With the New Horizons spacecraft hurtling toward its 2014 encounter with Pluto, and with the Dawn spacecraft now at its most up-close and personal encounter with Vesta, we are in the process of learning scads of information about two objects that are among the least understood and most under-explored bodies in the Solar System.
On November 8th, at 3:28 PM PST, the asteroid "2005 YU55" will pass by the Earth at a distance of just over 200,000 miles, or about 40,000 miles within the Moon's orbit. Fortunately, the asteroid's trajectory is well known, and poses no threat to us (at this time).
News Flash! Asteroid 2008 TC3, on a collision trajectory with Earth, made a meteoric atmospheric entry into the skies above Sudan, Central Africa Tuesday morning, October 7th (local time-about 7:46 PM PDT). Entering the atmosphere at a speed of 12.8 kilometers per second, it exploded with the force of a low-level nuclear bomb…
On July 14th, 2008, an almost Hollywood-like drama took place in space nearby: a "double," or binary, asteroid whizzed past Earth, grazing by at a distance of only 1.4 million miles. One of the rocks is over 200 meters across, the other a whopping 600 meters– about half the size of Half Dome in Yosemite!
This has been a month of dashed hopes for astronomers around the world. Last month it seemed possible that an asteroid the size of a Boeing 737 jet was due to collide with Mars on January 30. Today that seems far less likely, but, as Amy Standen reports, astronomers consider it a wake up call. […]
Victoria Crater on Mars, similar in size to the crater the near-Mars asteroid 2007 WD 5 would have produced. Credit: NASA/Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter The possibility that a sizable asteroid would strike the planet Mars on January 30th temporarily raised the excitement level in the astronomical community to a pretty high level in the last couple […]