Asteroid (2014 RC)

Hardened veteran readers will know that last year when Asteroid (2012 DA14)  made a close approach to the Earth, and on the same day a fireball exploded over Chelyabinsk in Russia, I set out to discover – using my home-made orbital simulation model – whether a companion rock of DA14 might have been the one that fell on Chelyabinsk.

To cut a long story short, I couldn’t find one, although I got pretty near.

So I was very interested today when Rose directed me to this Telegraph report:

A meteorite landed “like a bomb” just missing Nicaragua’s main airport and raising concerns over scientists’ ability to track space objects on potential collision courses with Earth.

Officials said they “thanked God” there were no injuries as the rock landed in Managua, a sprawling city of 1.2 million people where it left a crater 12 metres (40ft) wide and five metres (16ft) deep.

The object was believed to have been a small part of the asteroid 2014 RC, nicknamed “Pitbull,” which astronomers had been monitoring as it passed the planet.

So I immediately got hold of the barycentric state vectors – which are the x,y,z locations and velocities of a body in the solar system – of (2014 RC) from NASA (amazing that they were available, because it’s only been a week since (2014 RC) was first discovered), and plugged them into my simulation model, and found that (2014 RC) passed 39,400 km below the Earth at about 18:00 UTC on 7 Sep 2014.

And I then started adding small clouds of rocks near (2014 RC), travelling at the same speed and direction as it, to see if I could get them to land on Nicaragua at about 6:00 UTC. This proved pretty easy to do. Here’s my best attempt so far:


The thick blue line is the approach path of a cloud of about 350 rocks spaced a hundred km apart, and the red blob is the impact site. It’s actually a bit north of Nicaragua, but it’s at about the right time. The x displacement of the centre of the rock cloud was -320,000 km from (2014 RC), and the y displacement was +140,000 km, and the z displacement was +93,000 km on Julian date 2456869.5. The asteroid that struck Managua would have approached from the west, but might well have been descending near-vertically at impact.

The faded black line below the blue line is the path of another rock which is passing over the Atlantic ocean and swooping 250 km over north Africa. And this is my current best shot at another fireball that was seen over much of Spain (6:55 am in Barcelona) early on 7 Sep 2014. Here’s a slightly better image, in which it’s possible to see the trajectory looping over the Earth:



If the Spanish fireball was travelling from SW to NE, then it’s perfectly possible that it was a second companion rock of (2014 RC), because Spain seems to have been at about the limit that such rocks could have landed on the Earth.

Here’s another composite image looking down the z axis on all three asteroids. The green line is asteroid (2014 RC) passing about 37,000 km below the Earth.


It should be possible to get an accurate position for both the Managua meteor and the Spanish fireball relative to (2014 RC). If so, it should be a strong argument for what I suspected last year with DA14: that these rocks very often have a cluster of companion rocks around them. I spent a lot of last year looking at rock clouds that formed when asteroids broke up, and their component rocks gradually drifted apart.

And these companion rocks are the ones to worry about whenever you hear that some big rock (like DA14 and 2014 RC) is going to miss the Earth by a few thousand km. Because if the headline asteroid is surrounded by companions, some of these may strike the Earth. It should be possible to find regions where companion rocks are most likely to land, and where they’ll be skimming through the high atmosphere as fireballs.

P.S. Thanks, Rose!


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29 Responses to Asteroid (2014 RC)

  1. harleyrider1978 says:


    Smoke-free ordinance fails, 5-4

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      This is only ten minutes old News…………

      • Junican says:

        Had a little go at that site, cousin. Don’t let the Council members who voted for the ban to sneak away, because, had they succeeded, they would have been back for more bans in a few months time. Get rid of them.

      • waltc says:

        Jesus. Only 5 to 4 and only because one guy changed his mind at the last minute. And even the bar owner quoted at the end seems to think it’s just a temporary stop on the road to prohibition. And eliciting another “holy smokes” from me, apparently the existing statewide ban prohibits smoking w/I 8 feet of any building entrance. In the whole f’ing state! WTH has the world come to?

        • harleyrider1978 says:

          The thing about this is those were the most devoted Nazis in all of Indiana. They were also pushing for county wide bans even in the outdoors……………This people are on insanity steroids!

