Close Approach of Asteroid 2016 RB1

Daily Mail 7 Sep 2016:

Phew! Large 32ft asteroid passed just 40,000km from our planet today – Ten times nearer to Earth than the moon

Asteroid came within a distance of 24,800 miles (40,000 km)

The 32ft-long asteroid passed by Earth today at 18:12 BST (13:12 ET)

Closest a space rock will come to Earth for at least the next half century

I created a short YouTube video showing the view of the Earth from asteroid 2016 RB1 as it approached, passed under the south pole of the Earth at 17:20 GMT on 7 Sep 2016, and continued on past.

The red line is the ecliptic, through which the asteroid passes twice. The faint grey lines are parts of constellations.

The disturbing thing about asteroid 2016 RB1 is that it not only came as close to the Earth as asteroid 2012 DA14 in February 2013, but it was also only slightly smaller than the rock that landed on Chelyabinsk on the same day in 2013, and it was only discovered in the early hours of 5 Feb 2016, less than 2 days before its closest approach to the Earth. There was next to no warning.

There’s a chance of about 2.5% that a rock that gets closer than 40,000 km from the Earth will actually impact it.  That’s a 1 in 40 chance. About 70% of the surface of the Earth is covered by oceans or seas, so most likely the one in 40 chance impactor would land in water.

Sooner or later there’s going to be another Chelyabinsk-type event. I wonder if there are procedures in place as to what to do if an asteroid like 2016 RB1 had been on course for Paris or New York in 40 hours time. Would they broadcast the news, and spark a panic that would result in gridlocked streets and refugees on foot?

Also, accurate measurements need to be made before the size and trajectory of a newly-discovered asteroid can be accurately determined, and its likely impact point ascertained. By the time it arrived, there might still be a lot of uncertainty.

I somehow imagine that public broadcasting would downplay the risks, while the ‘top people’ would be quietly spirited out of the area. But then the information would probably get leaked or hacked, and released by Wikileaks…

ncarolina5sep2016Since one of my interests is in whether these asteroids can have companions, I’ve kept an eye out for fireball reports. And there was a large daylight fireball over N Carolina on 8 Sep at about 22:00 GMT, seen by about 180 people, and estimated to been moving roughly north to south (right).

So I created a cloud of companions around 2026 RB1, with each rock having the same direction and speed as it, and found that one of them could have landed on N Carolina at 22:00 GMT, travelling north-east to south-west (marked as a blue-green fleche below).


That’s actually quite a good fit, if the kind of reporting inaccuracies I found a few days ago are taken into consideration.

P.S. There’s another fireball report from Cyprus on the night of 8 Sep 2016 at 12:36  (local time). The video shows a single bright flash.

An RB1 companion can impact Cyprus. The atmospheric trajectory is shown as a red line below, and the ground track a blue line. The shortness of the blue line relative to the red line indicates that this is a very steep impact. Such steep impacts  tend to result in an explosion or bright flash.

In another report,

“It had a 45 degree tilt and a bang was heard as it passed over Cyprus,” Cyprus astronomical society honorary chairman Ioannis Fakas told Reuters. He explained that parts of the meteorite are believed to have hit the sea north of Cyprus, adding that the object likely didn’t weigh over a few kilos.”

This suggests that the the meteorite was moving from south to north.


About Frank Davis

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20 Responses to Close Approach of Asteroid 2016 RB1

  1. harleyrider1978 says:

    I discovered this morning my great great great Grandfather rode with General John Hunt Morgans RAIDERS in the civilwar out of Kentucky and was also one of the group that never surrendered. They were in the thick of battle in North Carolina when Lee surrendered and went to join Gen Braggs army when he told them he was surrendering to Sherman. They then became a 1000 man cavalry force body guarding Pres. Jefferson Davis south after Richmond fell. This train contained all the confederate gold and silver bullion and as the train went no further the treasury was put into wagons and then Jefferson Davis ordered all the cavalry to be paid and disperse before union forces caught up with them. Only 12 men remained 11 of which were My grandfathers cavalry. They were taken but released just as quickly the rest its said got a share of the gold or silver above their pay but this is not confirmed although it would explain my grannies 7 tobacco farms she had growing up!

