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Near-Earth asteroid 'Moby Dick' goes missing


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#31    Parsec

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 10:59 PM

Well, what concerns me it's the opposite scenario: if the official explanation is true and they miscalculated the trajectory, what if it happens with another headed directly towards us and estimated instead to pass far away? That's a serious problem, since even a huge object like that can arrive unseen at our backyard if it's not very reflective


#32    Duchess Gummybuns

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 11:36 PM

THERE IT IS!

THE GREAT WHITE SPACE ROOOOCKKK!!!

My signature has SPECIAL WORDS! OOHH!!

#33    qxcontinuum

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 12:18 AM

View PostAshyne, on 20 February 2014 - 11:05 AM, said:

This is further proof that certain asteroids are not merely space rocks, but intelligent creatures (similar in appearance to real asteroids) that travel through Space and can alter their paths at will. We know that many Earth lifeforms are able to take on the appearance of their environment or disguise themselves as other living/non-living things.

Nice, i was thinking of that too. Why should be the existence of organic features capable of living outside an ecosystem , impossible?
The same metals existent on earth are out in space too. We are in fact nothing but organic dust. I am sure same as 2000 feet below under the seas there are creature capable of living in higher water pressure and cold temperatures similar to what deep space is. Same like camels they coul store reservoirs of oxygen or gas required for molecular functions or simply like trees absorbing light  from stars living from photosynthesis.


#34    ancient astronaut

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 02:35 AM

It was Optimus Prime on his way to warn us of eminent Decepticon invasion.

Edited by ancient astronaut, 21 February 2014 - 02:36 AM.

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#35    docyabut2

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 01:52 AM

How do they know that asteroid didn't  go off track behind the sun. I remember there was one asteroid  that no body saw coming behind the sun and heading our way, that Pres  Bush almost had the whole northern hemisphere evacuated!


#36    Lilly

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 08:17 PM

I think Waspie has solved this one:

Quote

This one had been seen once before and has not been observed since it was first discovered 14 years ago. Since it was only seen on one pass there would be limited information about it. With each pass that an asteroid makes the data can be fine tuned making future predictions about its whereabouts more accurate. When it is re-acquired (and eventually it will be) refinements of it's orbital parameters will be made making it more likely that it will be tracked on future passes.


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#37    Eldorado

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 12:38 AM

View PostHawkin, on 19 February 2014 - 11:37 PM, said:

Only one person can find it. Somebody call Captain Ahab! :w00t:

To accomplish his object Ahab must use tools; and of all tools used in the shadow of the moon, men are most apt to get out of order.


#38    Peter B

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 12:53 PM

View Postdocyabut2, on 23 February 2014 - 01:52 AM, said:

How do they know that asteroid didn't  go off track behind the sun. I remember there was one asteroid  that no body saw coming behind the sun and heading our way, that Pres  Bush almost had the whole northern hemisphere evacuated!

Assuming it's an asteroid and not an alien spacecraft, it's not going to "go off track" because there's nothing to make it do that. (I won't rule out the possibility that Venus could affect its orbit, as it approaches the Sun more closely than Venus does; but the asteroid's orbit is inclined to Venus's orbit, and I don't know the maths for calculating the closest possible approach nor the effect it would have.)


#39    Calibeliever

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 03:50 PM

View PostPeter B, on 24 February 2014 - 12:53 PM, said:

Assuming it's an asteroid and not an alien spacecraft, it's not going to "go off track" because there's nothing to make it do that. (I won't rule out the possibility that Venus could affect its orbit, as it approaches the Sun more closely than Venus does; but the asteroid's orbit is inclined to Venus's orbit, and I don't know the maths for calculating the closest possible approach nor the effect it would have.)
Or it could have bumped into something?


