Asteroid Close Encounter on Monday


An asteroid, just discovered, will speed precariously close to Earth at 15-thousand miles per hour during Monday, June 27, at a distance of only 7,500 miles.

The time of close encounter will be 1 p.m. EDT (17:00 UT). The actual event will be observable only from South Africa and parts of Antarctica, but the approach will be visible across Australia, New Zealand, southern and eastern Asia, and the western Pacific.

The asteroid, named ‘2011 MD’ may be ‘only’ 20 meters in diameter (about 65 feet), certainly not a major threat to the planet. However it is curious to plug-in the hypothetical calculations to discover what effect a direct hit would have on us here on Earth.

Calculations based on program developed at Purdue University / Imperial College – London

Water Impact Scenario, Asteroid 2011 MD

Hypothetical Assumptions
Asteroid density (iron – a worst case scenario)
Asteroid angle of impact (90 degrees – a worst case scenario)
Impact 10 miles offshore, water depth 500 feet deep

Velocity (6.7 km/s)
Diameter (approximately as large as 20 meters)

The impact energy is equal to 160-Thousand Tons of TNT.

The crater opened in the water has a diameter of 2,650 feet, about half a mile.

The resulting seafloor crater has a diameter of 1,170 feet extending 248 feet into the seafloor.

The seismic effect will arrive onshore 3.2 seconds after impact, equivalent to a magnitude 3.3 on the Richter scale.

The air blast will arrive 48 seconds after impact with a wind velocity of 11 miles per hour with a sound intensity of 67 dB (Loud as heavy traffic).

A tsunami wave will be generated, arriving onshore 7.3 minutes after impact at a height of approximately 9.3 feet.

In Summary
While it is a simple mental ‘brush-off’ to ignore the fact that an apparently small asteroid such as this might as well be ignored, as you can see, IF this particular little asteroid were to impact the earth in the scenario described above, you would be in a world of hurt when the tsunami hit.

So far during 2011, as of June, more than 250 new asteroids have been discovered! This is extraordinary. It makes you wonder how many more are lurking, and how many of them may be on a collision course…

Still want that seaside property?

Awesome video of Asteroid 2011 MD:
(switch to 720p and full screen, if your bandwidth allows)

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  1. Beano June 25, 2011 3:47 AM
  2. Otter June 28, 2011 10:11 AM
  3. Otter June 28, 2011 10:21 AM
  4. Otter June 29, 2011 12:15 PM
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