    Next item was I find out JOHN BRIGHT Bull I gather was my great great great Uncle. He was one of lincolns top backers in England keeping England and france from recognizing the south and assuring a short war.

    Talk about two ends of a family torn and we didn’t even know it and it has to come from across the ocean and its not even at home where brother was fighting brother!

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Abraham Lincoln, John Bright and Today’s Slavery

      Bright was instrumental in preventing Britain from coming-in on the side of the rebels. As current Tory MP and Bright biographer Bill Cash writes,

      “In 1863, Bright defeated a resolution in the House of Commons for an alliance between Britain, the Emperor Napoleon II of France, and the southern Confederate states against the North, as well as ditching the £16 million support raised in England to support the South – the equivalent today of $1.7 billion (estimated by reference to the UK retail price index) – with the British Navy ruling the waves, this undoubtedly would have tipped the balance against the North, particularly given the support of Prime Minister Palmerston, Gladstone and Russell for the South at that time.”

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        Here today we are fighting to keep our southern war monuments from being destroyed by Obama and his liberals all over the south.

        • harleyrider1978 says:

          Its the confederate flag issue they pushed that got me involved into digging into the family history even deeper. Everyone across the families in our direct linage all fought for the south save the above! Go figure! If it hadn’t been for my great uncle the south would have won the war! Man that bites me right where it hurts too and then my gramps with Jefferson davis. How a tangled web things become

      • Manfred says:

        ‘As current Tory MP and Bright biographer Bill Cash writes…’
        Ahh, that Stonyhurst education seeping through!

    • Amazing tale Harley! :)

      I have a collection of letters that my uncle sent home to my grandmom from Europe during the war. Weirdly enough they seem to have been sent via some sort of photography of the original letter that was then reduced down to about a 4″x4″ stiff-paper copy. No “war stories” though: neither my father nor uncles ever mentioned it. I *do* have a silver star from the uncle with the letters though: he was a medic who’d evidently crawled on on the battlefield to amputate a wounded soldier’s foot from where it was trapped can then dragged him back to safety.

      ::A toast to my uncle Ed McFadden:: (Uncle Ed’s wife passed away in the 1960s, and he lived alone in their house on Staten Island for over thirty years before passing himself in the mid 1990s. He had a regular regimen of awakening and mixing himself a small (10oz?) pitcher of Manhattans that he then sipped steadily until he hit the sack again. His schedule was totally irregular and when you called him up you never knew if he was awake or asleep until he answered. If he’d been asleep his first question would be “What day is it?” followed by “What time is it?” followed by “Is it day or night?” (His bedroom only had one small, heavily curtained window…) )

      – MJM

  2. scute1133 says:

    (From Andrew) Great video. Did you do an applet that allows the view always to be centred on the geocentre?

  3. Band plays song overture…

    I walk on stage….

    ::Raindrops keep falling on my head, yes raindr…SPLATTTTT!!!::

    Audience does not applaud.

    No more audience.

    I do have a rollickin’ good evenin with Frank Sinatra and John Lennon though!


  4. sackersonwp says:

    Nice work, FD. Is there anything that can be done/prepared for about such short-notice events?

  5. jameshigham says:

    Phew! There used to be a blogger called Macheath who kept us up to date on these things. Glad to see you’re doing that.

  6. harleyrider1978 says:

    Huffington Post
    Obama Guilty of causing global warming REFUSES TO TURN on Wind Farm Fans!

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Climate scientists today blamed President Obama for not aiding in the worlds global warming crisis. Top Climatoligists stated with a flip of his hand he could turn every wind farm mill in the world on and create a breeze of wind that would reduce greenhouse warming by 10%. This is the underlying reason we built wind farms not to produce 20 times commercially available electricity for the public but to precisely locate wind farms in strategic locations the world over to create the DIVINE WIND THEORY!

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        Tornado Repace an anti-tobacco scientists stated it would take tornadic winds to remove second hand some from indoors,he stated the Divine wind theory could accomplish this task according to his ASHRAE calculations.

  7. harleyrider1978 says:

  8. harleyrider1978 says:
  9. Tony says:

    Miraculously no-one was seriously injured in this balcony collapse. 50-60 students partying on balconies. No mention of what on earth possessed them to all party there. The anti-smokers could have had many more deaths on their conscience. Or could have if they had one.

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