Killer Asteroid; Impact Earth, Nov 2019

Infra-red picture showing aftermath of explosive strike (White spot area)
(photo Courtesy NASA)        

Jupiter was recently hit by a destructive and powerful asteroid or comet.  The impact was discovered by amateur astronomer Anthony Wesley  19 July 2009 from his backyard in small town, Murrumbateman, Queensland Australia. Using his telescope he photographed a dark scar in Jupiter's clouds.  (Photo is infrared and dark scar shows as bright white spot).

NASA astronomers confirmed the hit.  It has been estimated that the killer asteroid was the size of several football pitches.  The force of the explosion was thousands of times more powerful then the asteroid which exploded over the Tunguska River Valley in Siberia in June 1908, since known as the Tunguska Asteroid

The scar on Jupiter's cloud tops is about 6,000 miles long by 2,000 wide. Considering the distance between London and Sydney Australia is a little over 10,000miles, if this meteoroid had struck the Earth, its impact effect would stretch almost halfway round the world. We have serious reasons to be concerned.

Impacts and events like this are important to astronomers, but also highly important for residents of Earth. if such an object struck the Earth it would cause catastrophic damage and death. Global communications would be disrupted, medical aid would be minimal and disease would spread killing survivors. The air at the impact site would be turned into Plasma. A plume of debris, molten rock and large boulders would be spewed into the atmosphere and rain down killing more people. Particles of fine dust would linger high in the stratosphere filtering sunlight affecting Earth's climate and possible cause another Ice-Age.

  Killer asteroid heading to Earth. picture courtesy Big Future

Right now heading our way is 'asteroid 2002 N7' and is due 1st February 2019. Striking the Earth at 64,000 mph would cause an explosive force of 1.2 million megatons of TNT.

Impacts involving comets or asteroids over half-mile-wide (1 km) can cause widespread destruction and destroy 95% of living life, including humans. The '2002 N7' asteroid heading our way is double that size at 1.2 miles-wide (2km).

NASA have said that there is only a slim chance of 2002 N7 striking the Earth and have put the odds at 250,000 to 1. However NASA's department of Near Earth Objects (NEO) has identified 448 other serious potential threats, with 37 being Near Earth Asteroids (NEA).   No government of the world has seriously considered or funded ways of  defending the Earth and although The United States Congress budgets $3 million a year for the NEO programme, it falls far short of what is needed. In spite of this NASA have developed a detection system named Sentry, an automatic Impact Monitoring System.  For each Near-Earth-Asteroid (NEA) approaching us, Sentry detects it and the NEO department assigns a number from zero to ten according to the threat level. They use a system of measurement called the Torino Impact Hazard Scale. Zero shows a small chance of collision, while ten is certain. Asteroid 2002 N7 has been given a 1 ranking, meaning it needs careful monitoring. I would keep my eyes open tonight for that bright object in the sky might just be about to vaporise you.

Colin T.McDonough