  2. harleyrider1978 says:

    Australian Bureau of Meteorology accused of Criminally Adjusted Global Warming

    The Australian Bureau of Meteorology has been caught red-handed manipulating temperature data to show “global warming” where none actually exists. At Amberley, Queensland, for example, the data at a weather station showing 1 degree Celsius cooling per century was “homogenized” (adjusted) by the Bureau so that it instead showed a 2.5 degrees warming per century.

    Can you believe it the stories DISAPEARED! Just 2 weeks later

  3. c777 says:

    There was Fireball over Spain too.Its a little off that trajectory though, could it have broken off during re-entry and deflected course slightly, like skipping stones on a pond.
    Its a bit of a coincidence.

  4. harleyrider1978 says:

    Battle cry to save Britain: With ‘No’ campaign in chaos, Brown leads desperate fightback
    ‘No’ vote would be the ‘starting gun’ for further powers for Holyrood
    A Scotland Act will hand greater control over finance, welfare and taxation
    Devolution plan will be published by St Andrew’s Day on November 30
    Draft laws will then be published on January 25 next year – Burns Night

    Read more:

  5. harleyrider1978 says:

    Fayette health board calls for regulation of e-cigarettes in Lexington smoking ban

    The Lexington-Fayette County Board of Health voted Monday night to recommend that the Urban County Council amend the city’s smoking ordinance to include regulation of electronic cigarettes.

    The vote was 9-0, said Kevin Hall, spokesman for the health department.

    Urban County Councilman Chris Ford, the council’s representative on the health board, tweeted from the meeting, saying he supported the health department’s position on e-cigarettes and was looking forward to reviewing the ordinance with the rest of the council.

    Ellen Hahn, director of the Kentucky Center for Smoke-Free Policy at the University of Kentucky, who made a presentation to the board, has said it’s a “best practice” to include e-cigarettes in smoke-free laws because they are a tobacco product and pollute the air. E-cigarettes were not available in the United States when Lexington passed its smoking ban in 2003.

    Read more here:

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Naturally all my commenting via facebook has been abolished by somebody……………It all occurred at the same time my yahoo emails were hacked and all my other stuff…………..

      Seems I really pissed them off.

  6. harleyrider1978 says:

    Audrey Silk

    3 hrs.

    I think vapers are about to be initiated by fire into another level of Anti-Smoking they haven’t been exposed to before. I give you ASHRAE (the authority on building’s indoor air standards). Don’t take this lightly. And the rest of us are also about to see them up the ante on their standards. This march is unbearably ceaseless:

    “Also open for public comment is proposed addendum c, which would revise the current definition of environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) to include emissions from electronic smoking devices and from smoking of cannabis, now allowed by some jurisdictions. The existing requirements for separation of ETS-free spaces from ETS spaces remain unchanged. The proposed addendum also would clarify that provision of acceptable indoor air quality is incompatible with the presence of ETS, including cannabis smoke and e-cigarette emissions.”

  7. Rose says:

    Frank,how prescient you were.

    “I think that “Toast Kills” would bring home the absurdity of it all”

    Only 2 days later

    Oh crumbs! EU health chiefs say toast gives you cancer:

  8. harleyrider1978 says:

    All the Illegal Grant funding going on here is the full report care of Carol T

    The full Cause of Action report

  9. harleyrider1978 says:

    Is this anti-smoking project just burning money?

    Hackney councillor Jonathan McShane, who specialises in health matters, says of this year’s campaign: “The great thing about the 28-day Stoptober challenge is that everyone is in it together.”

  10. harleyrider1978 says:

    Lights out for smokers in Vegas?

    By JoAnna Haugen

    A decision to ban smoking in the Asian gambling mecca of Macau prompted a Wall Street analyst to predict that the casinos of Las Vegas might be next.

    Although there is no current legislation in Nevada to implement a smoking ban in casinos, Deutsche Bank gaming analyst Andrew Zarnett recently suggested that a complete smoking ban could be implemented in Nevada within the next two years. In Las Vegas, smoking is now banned in all public places except casino floors.

    Macau’s smoking ban takes effect October 6, and Zarnett cited this as a potential trendsetter for other destinations that currently allow smoking on casino floors. Macau produced $45.2 billion in gaming revenue in 2013, four times that of Nevada’s casino industry, which hit $11 billion in 2013.

