Wednesday, November 9, 2011

ASTEROID! Did You Duck?


Rest in Peace 
Philly Joe Frazier,
Neighborhood Hero, Role Model,
Nurturer of Children & Youth

" People who cannot find time
for recreation
are obliged sooner or later
to find time
for illness. "

John Wanamaker

" A puppy's eyes
are the windows to
your soul. "

My Blog-Invisible Husband

" This is one of those views 
which are so absolutely absurd
 that only very learned men 
could possibly adopt them. "

Bertrand Russell

" The best and most beautiful
things in this world
cannot be seen
 or even heard,
but must be felt
with the heart. "

       Helen Keller

   > < } } ( ° >

That breeze you felt 
was Asteroid 2005 YU55 rushing past us
last night
at 6:28 p.m. EST Tuesday, Nov. 8.
That's 1:28 in my Tuesday afternoon,
Hawaiian Standard Time.

The 1,300-foot wide space object, 
(Bigger than a massive aircraft carrier)
traveling at about 29,000 mph  (8 miles a second!)
"just missed" our Earth
in the closest such interplanetary encounter
  in more than three decades.

It just happens to be (reportedly)
the largest object on record
to pass this close to us
with our foreknowledge.

  Italics mine and a little scared!

This visitor traveled light years to reach us, 
coming as near as 201,700 miles to our Earth.
  She was even closer
than the moon at one point! 

The moon felt a bit insecure for a moment.

So what keeps this thing moving, inertia?

Nope, it's YORP: 

" The … reflection and ... re-emission of sunlight from an asteroid's surface acting as a propulsion engine, " 
according to Finnish researcher
Mikko Kaasalainen of the University of Helsinki. 

The 'Yarkovsky-O'Keefe- Radzievskii-Paddack effect'
works like this:

 1) The asteroid turns
2) sunlight slightly warms each side,
3) which causes it to spin away 
and lose this heat to the chill of space.

Believe it or not,
that tiny spin really accumulates
over the course of trillions of miles or so!

“It’s a small effect on human time scales.
It’s an enormous effect on geological time scales.”
Jean-Luc Margot, a professor of astronomy at Cornell
told the New York Times.

The "feel good" part of the story: 
This thing has flown by the Earth
many times before,
but this is the first time we even noticed it!
Does that make me feel  more or less

So, as the children say:
"Nyah Nyah Nyah,
(with tongue out)

Glad YOU didn't miss today's vist,
Warmly, cloudia