A Christmas Eve asteroid along the first full moon at Christmas since 1977 means that there’s a lot going on in the sky above the Earth this Christmas holiday! A huge asteroid is on a path to buzz by Earth on Christmas Eve and some doomsday outlooks put this piece of rock as one of the asteroids considered to be “potentially hazardous” to Earth. The trusted folks at NASA don’t see it this way at all, they say the asteroid poses no problem to the planet.
Star Pulse reports on December 16, that NASA is downplaying this asteroid, which is a celestial rock that has scientists “on edge.” NASA reports the asteroid, which measures about 1.5 miles wide, will travel past Earth at the speed of 5 miles per second. Now that’s fast! The key word here is “travel” as it will not come anywhere near close to Earth to collide with the planet.
Star Pulse reports that this asteroid has conspiracy theorists along with “several experts” concerned that this asteroid has the potential to “cause deadly earthquakes and eruptions from dormant volcanoes.” At the same time MSN News reports today that the asteroid is making a pass by Earth at a safe distance offering no worries for the folks down on Earth. They are also going with NASA who sees nothing changing as the asteroid journeys on through!
As News Max reports, whether or not this asteroid poses a threat to Earth apparently “depends upon who you ask.” It also depends upon where you look for your information. The asteroid is estimated to pass an approximate 6.7 million miles of our planet, and that gives it a lot of wiggle room so there’s no need to worry! Eddie Irizarry of the Astronomical Society of the Caribbean puts minds at ease by saying:
“Don’t believe any media suggesting that this space rock may cause earthquakes. Those assertions are misleading and incorrect. Even if 2003 SD220 were passing closer, it’s doubtful earthquakes would result. In fact, there’s no scientific evidence that an asteroid’s flyby can cause any seismic activity, unless it collides with Earth, but — in this case — that clearly will not be the case.”
There’s no need to worry during your Christmas Eve festivities, so enjoy the first full moon at Christmas in the last four decades, sing your carols and whoop it up! A wayward asteroid is not in the cards to disrupt peace on Earth during the holiday!
The asteroid, named 163899, also known as 2003 SD220, will pass by Earth at “a harmless distance of 6.7 million miles–that’s about 28 times as far as the moon,” reports MSN. The radar research group at NASA reports:
The 2015 apparition is the first of five encounters by this object in the next 12 years when it will be close enough for a radar detection. By obtaining radar ranging measurements at each observing opportunity, it may be possible to detect non-gravitational perturbations due to the Yarkovsky effect. If so, then we can obtain an estimate of the object’s mass, information that is invaluable for understanding the object’s bulk density and internal structure.
The Christmas Eve asteroid passing by Earth this Christmas is an important event for NASA. It will allow the space agency to get a closer look at the celestial flying rock, which could be helpful as NASA is considering sending humans to it in the decades to come. Now that they have the scheduled pass-by dates of this asteroid for the future, why not schedule a meet and greet in space for a future fly-by?