A 2001 YB5-like object heads to Earth. In T minus
45 days to the impact:
Astronomers communicate the discovery to the authorities, and alert that something serious is going to happen. People are unaware of it throughout the world. They continue their business as usual.
40 days to the impact:
The astronomers predict that the impact will be on the southern Atlantic.The governments of the area communicate the people, as martial law is adopted to avoid turmoil. The coastal regions are evacuated, even in North America and Europe.
3 days to the impact:
Nothing special seem to happen in the sky. Everything seems to be ok. But zooming at 80 thousand kph a monster looms in the major scopes worldwide.
1 day to the impact:
Still there is nothing to the naked eye. People start to think "is the government lying to us for some reason? Is this a kind of joke?". Just in case they party everywhere, celebrating the last day. In places like Brazil, Argentina, Africa, 150 M people will die next 24 hours, from the direct impact. Brazil managed to remove a large population to the hinterlands, but his won't help. The total toll may reach 250 M, maybe 300 M, from secondary causes, in every corner of the world. Add to it the damage inflicted to the biosphere.
10 hours to the impact:
The object reaches 12th magnitude. Though it's clearly visible to large backyard scopes, there's nothing out there for one to see. A vigil is ordered by the leaders of all religions. A revelation will be granted to mankind today. The world will never be the same.
4 hours to the impact:
The God's hammer is inside the border of the system Earth-Moon. In the night side of the planet, people in favorable conditions try in vain to spot the thing with the unaided eye.
Now is 10:00 pm in India, and people have a priviledged view of the show: a fast moving faint star glowing steadily. In the spot of the fall will be 6:03 pm local time, when the shooting star touches down.
The asteroid became a 5th magnitude star in the sky of India, moving faster and faster. A solid point of light with increasing brightness.
Not showing a visible disk, a frightening scene in the sky. Now the people realize great loss to come, and how ridiculous are the all differences between nations.
20.000 kilometers away it shines as bright as Sirius. Even in the south Atlantic late afternoon.
The people of South Africa are the only one to see a star ten times as bright as sirius as it passes at the zenith, flying fast 200 km high, 3000 kilometers from the fatal point.
The cameras aboard a (expendable) scientific ship in the mid-Atlantic, 650 km from ground-zero, register the potato shape (impossible to distinguish with the anaided eye) of the rock, flying 40 km high.
A high speed, ultra sensitive camera on board the ISS shoots a giant ball frozen 50 m above the sea level. A water crater is noticeable, dug by the compressed air ahead of the rock. It will be the astronomy photo of the year.
T plus ten minutes:
A 5 km-high wave is heading to the eastern shores of the Americas and Western Africa, at 1500 kph.
All this (not rigorous) tale to show that few people will actually realize the approach of a 300-meter space rock. If one of them striked the Earth, the people would only see the effects of the collision. The real visual show will last roughly 2 minutes, to a selected audience at ground zero, as the rock makes its final dive into the atomsphere. Since about 100 % of the rocks that hit Earth are smaller than 300 m, we conclude that the average "mass life-extinguisher" objects offer a poor display to the common stargazer.
<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Argos on 2002-01-11 10:25 ]</font>