Hunting For Che

Back at the pub again, getting my netfix.

While I can’t get online with my home computer until the new hub arrives, I can still use it to run my orbital simulation model. So I thought I’d write a bit about that.

What I’ve been trying to do over the last few months is to find a companion rock for asteroid DA14, that lands on Chelyabinsk on the same day as DA14 makes its close approach (about 30,000 km) to earth on 15 Feb 2013. NASA and ESA and all the experts immediately said that the two events were unrelated.  But when I got my orbital simulation model working, I was pretty soon able to get a companion rock to land in Mongolia on the same day.

The trouble is that it’s coming in at a slightly wrong angle for Chelyabinsk, and so a slightly different orbit needs to be found. So I’ve been constructing clouds of rocks around DA14, all moving along slightly different orbits, and seeing where they end up.

These clouds of rocks usually start out pretty small, just a few hundred km across, but over a few years they gradually lengthen into long clouds. This happens because the rocks take different periods to orbit the sun, and gradually drift apart.

Anyway, here’s one of these clouds of rocks approaching the Earth, a bit before 15 Feb 2013:

corrected-spreadingcloud2

The rock cloud (blue tracks) is approaching the Earth and Moon from the bottom right, with DA14 (red) following behind the cloud.

Here’s another snapshot, a few hours later, with the rock numbers added in to help identification:

corrected-spreadingcloud

In a few hours time, rock 179 will crash into the Earth, a few hours before rock 7 (which is DA14) passes by.

Looking for the rock (if there is one) which lands on Chelybinsk at 3:20 am UT on 15 Feb 2013 is like looking for a very small needle in a very large haystack.

But if we (me and my collaborator over on Tallbloke’s Talkshop) can find it, we will have proved that NASA and ESA and all the rest of the experts were wrong. And that the Chelyabinsk meteor really was a companion rock of DA14, in a cloud of rocks around it. And most likely the other fireballs seen around that time were also companion rocks too.

And this would be a significant finding. Because it would mean that every time a large rock like DA14 comes near the Earth, chances are that there will be a cloud of rocks around it, and some of these will land on the Earth. And the bigger the rock cloud, the more of them that will land.

And on Friday 13 April 2029, a very big rock called 1998-Apophis is going to pass even closer to the Earth than DA14 did back in February. Apophis is 200 times heavier than DA14, and if its accompanying rock cloud is proportionally larger too, there could be hundreds of Chelyabinsk-type events around that time.

Apophis was big news when it was discovered in 1998, because at the time it was thought that it might actually hit the Earth. But now it’s become pretty certain that it won’t do that, the alarm has subsided. But, if Apophis has a cloud of rocks around it, then as I see it there is a continuing threat of Chelyabinsk-type events around that time.

But I rather suspect that if we do manage to find a companion rock for DA14 that lands on Chelyabinsk on 15  Feb 2013, NASA and ESA and all the other experts will ignore us. They’re the experts, after all. And these days, everyone believes whatever the experts say. And if they say that there’s nothing to worry about, nobody will worry. Instead, they’ll worry about secondhand smoke and global warming.

Anyway, if you are at all worried, then book a holiday in the high northern hemiphere around 13 April 2029. Northern Greenland will probably be a good place, because Apophis’ rock cloud approaches the Earth’s southern hemisphere . You could spend a week or two watching icebergs float by all day, and fireballs arc overhead all night.

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5 Responses to Hunting For Che

  1. beobrigitte says:

    But I rather suspect that if we do manage to find a companion rock for DA14 that lands on Chelyabinsk on 15 Feb 2013, NASA and ESA and all the other experts will ignore us.

    The planet is littered with meteorite impacts; what is it that reassures these (?arrogant) experts that Apophis will just pass by?

    They’re the experts, after all. And these days, everyone believes whatever the experts say. And if they say that there’s nothing to worry about, nobody will worry. Instead, they’ll worry about secondhand smoke and global warming.

    Sometimes I think that the only aim of “experts” is to stupefy people. People are easily led and if “experts” take away the element of adult responsibility, which unfortunately can be a little uncomfortable as it requires questioning and independent decision making, we end up being the sheep led to slaughter.

    In the meantime the anti-smokers are rampant on TV. This time it is smoking in cars with a child in the back seat. According to the anti-smokers the most “dangerous” part of tobacco smoke “can’t be seen”……..
    Perhaps the anti-smokers would care to take their offspring for an inner city walk to a barbeque. Diesel fumes and barbeque. Yummy. But then, children aren’t “safe” when walking, anyway; they NEED to be driven everywhere.

    It is high time to end this state and “expert” controlled life! Perhaps Apophis will help us doing so, although chances are very high the already very discontent population of these “super state” controlled countries will rebel long before that.
    The anti-smokers whinge and whine about “saving the chiiiildren” – well, off they go to Syria, then; what we hear about the middle east and “the chiiildren” is just horrendous. After all, they invaded the middle east with smoking bans, they should be made to live there now.

    • Frank Davis says:

      what is it that reassures these (?arrogant) experts that Apophis will just pass by?

      Well, they’ll have been accurately measuring its orbit, and will be able to use this information to predict where it will be 13 April 2029 withine a few thousand km.

      But they don’t know everything. And they were a bit too quick off the mark (same day) to discount the possibility that the Chelybinsk fireball was related to DA14

      • beobrigitte says:

        Well, they’ll have been accurately measuring its orbit, and will be able to use this information to predict where it will be 13 April 2029 within a few thousand km.

        Sure, but the problem is that the “experts” disregard the possibility of fragmentation.

        And they were a bit too quick off the mark (same day) to discount the possibility that the Chelybinsk fireball was related to DA14

        True.

        A little more reading about Apophis is in order. I’ve always wanted to visit Greenland; perhaps April 2029 is not a bad date.

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