Friday, March 8, 2013

More Incoming Rocks & Snowballs

Asteroid at Center marked by cross hairs. Credit G. Masi and F. Nocentini.

Here comes another one! No need to fear though, they come and go all the time. This weekend it's visitor asteroid 2013 ET, passing us at about 380,000+ miles. It was only discovered on March 3 (picture above taken March 7). This brings up a good point about how important it is for our space programs to develop a better method for identifying these hurtling Earth-crashers far earlier, and having a defense ready to divert them or something. 2013 ET is set to pass by Saturday afternoon and is about the width of a football field. Bigger than the one that recently exploded above Russia. You can participate on a video webcast covering the passage. Check out's article here:

Comet PANSTARRS as seen from Australia (NASA image)

Finally, we get to see a fairly visible comet! It's been a while. This one is comet PANSTARRS (2011 L4) which was discovered in 2011. It has recently become visible to the naked eye, and has just started to cross the hemispheric view into the northern hemisphere, so we can try spotting it from Utah (barring this drastic winter weather). Here's the link to NASA's page on viewing PANSTARRS:

Happy viewing!

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