Hot on the tail (literally) of the recent Asteroid 2012 DA14 and the russian fireball incident, it looks like 2012 will indeed be the year for these cosmic fireworks! If your in the northern hemisphere you should be able to catch it easily with the naked eye (i.e. no telescope or bino’s) and promises to be the best Comet for quiet a few years.
Called Comet Pan-STARRS or officially C/2011 L4, it should be as bright as a 1st magnitude star for everyone in Europe, North America, Russia, China and the far-east and will reach its closet approach to Earth on 7th March 2013. And if you missed it yesterday, don’t worry, it will be visible for a few more days before reaching its closet approach (perihelion) to the Sun on 10th March in which it may break up. Want to find out how to watch it, then continue reading this post…
Last week I posted a blog on the soon to arrive Asteroid 2012 DA14. Well, today, Friday 15th February 2013 it’s finally here, or shall I say, its closest approach to our Earth. It’s now nearer to us than many communications satellites in Earth orbit and tumbling around at a mind-blowing 20,000 mph.
If it’s a clear night you might just spot a glimpse of the huge rock, around 150 feet wide and will approach Earth at a ‘tiny’ 17,000 miles, in astronomical terms this is right up close. And if you want to get up close and personal to Asteroid 2012 DA14 check out the this blog for a live video feed of the rock, coming to its closest approach 19:24 hrs GMT or 2.24pm EST today..
Gamma Ray Bursts (GRBs) are the most powerful explosions in the universe, fact. They are caused when a massive Star (much bigger than our own Sun) explodes by collapsing in on itself, probably producing a Neutron Star or a massive Black Hole. The result is that a huge amount of energy, in the form of Gamma Rays, X-Rays etc are produced, killing everything in its path for many light-years.
If a GRB does hit Earth, the chances it will cause everything living thing death, a bit like a mass extinction which caused the demise of the Dinosaurs. Now researchers have found the probability of a GRB did indeed hit our Earth way back in the 8th century, and here’s how they know this..
It’s widely know that Asteroids and Comets played a part in wiping out living things on Earth in the distant past, including the Dinosaurs. And next week our Earth gets skimmed (astronomically speaking) by a huge boulder from the depths of our solar system. But according to NASA, the ‘half-the-size’ of a football field rock will miss Earth by ‘just’ 17,200 miles give or take.
If the nights are clear you might just be able to glimpse the boulder as a spec of light, or if NASA (we all hope) are wrong then it might just be the final Friday on Earth as we know it! If you want to know more, get an idea of how close it will pass Earth then read on!