CNN Expert: Asteroid will miss us “by about 15 minutes” next week — Would flatten around 1,200 sq. miles — Coming closer than TV satellites (VIDEO)

Published: February 9th, 2013 at 6:02 pm ET


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Source: CNN
Date: Feb. 9, 2013

Bill Nye, Planetary Society CEO: Next Friday, the 15th of February […] This asteroid is about the same size as the one that made the crater in Meteor Crater, Arizona — as the one that created the Tunguska event in Siberia in 1908.

If such a meteor where to hit Atlanta, or New York City, or Boston that would be it for those municipalities. 2,000 square kilometers , 1,200 square miles — something like that — destroyed, flattened, ruined. […]

This one will miss us by about 15 minutes. 15 minutes difference and that’s it. […]

The chances of it happening are pretty high, surprisingly high when compared with getting struck by lightning or getting in a car wreck, especially if you consider getting in a car wreck over 100 years. […]

This is some really serious business. It’s coming closer than the satellites that are providing the CNN broadcast around the country and around the world right now. These satellites are at 22,000 miles, 36,000 km, and this thing is coming 17,000 miles. Closer than the satellites. […]

Watch the video here

Published: February 9th, 2013 at 6:02 pm ET


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21 comments to CNN Expert: Asteroid will miss us “by about 15 minutes” next week — Would flatten around 1,200 sq. miles — Coming closer than TV satellites (VIDEO)

  • Does he mean 15 min of arc (not time)?

    Here's a video of the flight path:

    For those kids who always asked: "What good is math anyway?", imagine if they got the flight path wrong.

    What if it hits a nuclear-powered satellite on the way through?:

    Nuclear Reactors for Space
    [nuclear-powered satellites]

    • 16Penny 16Penny

      That satellite stuff is scary.

      How much effect will the gravitational pull from Earth/Moon have on something this fast? I wonder how accurate their modeling of the gravity effects is. Guess we will find out.

      One of the astronauts in the International Space Station should do a walk and shoot it with a bb gun or something. 🙂


      Arc is more correct. An asteroid of such small dimensions poses little threat, mainly because of its trajectory. There is a time deferential involved, and it is true, timing is everything. As you can see at the beginning of the animation, that it had Earth dead center in it's sights.

      Yet the orbit path taken by Earth around the Sun moves us away before the bullseye is targeted. Kind of like Lucy pulling the football away just as Charlie Brown is about to kick it.

      Main thing is that it will be glancing off our magnetic sheath, and will definitely perturb the fields, and hopefully, not during a solar event. There is a CME impacting us on the 12th, but should be clear of us by then. What effect it will have on the asteroid is unclear. After all, all propuslion is an electrical field property traveling within the plasmatic medium.

      I do believe we will see a very great light show above what mainstream scientists project, for an asteroid is almost 60% perfect cathode. There will definitely be a reaction. I expect it to be spectacular enough to even see with the naked eye, in places where the atmosphere is actually clear enough to see. A cheap telescope would yield awesome results, I think.

      If possible watch for the cathode effect when closer to the anode, (Sun), with a great fireworks display in the heavens. If the CME doesn't slightly alter its trajectory and slam it into a satellite. Opps, there went the cable TV!

      • Pierpont

        Here’s the JPL model, FreeRox, with all the parameters so you can do the calculations yourself. I just ran them.;orb=1

        It’s 15 minutes as in tic toc, PU, give or take a few minutes. The rock passes through Earth’s orbit twice in its own orbit. This time it will whiz through Earth’s orbit from below (taking N as “up”) just 15 minutes before Earth gets to that spot, and with a little luck it’ll be just barely out of the way before Earth gets there.

        The JPL model in the link above has a video showing the asteroid and Earth actually colliding if you use high zoom, but that’s probably an error. Maybe someone plugged in miles instead of kilometers in a formula like they did on that Mars shot about 10 years ago. So the JPL guys still have some work to do on that model. No NEO of this size has ever come this close in recorded history, so there’s a bit a leeway in the calculations as the asteroid-nerds are still sharpening their prediction skills. Most of the time they’re within 10 minutes or so, so we should be right.

        Of course, nobody even saw this thing until last Feb., so they really don’t know what the hell they’re doing, but they want you to think your tax money is being competently spent. As you can see from the JPL site, the “fit RMS” is .33408, which means the calculations have over a 33% chance of being close. Bruce Willis is on stand-by.

        • Pierpont

          But if, by chance, there is an impact, look for it Feb15 at 2:24pm EST, give or take 20 minutes, so the Dow will have time to absorb the news (and the impact) before closing for the weekend. That time is based on JPL ephemeris ID of DE405, and a Feb09.13 solution date, JPL’s most recent. Hopefully we’ll get an update on the solution in time to kiss our asses goodbye if it changes much.

          Seriously, even if the JPL dudes are off by 20 minutes, this will be no Chicxulub event. DA14 is no more than 80 m wide and traveling a mere 28008 km/hr. Besides, if it hits dirt it’ll be Australia’s, so who cares? The dinosaurs are long gone anyway, and Steinlager is made in NZ.

          • FREEDOMROX

            LOL, true. You know either way…not much we can do about it. I have run the sims and I have run the numbers. I think they are off, but more to the whizzing by ratio.
            You are correct about the time dilation factor, for that is all that saves us from a certain impact.

            I thought I explained that above, but sorry if not clear.

    • Jay

      I think is minutes as in Time because the Reference point from which the Arc would be measured is not given nor is universal .

      Ya , it's like going through an intersection and 15 minutes later this house goes through at over 1,000 Km/Hr .

