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Cigar-shaped asteroid stronger than 15 atomic bombs whizzes by earth last night

 
Anonymous Coward
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04/16/2011 08:05 AM
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Cigar-shaped asteroid stronger than 15 atomic bombs whizzes by earth last night
[link to www.dailymail.co.uk]

An asteroid as strong as 15 atomic bombs whizzed past earth last night at just ten times the distance of the moon.

Astronomers first spotted the cigar-shaped rock spinning through space on Monday evening and tracked it through the atmosphere.

The star-gazers were baffled by why the asteroid 'blinked' at them until they realised that due to is long shape, the darkness came when it rotated slightly out of view.

Thankfully, the 50m long rock that could have destroyed entire countries went barely noticed as it passed earth at a distance of some 220,000 miles.

'Usually, when we see an asteroid strobe on and off like that, it means that the body is elongated and we are viewing it broadside along its long axis first, and then on its narrow end as it rotates,' Don Yeomans from Nasa told news.com.au.

GP59 is approximately 50m long, and we think its period of rotation is about seven-and-a-half minutes. This makes the object’s brightness change every four minutes or so.'

Nick James, from Chelmsford, Essex, recorded the newly discovered 'Asteroid 2011 GP59' on Monday night showing the object hurtling across the screen and blinking on and off.

The asteroid, which was recorded with an 11-inch telescope, was about 2,081,000-miles away from Earth at the time.

It was picked up by astronomers at the Observatorio Astronomico de Mallorca in Andalusia, Spain, who've since determined that it's heading towards us.

Last night, the cosmic rock passed just outside the moon's orbit at a relatively close distance of around 220,000 miles. The distance from earth is around ten times the length that the moon is from earth.
Anonymous Coward
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04/16/2011 08:19 AM
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Re: Cigar-shaped asteroid stronger than 15 atomic bombs whizzes by earth last night
Too bad it missed Washington DC.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 1344341
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04/17/2011 06:11 AM
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Re: Cigar-shaped asteroid stronger than 15 atomic bombs whizzes by earth last night
bump
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 388685
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04/17/2011 06:13 AM
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Re: Cigar-shaped asteroid stronger than 15 atomic bombs whizzes by earth last night
No worries, israel will save us. laugh

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