Posted by BC on January 24th, 2008
I frequently receive inquiries from people with questions about sky happenings, since I am the public contact where I work. The most recent question came from a panicked person who heard that an asteroid was predicted to collide with Earth in a few days. This person wanted to know why nothing was reported on the news and why people weren’t worried. (S)He sent a link to a web site that had information on it, so I checked the site out and determined that a sensationalist had written some preliminary information and had made incorrect determinations on how close the asteroid will come.
The real story is that Asteroid 2007 TU24 will come within 1.4 lunar distances to Earth on 2008 Jan. 29 08:33 UT. The asteroid will be at about 10th magnitude at the time of close approach and should be visible through modest telescopes. The closeness of the asteroid will not cause any affect on Earth.
More information, maps and images of Near Earth Objects can be found on the NEO Program site.
4 people have commented
Dorthy Morabito said,
January 26th, 2008 @ 7:08 pm
Where in the sky would be the best place to look for the asteroid? North, south etc, near which planet? Close to the moon? Thank you.
January 26th, 2008 @ 9:18 pm
The asteroid will be in the northern sky. Skyandtelescope.com has a pretty good chart.
January 28th, 2008 @ 7:21 pm
Update on the close passage can be found at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2008-014
Lana Ginger said,
February 3rd, 2008 @ 9:39 pm
Well, what about Apophis and Nibiru? Are you telling the people about that so that they can survive what’s comming? Nibiru is December 2012. Apophis is 2029 & 2036.