      But what if it drops in the Atlantic or Pacific > how many nuclear plants are strung along those shores ? How about over 30 Fukushimas at once ?

      Did any scientists talked about if we could destroy it with anti-balistic missiles ?

  • Yet, another reason not build Nuclear Power Plants.

    Even though the long term, low probability, RISK of an asteroid hit is small. It still happens. We know this.

    In the USA the entire east coast is lined with these Death Machines.

    IMO – Coming down in the Atlantic would be the worst case scenario.

  • Johnny Blade Johnny Blade

    @PU-239;Hopefully despite having my own perception of,and faith in scientific findings at an all-time low of late,maybe astronomy and whatever agencies dealing with NEO's have got their trajectory plots right & if not we'll know about it too!!(??) I read something a while back that said the event would be broadcast live on the news globally via a network of telescopes in locations closest to the projected path.Kinda scary but one of the rare "worthwhile" televised event I'd consider a must see!
    Also liked the nuke spacecraft link btw-THANKS! I always thought the only place nukes might be a viable and efficient resource is in "outer"space and NEVER on or even near the Earth!! I was reminded of Project Orion in it's 1st configuration using baby-nukes to blast it around via series of timed mini-nukes ejected from and detonated behind the spacecraft by the force of the explosions against the aft structure's strong,blast/propulsion shield except the 1st one also would've contaminated the planet badly since it also uses baby-nukes to make several high-speed orbits until it blasts away out of the earth's gravity!!(?)~INSANE!~

  • Mack Mack

    If you get a chance, read these excellent essays on nuclear in space, written by Karl Grossman.

    NASA and Nukes: A Recipe for Disaster

    More pressure put on nuclear applications in space

    The Deadly Danger Plutonium-Fueled Mars Rover Has Posed

    "Don't Do Disney…"

    • WindorSolarPlease

      Thanks Mack for the links.
      Let's spread the radiation some more (sarc).

    • Johnny Blade Johnny Blade

      Thanks for the links Mack. After the first one I'd shed myself of any notion that nukes have ANY useful reasons to exist worth the risk it poses and I don't like the odds associated with this game of nuclear Chance even for space propulsion and/or power systems upon reviewing the facts! Nukes suck no matter what they're used for! Thanks again for the insightful links!~ :* ~**

      • Mack Mack

        You're welcome WSP & JB. (Hope all is well with you and yours.)

        Can you believe they have put 10.6 pounds of Plutonium on Mars?

        And China plans to launch a nuclear-battery-powered rover for the Moon, and in 2018, Russia plans to launch a nuclear-powered rocket.

  • TomSmall

    If they knew it was going to hit, do you really think they would tell us?

    If an airplane is going to crash, do the stewards tell the passengers. Of course not! They would see no point in doing that; it's their job to comfort the passengers.

    From the government's point of view, what's the use in telling the population if an asteroid is going to hit? Especially when they're not sure exactly where. Telling us would just cause panic, and make their job more difficult.

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    Aren't there some folks talking about mining these asteroids?

    Asteroid mining is back in fashion (unlike the tank top)
    Deep Space Industries has put itself in a race with Planetary Resources, Inc. to mine an asteroid commercially by 2020
    Jan. 23 2013

    Seems they better hurry..when is the payload to be delivered?..and where?

    • davidh7426 davidh7426

      Sorry HR, but just when was the Tank top EVER IN fashion.

      If this thing DOES hit, at least they wont have to leave the planet to mine it, just dig it up.

      • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

        This was posted as sarcasm..
        Asteroids travel at approx. 30 km. per second.
        Happy landings..(also sarcasm)

  • hbjon hbjon

    Find out where the smartest astronomers are going for a winter vacation. This clockwork universe is sure a chaotic place. Good luck all.

  • BigLoner

    I like the way talking heads say its trajectory 'is well known' as if a year since discovery they know all about it. How about some other variables as well like last minute goofy magnetometer readings or Coronal Mass Ejacu…er..Ejection. Sunspot 1654 is coming to bear Tues/Wed. What speed is a C or X flair? 1.5 – 2MM MPH, i.e. 45 – 60 hour travel time? That stuff can & does push satellite orbits down so why not affect asteroids as well? How can anyone really say. The guy who said 'God himself couldn't sink her forgot to DOH! put caps on the bulkheads

    Its 'only' 130,000 – 150,000 tons / three Titanics or 1.5 USS Enterprise. Still, nothing in recorded history comes close except the Siberian 1908 air burst, or eons back the great Arizona crater.

    What would be cool is if the thing hit City of London ( not THE city, but rather the massive financial center, a square within a square, built by the Rothschild / 'red shield' dynasty. Any other Brussels / Tel Aviv / Wall Street / NY Fed / Synagogue of Satan hub would be good as well. Ought oh, Spagetti Oh! I feel a preach ( Daniel 2 v31 -45 ) coming on. It would be for the better of all if neo-Babylon were smashed to pieces by a 'stone not made from hands…' but alas not likely the case.

    As Jack Horkheimer, Watcher of the Stars sez, 'Greeting fellow star gazers. Tonite we'll study ur anus. Until next week, walk like a dork & keep looking up!

    Kind of on topic, but what can you expect with Augsburger Draft…

  • BigLoner


  • We Not They Finally

    It cant be all bad?What if the asteroid hits the earth and sets off the coming pole shift? We will no longer have to deal with politics or worrying about doomsday or caring about the future of earth.We have no where to go but to a more sane planet somewhere out there where the occupants maybe sane and wise and live in a beautiful situation….Some call it heaven…