Sep 29th: Slow Movers At The Edge & The Big Ones

By on September 29, 2019 in
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Podcaster: Dr. Al Grauer

travelers-in-the-night

Title: Travelers in the Night Eps. 37 & 38: Slow Movers At The Edge & The Big Ones

Organization: Travelers in The Night

Link : Travelers in the Night ; @Nmcanopus

Organization: Travelers in The Night

Link : Travelers in the Night ; @Nmcanopus

Description: Today’s 2 topics:

  • Imagine a world that is so far from our Sun that it receives less than 1/5,000 of the heat and light that makes our life possible. If you were standing on it, you could cover the Sun with the tip of a ball point pen held at arms length.
  • Dr. Grauer discovered 2014 GM1, the second Km sized near Earth asteroid to be identified in 2014, while observing with the Catalina Sky Survey telescope on Mt. Lemmon in Arizona.

Bio: Dr. Al Grauer is currently an observing member of the Catalina Sky Survey Team at the University of Arizona.  This group has discovered nearly half of the Earth approaching objects known to exist. He received a PhD in Physics in 1971 and has been an observational Astronomer for 43 years. He retired as a University Professor after 39 years of interacting with students. He has conducted research projects using telescopes in Arizona, Chile, Australia, Hawaii, Louisiana, and Georgia with funding from NSF and NASA.

He is noted as Co-discoverer of comet P/2010 TO20 Linear-Grauer, Discoverer of comet C/2009 U5 Grauer and has asteroid 18871 Grauer named for him.

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Transcript:

25E37 – Slow Movers At The Edge

Imagine a world that is so far from our Sun that it receives less than 1/5000 of the heat and light that makes our life possible. If your were standing on it,  you could cover the Sun with the tip of a ball point pen held at arms length.

Going out from our Sun in our Solar System, first we find the rocky planets like Earth,  then the gas giant planets including Jupiter, and finally the Kuiper belt objects with Pluto its most famous example . Beyond that, Astronomers have envisioned a region called the Oort Cloud which is the likely source of an occasional comet. 

Recently Astronomers Dr. Trujillo and Dr. Sheppard used observations made in 2012 and 2013 to identify a 250 mile diameter slow moving object. At its closest approach to the Sun is twice as far as Pluto.  It is so distant that it takes 4313 Earth years to make one trip around the Sun.  Dr. Mike Brown found the first object in what was  thought to be an empty region between the Kuiper belt and the Oort cloud in 2004.  He named it Sedna after the Inuit goddess who created the sea creatures of the Arctic.  At -400 Fahrenheit it has an extremely cold surface. Sedna is approximately 600 miles in diameter and orbits the Sun in a very elliptical path every 11,400 years.

How many icy objects like these two exist and where they come from remain open questions. A tantalizing computer simulation hints at the existence of a dim unseen planet having the mass of 5 Earths located 23 billion miles from the Sun. 

26E – 38 – The Big Ones

One million human lifetimes ago an asteroid impact was at least partially responsible for eliminating the dinosaurs.  This event has allowed our race to evolve to its present state.

A 1km diameter asteroid is 3 times the length of USS Enterprise aircraft carrier.  If an asteroid this size or larger were to enter the Earth’s atmosphere, it is likely to be traveling at more than 25,000 miles per hour, and would probably trigger global climate change.

Recently I discovered 2014 GM1. It is the second Km sized near Earth asteroid to be identified in 2014. I found it while observing with the NASA funded Catalina Sky Survey telescope on Mt. Lemmon in Arizona. Fortunately it never comes closer to the Earth than about 22 million miles as it orbits the Sun on a path from closer than Mars to 3/4 of the way to Jupiter.   2014 GM1 is  number 862 in the list 1 KM or larger Earth approaching asteroids which have been discovered. Statistical analysis suggests that there are about 1000 of these objects. The asteroid hunters have thus fulfilled the Congressional mandate to discover 90% of these large asteroids.
Those of us in the asteroid hunting community are also looking for the near Earth asteroids whose impact would leave a hurricane sized foot print on the Earth’s surface or produce a mega tsunami if it landed in the Ocean.  We are searching the skies  to provide the warning time necessary to mitigate the effects of an asteroid impact.     

2014 GM1 is  number 862 in the list 1 KM or larger Earth approaching asteroids which have been discovered. Statistical analysis suggests that there are about 1000 of these objects. The asteroid hunters have thus fulfilled the Congressional mandate to discover 90% of these large asteroids.
Those of us in the asteroid hunting community are also looking for the near Earth asteroids whose impact would leave a hurricane sized foot print on the Earth’s surface or produce a mega tsunami if it landed in the Ocean.  We are searching the skies  to provide the warning time necessary to mitigate the effects of an asteroid impact.     

For Travelers in the Night this is Dr. Al Grauer

End of podcast:

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