Podcaster: Dr. Al Grauer
Title: Travelers in the Night Eps 139E & 140E: A Climate Changer & Big and Bad
Organization: Travelers in The Night
Description: Today’s 2 topics:
- It should be stressed that the asteroid hunting community has not found an object like 2015 HY116 which is on a collision course with planet Earth. If we do, we hope to provide a minimum of days to weeks notice so that the affected area can be evacuated.
- Rik Hill discovered 2015 JJ and Rose Matheny discovered 2015 JD1 and 2015 JV.
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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139E: A Climate Changer
The asteroid hunting community has discovered more than 90% of the 1 KM or larger asteroids whose impact could cause global climate change.
Recently the PanSTARRS group in Hawaii discovered a new large potentially hazardous asteroid.
It is the 872nd, 1 KM sized asteroid to be discovered and has a diameter of approximately 10 football fields. When humans first spotted it this asteroid was more than 1.5 times the distance to our Sun from us. It was traveling towards Earth at almost 13 miles per second. Observations by telescopes in Arizona, Hawaii, and Germany were used to discover it’s orbit around the Sun. The Minor Planet Center gave it the name 2015 HY116.
Fortunately this large Earth Approaching Object never gets closer to us than about 19 times the distance to our Moon. If it did collide with planet Earth it would released 850 times the energy of the most powerful hydrogen bomb ever exploded and produce a crater 8 or 9 miles in diameter. It is about the minimum size for an impacting object to produce global climate change. Statistical studies predict such an impact every 500,000 years or so.
It should be stressed that the asteroid hunting community has not found an object like 2015 HY116 which is on a collision course with planet Earth. If we do, we hope to provide a minimum of days to weeks notice so that the affected area can be evacuated.
140E: Big and Bad
Within the space of a couple of days my Catalina Sky Survey teammates Rik Hill and Rose Matheny discovered three new potentially dangerous asteroids.
Rik’s discovery was named 2015 JJ. It travels about the Sun, in a bit over a year, on a somewhat unusual path that takes it from about 20% outside to about 10% inside that of the Earth’s orbit. Further observations by telescopes at more than a dozen locations around the globe refined its orbit and its size estimate was reduced about 5%. It is thus slightly smaller than is required for it to be classified as a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid. Even so it bears watching since it can come closer to us than our Moon.
Rose Matheny discovered two potentially hazardous asteroids 2015 JD1 and 2015 JV. The largest 2015 JD1, is about 850 feet in diameter and orbits the Sun in about 1.34 years. It gets the biggest baddest award, since when it crosses the Earth’s orbit it is traveling at more than 32 miles/second relative to us. Fortunately it never gets closer to us than about 9 times the distance to our Moon.
Rose’s other Potentially Hazardous Asteroid, 2015 JV is about half the size of the larger one.
The asteroid hunting community will continue to track these asteroids to make sure that their paths are not changed to make them a threat.
For Travelers in the Night this is Dr. Al Grauer.
End of podcast:
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