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Comet Watch: June 11, 2085?

Regular readers here know that I keep track of reports of possible future asteroid impact.

According to the article "Comet put on list of potential Earth impactors" by David L. Chandler, posted by New Scientist magazine today, Comet Catalina 2005 JQ5 has been added to the list of potentially threatening near-Earth objects.

Usually, when an object that might collide with Earth is first spotted, more observations are taken to rule out the possibility of a collision. However, according to the article, that's not quite what happened with this one:


Astronomers expected the addition of further observations to the calculations to rule out any possibility of a collision, as happens with most newly-seen objects.

But that did not quite happen. The comet's predicted pathway actually drew even closer to making a perfect bull’s-eye with the Earth - its predicted path passes within 1000 kilometres of the where the centre of our 12,700-km-diameter planet will be around that time.


But don't panic yet. The current odds of an impact are 1 in 120 million.
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Actually, those are probably better odds than when I play the PowerBall,.. of course, with my luck, both would hit at once..
You're planning to play the PowerBall in 2085? :-)
Of course I will. I'll only be 118. Why, is there an age limit? :)

Mmmmm...crateriffic.
You want crateriffic? Check out the Earth Impact Effects Program...
Oh, I have. It warms my heart.
So what you're telling me is I should book tickets for the 2084 transit viewing well in advance to beat the leave-Earth rush, and plan for a more extended vacation on Mars than I was already thinking. Thanks!
Um...yeah. Glad you're all set for 2084!

(I'm amused that you put two and two together like that...)
If it makes anyone feel any better, my husband is on the ball, uhh, comet... oh, and asteroid....

He does spectral analysis of potentially hazardous near-Earth asteroids, so that when we find one that definitely is going to hit, we'll know what it's made of so we'll be able to better plan how to mitigate.

Of course, all this assumes a LOT of lead time, and assumes we're watching a LOT of the sky closely. Congress? Funding, anyone?

Interestingly (to me, anyway), a couple of years ago my husband observed what was believed to be a near-Earth asteroid -- then, when it got closer to the sun, it lit up. It was actually a bare comet nucleus. I think it was the first time we had observations of a comet nucleus, because usually the halo precludes observing the nucleus.

Ain't that cool? (says proud wife)
Would you believe I wrote to my congressman once, urging more money for the program to catalog near-Earth asteroids?

Now that I know I have an "in" with the asteroid community, expect me to bug you more often... :-)
I like the way you think!

Now we have two "connections" -- I was the librarian too shy to tell you in advance I was going to be at ALA mid-winter (which is odd, because I'm not usually shy), and now the asteroid thing.... We support many of the same causes, I see!

See you at Worldcon or Nasfic? I know what you look like! (I'm not a stalker so please don't be frightened!)
I remember you posting about having been to ALA after the fact; if I recall, I was said I was sorry you hadn't said hello.

Sadly, we will not be at either Worldcon or NASFiC, as we don't have the money this year for either one. For cons, we're sticking to the local area, so our next one will be Readercon (unless you count a trip to the filk convention Contata).
DUDE YOU'RE FREAKING ME OUT!
West Wing, right? "Memorial Day?" The asteroid episode?
Great. Now I am worried. :-)
Since I'll be closing in on 115 years old at the time, I suspect I may use whatever fortune I have to ensure I'm right in the center of Ground Zero. :)
Meet you at Ground Zero, then? We'll compare cybernetic implants.
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