphere, thereby consigning people left on Earth to a grim, short existence after witnessing this event. I’m talking about enough of a jolt to startle the inhabitants, not wipe us out.