Halloween Asteroid

Dubbed the Halloween asteroid, media touts 2015 TB145 as the “largest known asteroid to pass Earth until 2027”. At 1:05 pm ET on October 31, 2015 TB145 will pass Earth’s orbit at a distance of 498,896 Km. Estimated to have a diameter somewhere between 4 – 5 hundred meters, science isn’t sure if it’s an asteroid or comet. We know it kicks ass – traveling at 126,000 Km an hour. What we didn’t know before October 10 was that it even existed.

On October 10, 2015 Pan STARRS 1 telescope in Hawaii identified 2015 TB 145. Practically overnight media gave birth to the “Halloween Asteroid”, I suppose no one could blame them, it possesses a certain degree of dramatic flair. Over the past few days “have you heard about the Halloween asteroid?”  spewed from more lips than I could count, unaware their small talk just rang my space bell.

Unable to stop if I tried, ” it was only discovered 3 weeks ago by Pan STARRS and as of today is one of 1,633 PHAs, potentially hazardous asteroids over 100 meters within 100 lunar distance of Earth. A lunar distance is the distance from Earth to the Moon or 384,401 Km, and the Halloween asteroid will miss us by 1.3 lunar distance”.  – befuddled small talkers manage – “oh my, you know a lot about this stuff”. “Yes, I suppose I do”.

Don’t get me wrong, nothing makes me happier than awareness of all things space. Every so often media latches onto space news deemed worthy of a headline or two. What’s sad is the lapse of wonder in between, a seemingly oblivious regard for the cosmos. TB 145 won’t squash Halloween festivities, but would it kill us to ponder our fragile existence?

Artist's concept of a large asteroid passing Earth, via Shutterstock.

Artist’s concept of a large asteroid passing Earth, via Shutterstock.

https://earthsky.org/space/big-asteroid-will-safely-pass-earth-on-halloween-october-31-2015

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4 thoughts on “Halloween Asteroid

  1. Well, spooky astroids or not, every evening when I get out of my car I take a moment to marvel at Venus. The stars may not change from night to night, but seeing Venus doing an “in your face” is enough to stir me out of whatever rouine thought I’m having.

  2. “only discovered three weeks ago…”
    Som
    ehow I think it will be the one we DONT SEE COMING that we should worry about.
    On quite a separate note we spent yesterday at the Aldo Leopold Nature Center — devoted to climate change. This piece about asteroids and meteors has me thinking about the whole wheels within wheels thing.
    At the center they spend significant effort trying to convey that there are two great systems of flow on planet earth. There is the water, responding to earth’s revolution, to heating and cooling as well as submerged landforms that push and smoosh water into directions it’s not inclined to go, causing myriad flows and eddys around the globe. There is also wind — responding to earth’s revolution, to heating and cooling as well as exposed landforms that push and smoosh water into directions it’s not inclined to go, causing myriad flows and eddys around the globe — sounds familiar, right?
    I can’t help think about all the flying “debris” and stuff out there in the universe which also is responding to forces we have no idea about really… no more than we really UNDERSTAND the forces that control water and air flow – we THINK we do, but our models are ultra simple and nowhere near inclusive enough to predict anything.
    As a believer I take great comfort in that. As an observer of scientific fact I’m amazed at how puny we are.

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