Podcaster: Dr. Al Grauer
Title: Travelers in the Night Eps. 237E & 238E: Tough Tourist & Born Wild
Organization: Travelers in The Night
Description: Today’s two stroy:
- Rocky metallic asteroid can stand the heat. A block and a half sized asteroid, 2016 GX221, makes visits to Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, and Jupiter
- Jupiter and Saturn helped to produce where we live. Our home planet was formed after a period of chaos in the solar system. Today our solar system is a pretty calm place. However, meteorites we find on Earth as well as the cratering we observe on our Moon, Mercury, Mars, and other bodies suggest that our solar system was born wild and stayed that way for a while. There is also the puzzling fact that our sparsely packed inner solar system is very different from the densely packed, close in, planetary systems which have formed about nearby stars
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.
Today’s sponsor: Big thanks to our Patreon supporters this month: Paul M. Sutter, Chris Nealen, Frank Frankovic, Frank Tippin, Jako Danar, Michael Freedman, Nik Whitehead, Rani Bush, Ron Diehl, Steven Emert, Brett Duane, Don Swartwout, Vladimir Bogdanov, Steven Kluth, Steve Nerlich, Phyllis Foster, Michael W, James K Wood, Katrina Ince, Cherry Wood.
Please consider sponsoring a day or two. Just click on the “Donate” button on the lower left side of this webpage, or contact us at email@example.com.
Or please visit our Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/365DaysOfAstronomy
237E – Tough Tourist
For all but about 2 weeks out of every 46 months , the five hundred foot diameter asteroid which my Catalina Sky Survey teammate, Carson Fuls discovered, remains too faint to detect as it travels about the Sun.
In the 12 days before it made its closest approach to Earth, Carson’s new space rock brightened more than one hundred times as it approached us from the direction of the Sun. After Carson discovered this relatively large space rock streaking away from planet Earth at nearly 18 miles per second, it was observed by telescopes in Arizona, New Zealand, Illinois, and South Africa. Scientists at the Minor Planet Center were able to use these data to calculate its orbit, estimate its size, and give it the name 2016 GX221.
2016 GX221 must be made of rocky material since at its closest point to the Sun it receives more than one and a half times more energy than what heats the surface of the planet Mercury to a temperature of 800F. It could even be made of a mixture of expensive metals like platinum, gold, silver, and much less rare metals like iron and nickel.
Currently 2016 GX221 is no threat to planet Earth since its orbit never puts it closer than about seven times the Moon’s distance from us. The fact that it can come close to Mercury, Venus, Earth, our Moon, Mars, and Jupiter means that its orbit will be changed by one of these encounters. It may eventually hit the Sun, a planet, or perhaps be ejected from our solar system. Only time will tell.
238E – Born Wild
Today our solar system is a pretty calm place. However, meteorites we find on Earth as well as the cratering we observe on our Moon, Mercury, Mars, and other bodies suggest that our solar system was born wild and stayed that way for a while. There is also the puzzling fact that our sparsely packed inner solar system is very different from the densely packed, close in, planetary systems which have formed about nearby stars.
Dr. Konstantin Batygin of CalTech and Dr. Gregory Laughlin, University of California at Santa Cruz, have published a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in which they present the results of calculations which simulate how our solar system was formed. Their work suggests that the giant planet Jupiter migrated from farther out than where it is now to only about one and a half times the Earth’s distance from the Sun. In the process Jupiter’s gravity spun most of the tightly clustered inner massive planets into our Sun. Later under the influence of the newly formed planet Saturn, Jupiter was drawn back to about five times the Earth’s distance from the Sun where we find it today. The material Jupiter left behind in the inner solar then formed into the small rocky worlds Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars.
Take time to look up the current positions of Jupiter and Saturn on the web. They are bright enough to be seen even from within a light polluted city. As you gaze at these distant gas giants you might say thank you for the part they played in to producing the place where you are standing today.
For Travelers in the Night this is Dr. Al Grauer.
365 Days of Astronomy
The 365 Days of Astronomy Podcast is produced by Planetary Science Institute. Audio post-production by Richard Drumm. Bandwidth donated by libsyn.com and wizzard media. You may reproduce and distribute this audio for non-commercial purposes.
This show is made possible thanks to the generous donations of people like you! Please consider supporting to our show on Patreon.com/365DaysofAstronomy and get access to bonus content.
After 10 years, the 365 Days of Astronomy podcast is entering its second decade of sharing important milestone in space exploration and astronomy discoveries. Join us and share your story. Until tomorrow! Goodbye!