Podcaster: Dr. Al Grauer
Title: Travelers in the Night Eps. 39 & 40: Dash Cams and the Anatomy of An Airburst & Itokawa A Strange Space Peanut
Organization: Travelers in The Night
Organization: Travelers in The Night
Description: Today’s 2 topics:
- Aleksei Dozorov, a motorist in Russia stated “You can get into your car without your pants on, but never get into a car without a dash cam.” This attitude is caused by poor highway law enforcement. It is why many motorists around the Russian city of Chelyabinsk were able to capture images of a huge meteor flying through the sky.
- Itokawa orbits the Sun every 1.5 years on a path which crosses the Earth’s orbit. It’s size and close approaches to Earth make it a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid which deserves special attention.
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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27E – 39 – Dash Cams and the Anatomy of An Airburst
Aleksei Dozorov, a motorist in Russia stated “You can get into your car without your pants on, but never get into a car without a dash cam,” . This attitude is caused by poor highway law enforcement. It is why many motorists around the Russian city of Chelyabinsk [Chel ya binsk] were able to capture images of a huge meteor flying through the sky. This unexpected data source has enabled scientists to understand an event which injured 1491 people on February 15, 2013 .
Additional data came from an array of infrasound detectors around the world. The measurements they made were calibrated by the nuclear test explosions done in the 1950s.
An air blast destroyed many windows and doors because it produced a concussion shock wave similar to a huge nuclear weapon. If the 12,000 ton asteroid traveling at 42,000 mph had entered at a steeper angle the damage would have been much more severe since its blast wave would have been directed towards the ground.
In a recent month we detected 6 objects which passed closer than the Moon as they missed the Earth We simply do not have a good idea of the number of small space rocks which enter the Earth’s neighborhood.
The NASA Near Earth Object Program will have new equipment and telescopes coming on line in the near future. These facilities will enable us to have a far greater chance of providing an early warning should a small space rock be on a collision course with planet Earth. Injuries will then be kept to a minimum when people are warned to stay away from doors and windows.
28E – 40 – Itokawa, A Strange Space Peanut
The asteroid Itokawa [e toe kawa] is as odd as a barbell with a 29 lb weight on one end and and 18 lb weight on the other. It was discovered in 1998 as a moving point of light in the night sky by the LINEAR project in New Mexico. It was named for the Japanese scientist whose rockets put his nations first satellite in orbit in 1970.
Itokawa orbits the Sun every 1.5 years on a path which crosses the Earth’s orbit. It’s size and close approaches to Earth make it a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid which deserves special attention.
In 2001 itokawa was imaged by the NASA Goldstone RADAR telescope and found to be an elongated object approximately 6 football fields long by 3 football fields wide. In 2005 it was visited by the Hayabusa [Hi ya Boos ah] spacecraft which took images and returned samples to Earth for analysis.
Recently Dr. Steven Lowry of Kent University announced that his group has been monitoring the rate of spin of Itokawa for 12 years. Its spin rate is slowly increasing under the influence of sunlight. These measurements along with a knowledge of the asteroid’s shape from spacecraft data reveal that one half of the peanut shaped asteroid is nearly twice as dense the other half. What looks like a simple bolder strewn exterior harbors a very complex internal structure.
It is important to understand this type of double trouble asteroid in case one of them is found to be a collision course with our Planet.
For Travelers in the Night this is Dr. Al Grauer
End of podcast:
365 Days of Astronomy
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