Programs 541-570



Travelers In The Night


Image Credit:  NASA



541-Most Dangerous in 2018


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To be Published May 24, 2019
Recorded May
  6, 2019

My Catalina Sky Survey teammate Alex Gibbs found 2018 XV5, the largest potentially hazardous asteroid discovered in 2018  while observing with our 60 inch telescope on Mt. Lemmon, Arizona.  At an estimated diameter of 3,400 feet Alex's discovery is one of the nearly 1,000, known,  1 KM or larger in diameter asteroids whose impact would produce real problems for humanity.   According to the Purdue University and Imperial College of London's Impact calculator an asteroid the size of 2018 XV5 enters the Earth's atmosphere once every 240,000 years or so  releasing the energy of 1,260 megatons of TNT.  If you were 50 miles from the point of such an impact you would experience a 229 mph wind and the effects of a Richter Scale 7.3 magnitude Earthquake.  Glass windows would shatter, multistory buildings would collapse, and up to 90% of the trees around you would be blown down with those left standing being stripped of leaves and branches.  The impact of a large space rock like 2018 XV5 would create a 5.7 mile diameter, 1890 foot deep crater in sedimentary rock.   Fortunately, on its current path, Alex's 3,400 foot whopper cannot come closer than 12.5 times the Moon's distance to humanity.  Not to worry.  Asteroid Hunters have not found a single space rock on a collision path with planet Earth.  

For Travelers in the Night this is Dr. Al Grauer.
Go to travelersinthenight.org program 541 for more information.
© 2019 A. D. Grauer and ℗ 2019 A. D. Grauer


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542-Toughest Asteroid

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To be Published May 31, 2019
Recorded May
  6, 2019

My Catalina Sky Survey teammate Alex Gibbs was observing in the constellation of Crater with our Schmidt telescope on Mt. Bigelow, Arizona when he discovered  2018 GG5.  This amazing asteroid is about 1,200 feet in diameter and orbits the Sun once every 1023 days on a path that takes it from out to between Mars and Jupiter back to only about 28% of Mercury's  distance from our Star.  If you had thumbed a ride on 2018 GG5 on July 16, 2018, as it crossed the Earth's orbit heading away from the Sun you would have been quite a ride.  In early November of 2019 this quarter mile diameter asteroid will have reached its furthest point from the Sun some 359 million miles from our Star.  From this point on the relentless pull of the Sun's gravity begins 2018 GG5 on its next death defying journey.  In late February of 2021 it will have crossed the Earth's orbit heading for our star and on March 31 of 2019, 2018 GG5 will be closest to the Sun and be traveling at 78 miles per second.  At this scorching distance it will receive 12.6 times the radiation that heats the planet Mercury's surface to 800 F.   This hardy space rock has made this trip many times and is likely to be made of extremely tough materials and in the future could prove to be a valuable source of raw materials for human space colonists.

For Travelers in the Night this is Dr. Al Grauer.
Go to travelersinthenight.org program 542 for more information.
© 2019 A. D. Grauer and ℗ 2019 A. D. Grauer


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