Hardened veteran readers will know that I took a great deal of interest in the Chelyabinsk fireball on 15 Feb 2013 and the near-simultaneous fly-by of asteroid (2012 DA14), which left me and quite a few other people wondering whether they were companions.
NASA declared on the same day that it was just a fluke that they arrived on the same day, and they were completely unrelated, and travelling in different directions.
Never one to believe The Experts, I started hunting for a DA14 companion using my own hand-written orbital simulation model. I started out looking for a rock a few thousand km from DA14, but couldn’t get one to land on Chelyabinsk. I then went back to 2012 when DA14 passed not far from the Earth, and looked for a rock that would hit the Earth in 2013 after coming close in 2012. I got quite near, but not near enough.
However, since the orbit of DA14 passes near the Earth every February, I started looking at earlier years, going back to 2011, 2010, and 2009. And about 9 months ago I managed to find a rock that passed near the Earth in Feb 2009, and returned in Feb 2013, passing 3000 km over Russia, after completing 3 orbits of the Sun,
It’s a problem that I’ve been picking up and dropping for the past two and a half years. And in recent weeks I returned to it again, determined to try to get a rock to actually hit the Earth, rather than fly a few thousand km above its surface. Last week I managed to get a rock to pass close to the Earth in Feb 2011, and hit the Earth in Feb 2013, after completing two orbits of the Sun.
And today I got a rock to pass close to the Earth in Feb 2009, and hit the Earth in Feb 2013. It was one of those “Yay!!!!” moments. Here’s a 3D view of the Earth looking down onto the ecliptic plane, showing the impact arrows for a bunch of rocks landing on China.
The red lines are the air tracks, and the blue lines the ground tracks. Chelyabinsk is visible as a small dot just on the right of the transverse blue line – which is the Earth’s terminator, with night/shade to the left of it, and day/light to the right of it – a bit north east of the Caspian and Aral seas. A few numbered rocks can be seen disappearing off to the left of the Earth, having just skimmed over it.
Over the next few days and weeks, I’m fairly sure that I’ll be able to land a rock on Chelyabinsk rather than China. It’ll be very interesting to find what direction it comes from, because the Chelyabinsk fireball came from just south of east. Mine looks like it’s going to be very similar.
Quite coincidentally, I also had an email today from Russia saying that my recent Ever Closer Union piece had (with my permission) been translated into Russian and published in Russia Insider. I can’t understand a word of it, but I think that Фрэнк Дэйвис might be Frank Davis.
And a couple of months ago I mentioned a Russian author, Dmitry Kosyrev, who’d written that he liked both Michael McFadden’s and my writing. Well today I had an email (in English, fortunately) from him as well, saying that both of us were going to be extensively quoted in a forthcoming book of his.
He also said that, since Russians hadn’t been subjected to decades of antismoking propaganda, they were much more resistant to antismoking messages, and were unapologetic about smoking, and that a considerable resistance movement was gathering momentum in the wake of last year’s Russian smoking ban.
Anyway, I’m very glad that I now at last have a couple of contacts in Russia, and I hope that there will be a useful exchange of ideas. In my view, smokers all over the world should be getting in contact with each other, and building a grass root smokers’ resistance movement.
Since China has recently started introducing smoking bans, I’m hoping to one day make contact with a few of them as well. And it ought to be easy to get talking to people in India, since many of them speak English.