    Two major casino companies with properties in Las Vegas declined to comment for this article, noting they don’t take any particular stance on this highly politicized issue and that they comply fully with the law.JoAnnaHaugen

    Zarnett also noted that the continued study of second-hand smoke health dangers led him to believe that smoking may be banned in Nevada casinos within the next 24 months.

    “It clearly adds incremental pressure for the introduction of similar legislation in Las Vegas,” he said in the report, in part because Wynn Resorts, Las Vegas Sands Corp. and MGM Resorts International all currently have casino resorts in Macau.

    Zarnett predicted that if such a ban existed, Nevada could experience a 7.5% decline in gaming revenue.

    David Schwartz, director of the Center for Gaming Research at University of Nevada, Las Vegas, said it’s hard to say whether a smoking ban in casinos would have that much of an economic impact on Las Vegas, but said it was possible.

    “In other jurisdictions where smoking bans have been enacted, there has been a drop in gaming revenues in the short term,” Schwartz said.

    Delaware’s gaming revenue decreased 11.3% following a smoking ban in 2002, while Illinois saw a 20.9% drop after implementing a ban in 2007. Bronson Frick, associate director of Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, said that many factors can affect a casino company’s gaming revenue, including the general state of the economy, gas prices and weather, and that it is impossible to point specifically at a smoking ban to explain a decrease in revenue.

    Frick pointed out that, of the 23 states with commercial casinos, 18 have already outlawed smoking in casinos. Additionally, 82% of people in the United States are non-smokers.

    “It’s a major trend,” Frick said. “And it’s also what people increasingly expect.”

    In addition, all public places in Nevada other than casino floors, including many poker rooms and sports books, are already smoke-free. Even the World Series of Poker became a smoke-free event for the first time in 2014, as are many other events on casino floors.

    Frick believes it is just a matter of time before a full ban is put in place.

    “There is no question that eventually the Vegas casinos will be one-hundred percent smoke-free,” he said.

    He also said Las Vegas companies can learn from casinos that are already smoke-free to make such a transition easier, if or when a ban is enacted. For example, smoke-free casinos in other states have ensured exits to outdoor areas are easily accessible to patrons.

    “If someone wants to light up, they simply step outside to an outdoor patio, either from the food and beverage area or from the casino floor, and then they come back in without harming the health of other people,” Frick said.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Travel weekly has a blog run on vacation spots and I was on it 4 days ago and one tourist agent asked about the bans and then about SHS. So I posted 2 replies one for each……Then the war was on for about 20 minutes and the travel weekly folks removed everything I had put up which was by then 6 posts total and then people asked what happened to everything and travel mod says oh somebody was claiming shs is harmless and the bans are illegal by nature.

      It didn’t go away quietly either,people actually came back and reposted what I had said only to see it removed again.

      So if you hit the comments on this story be prepared. They are Nazis all the way.

  11. Pingback: Toast Kills | Frank Davis

  12. Zeke says:

    Scute, can you simulate a trajectory for UF56?

  13. Frank Davis says:

    Above shows Earth (3) at the centre, Moon (6) going round it, UF56 (14) coming in about half way between the two. I make closest approach 21:21 UTC today. It’s more or less in the same plane as Earth and Moon. Sun is out bottom left of image, so UF56 is on sun side of Earth.

    b[14] UF56 A.D. 2014-Oct-15 12:26:00.0000_1 closest approach[0] to b[3] Earth_1: 164283.66 km on 27 Oct 2014 21:21:36 dt=4.0 s JD 2456958.390002072
    UF56 A.D. 2014-Oct-15 12:26:00.0000_1 is 21946.295,-159121.23,34466.188 km relative to 3
    UF56 A.D. 2014-Oct-15 12:26:00.0000_1 is -11.929787,-1.7684848,-0.54396474 km/s relative to 3
    UF56 A.D. 2014-Oct-15 12:26:00.0000_1 b[14], 1.0, 100.0, 2456958.390002072, date, 1.2339916776399004E8, 8.317479417656149E7, 11494.561750010294, -29.15149270774566, 22.773955394720904, -0.5453916060845403,

  14. Zeke says:

    So that is from NASA? Thanks.

    There are ways UF56 could interact with Earth’s magnetic field so expect the unexpected.

  15. Zeke says:

    So they are sticking to the 225m^2 estimate. “House-sized Asteroid to Give Earth a Very Close Shave …”

    Average house-size – in Oz – larger than the US. Congratulations. (:

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