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Morning Lineup – February 15

Friday Morning – Look!  Up In The Sky!

Heavenly Bodies are back in the news today.  There have been a lot of celestial events recently and we try to keep you abreast of what's going on in our universe.  Today there will be a fly-by of an asteroid that will be passing by the earth a mere 17,150 miles away.  It's not a surprise visit because the astronomers have been keeping their night-vision eyes on it for quite a while.  But they tell us that despite its unusually close encounter, there will be no disturbances here on earth from it.  In fact, we won't even be able to see it  without using a powerful telescope (and standing someplace in Asia or eastern Europe).  It is scheduled to whiz by the big blue marble at 2:25 pm Eastern time.

Now this is NOT the same asteroid that we told you about back on January 31 where the space rangers will be shooting a counter-rocket in a test to see if it's feasible to slam a man-made object into an encroaching asteroid to nudge it onto a different path so that it doesn't strike the earth.  That one doesn't arrive until October 2022, so you will need an extremely durable Post-It Note to use as a reminder for that one.  If you missed our descriptive posting on that upcoming event, CLICK HERE to read about it.  You still have plenty of time to get a proper-fitting helmet.

You will recall that it was just last week that we told you about that 6-mile-long asteroid that slammed into what is now Mexico 60 million years ago and killed off most living creatures, thus causing the instant extinction of the dinosaurs.  CLICK HERE to review that article, if you missed it.

As a prelude to today's event perhaps, a meteor that was not expected at all, whooshed into the Ural Mountains in eastern Russia this morning and blew into pieces after entering our atmosphere and sent shock waves into the region causing extensive structural damages and injuring more than 400 people.  When you view this collection of home video clips showing the blast, you can apprecitate that there was genuine panic is some cities:


I was impressed with the clip showing the apartment building as the dark shadow of the rock sweeps over it.  Check out these views of the blast wave striking a couple of offices:


While we're on the subject of meteors and Russia, take a moment to review our posting from July 2008 about the massive impact in Siberia in 1908 that leveled every tree and building for 30 miles around in an area so remote that it wasn't until nearly 20 years later that anybody learned about it (no survivors to report it, you see). 

It was the largest explosion ever recorded in modern history.  CLICK HERE for that one.  I'm sorry, but the photos have been dropped out of the archives when we switched servers a few years ago.

Just to put things into perspective before we start the equipment check, let's go back to today's fly-by for a moment.  As we said, the asteroid will be passing through earth's orbit about 17,000 miles away.  That is roughly the distance that we travel around our sun in 45 minutes.  You go it…. the "safe" near-miss will be just 45 minutes from an almighty ka-boom here on earth.  But don't worry.

Instead, let's worry about getting this equipment checked out now.  I'll get some earth-grown coffee beans brewing in the Bunn-O-Matic, we'll be needing that when we meet back in the day room.  See you there – I think.

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