Lack of Environment

A blog on the politics and psychology underlying the denial of all our environmental problems

They came from the sky

with 17 comments

UPDATE 2300 hrs UTC: I have amended this post to include a Russian TV news report and explanation of events. The commentary states that the DA14 asteroid is the size of an olympic swimming pool (i.e. 50m in length).

On the day that we were waiting expectantly for an asteroid to come within 17 thousand miles of the Earth’s surface (i.e. a distance equivalent to about twice its diameter), the poor DA14 asteroid has been completely upstaged by a meteorite (shower?) in Russia.

The main meteor streakes across the early morning sky burning up in the process:

How the events were reported on Russian TV:

James Hansen has described anthropogenic climate disruption as an approaching asteroid that we have failed to see and failed to prevent impacting the planet.

If I were a superstitious person, I must confess I would be tempted to ask whether this near miss of an asteroid and actual impact of a meteorite are some kind of warning.

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Written by Martin Lack

15 February 2013 at 19:22

17 Responses

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  1. Could it not be connected with the Pope’s resignation from the “holy office”?Yet another sign from the creator;a sequel to the cloud by day and pillar of fire by night.The only sure method of protection is circumcision!The old jews practised this with apparent success!

    Thomas Foster

    15 February 2013 at 20:38

    • What’s this, a new identity? You saw the lighting strike on St Peter’s Basilica then? Could it be that God slipped-up on this occasion? On the night that the South Transept of York Minster burnt down (after the appointment of the Bishop of Durham) no-one could recall any lightning in the area.

      Martin Lack

      15 February 2013 at 21:36

  2. I’ve had similar “if I was superstitious” moments. The never ending drought in Texas. Hurricane Sandy. Winter Storm Nemo. If I believed in God, I’d believe he was trying to tell the Americans something.

    By the way, did we know this meteor was coming? Seems like we were caught with our pants down…

    jpgreenword

    15 February 2013 at 22:06

    • I think it is an example of the kind of thing we cannot see coming because it is too small… DA14 (50m in diameter) was spotted 12 months ago and, as I have said to Paul Handover, they could have discovered it was on a collision course with a major city, which would have required wholesale evacuation… Highly improbable I know but so is winning the lottery and yet many people do it…

      Martin Lack

      15 February 2013 at 22:30

      • Interesting. Thanks for the info.

        jpgreenword

        15 February 2013 at 22:34

      • I find it amusing that in the second clip, the journalist refers to ‘another meteor’ (DA14) and then says that it’s ‘an unrelated incident’. It’s clearly no such thing: I’m no astrophysicist, but it’s clear enough that DA14 is obviously attended by several other bodies too small to track, and our Earth is passing/ has passed through the field — in much the same way as the Perseid and Leonid meteor showers happen every year.

        pendantry

        16 February 2013 at 11:50

        • Hi Pendantry. Thanks for this comment. I am no expert either but, came to the same conclusion as Russian TV because… The small meteor shower arrived first and appears to have travelled north to south across the sky (left to right when looking into the early morning Sun). Even though the Earth spins on its axis, this seems (to me) to be completely incompatible with DA14, which I believe passed from south to north some 12 hours later…? NASA’s Near Earth Object people can probably answer this question…

          Martin Lack

          16 February 2013 at 14:00

        • Assuming that the directions haven’t been misreported (and my estimation of journalistic accuracy in general isn’t high); this is pure conjecture on my part, but perhaps the body that slammed into our atmosphere was a satellite of DA14. If that’s the case, it could have hit us at any angle.

          pendantry

          16 February 2013 at 18:03

        • Dear Pendantry, I think I could easily be wrong about the trajectory of the meteorite. Out walking today, it occurred to me that this was almost impossible to determine from the video I have seen. Therefore, if the trajectory was parallel to that of the asteroid, you may be right to conclude the two were related. However, the two were definitely not one and the same thing: They were 12 hours apart and, had it been on a collision course, DA14 would have made a crater the size of that in Arizona http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meteor_Crater

          Martin Lack

          16 February 2013 at 18:54

        • Didn’t say they were one and the same /shrug

          pendantry

          16 February 2013 at 20:22

        • Did you not suggest that it was DA14 that had slammed into the Earth yesterday?

          Martin Lack

          16 February 2013 at 20:37

        • Don’t think so :)

          pendantry

          16 February 2013 at 20:39

        • You said, “perhaps the body that slammed into our atmosphere was a satellite of DA14″… If you meant part of a debris field, that may be possible (even though it arrived 12 hours before DA14). However, if you mean genuine satellite, I think this is highly improbable for an object the size of an Olympic swimming pool (i.e. 50m diameter).

          Martin Lack

          16 February 2013 at 20:44

        • Good grief, Martin, why so argumentative? First you claim I said that DA14 hit Earth, which I didn’t (apology would be good before going further), now you’re whittering on about whether or not a mass in space can have a satellite, and if so, how far from its parent it can be, when neither of us are experts in the field. (My non-expert tuppence says that it doesn’t matter if it’s the size of an olympic swimming pool or a bathtub, it can still have satellites.)

          pendantry

          16 February 2013 at 21:08

        • OK, I’m sorry; I was mistaken! There, do you feel better now? I suggest we stop this discussion; and go an look up the answer on a reputable website like that of NASA’s Near Earth Object Program.

          Martin Lack

          16 February 2013 at 21:12

        • pendantry

          16 February 2013 at 21:28

        • Time to take a break: (Fair Warning – contains adult humour).

          Martin Lack

          16 February 2013 at 21:31


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