#40    danielost

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 09:25 PM

View PostPeter B, on 24 February 2014 - 12:53 PM, said:



Assuming it's an asteroid and not an alien spacecraft, it's not going to "go off track" because there's nothing to make it do that. (I won't rule out the possibility that Venus could affect its orbit, as it approaches the Sun more closely than Venus does; but the asteroid's orbit is inclined to Venus's orbit, and I don't know the maths for calculating the closest possible approach nor the effect it would have.)

They lost track of it because they didn't have all the numbers to do the math.  There are many reasons for it to have gone off course.  Mass ejection, collusion, Venus, mercury, earth.  Those are the ones I can think of.

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#41    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 10:39 PM

View Postdanielost, on 24 February 2014 - 09:25 PM, said:

They lost track of it because they didn't have all the numbers to do the math.
This is partly true.

For 14 years it was too far from the Earth to be seen by telescopes, remember this is a small dark object.

It had only been previously observed for 6 days and so they didn't have all the figures for a really accurate orbital calculation, however that doesn't mean the orbit couldn't be calculated at all.

In fact the margin of error was still remarkably small:

Quote

Closest approach (perigee-geocentrical) was around 00:15 UTC on 18 February plus or minus about 13 hours.
Source: Wikipedia

13 hours gives us a period of more than a day when this asteroid could have passed the Earth, certainly a large enough period for it to have been missed.

However you that does not mean this is a large margin of error. 13 hours over 14 years equates to an uncertainty of just 0.0106% (or just over 1 part in ten thousand). Put another way the accuracy of the orbit was known with a certainty of 99.986^%. This is how astronomers could be certain that the object would not hit the Earth.

View Postdanielost, on 24 February 2014 - 09:25 PM, said:

There are many reasons for it to have gone off course.
Actually there aren't.

In fact  is no evidence what so ever that the asteroid IS off course. Almost certainly it isn't and it just wasn't picked up. Small, fast moving, dark asteroids are not the easiest of things to observe especially when there is a 26 hour window in which it can pass.

From the source article:

Quote

Sometimes asteroids are simply too dark in colour to see easily, making them difficult to find again with visible-light telescopes like Slooh. This might explain how a big asteroid like Moby Dick can remain elusive even as it makes its closest approach to Earth."One possibility here is that the asteroid is right where we think it is. It might just be really faint," says Amy Mainzer of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Although telescopes that look at other wavelengths of light might be able to see it, they haven't looked yet.
Source: New Scientist

View Postdanielost, on 24 February 2014 - 09:25 PM, said:

Mass ejection,
??? Mass ejection of what by what?

View Postdanielost, on 24 February 2014 - 09:25 PM, said:

collusion,
A collision with an unknown unseen object which could dramatically alter the orbit of an object this size, whilst not impossible IS exceedingly unlikely.

View Postdanielost, on 24 February 2014 - 09:25 PM, said:

Venus, mercury, earth.
Simple reasoning allows us to discount the Earth.

For 2000 EM26 to have had it's orbit changed by the Earth it would have to pass near the Earth.

Since the entire point of this encounter was that it was the first time that the asteroid had passed close to the Earth since it was last seen in 2000 we can rule that option out completely.

We can also rule out Venus and Mercury.

As I have already pointed out the orbit of this asteroid is known to a precision of 99.986% The orbits of the planets are know with a hugely greater precision. With this level of precision the Minor Planet Center, who are responsible for calculating the orbits of asteroids, would be fully aware of any passes close enough to these planets to alter it's orbit. There were none.

View Postdanielost, on 24 February 2014 - 09:25 PM, said:

Those are the ones I can think of.
There is actually another source of uncertainty that is actually mentioned in the source article:

Quote

Asteroid 2000 EM26 was discovered 14 years ago and has not been seen since, so astronomers have limited information about it. Not knowing enough about how the asteroid rotates makes it hard to know how other forces, like radiation pressure from sunlight, might nudge the rock onto a different trajectory.
Source: New Scientist

This is known as the Yarkovsky effect (see this Wikipedia article).

What I don't know is whether the 13 hours uncertainty is inclusive or exclusive of the Yarkovsky effect.

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#42    Arkitecht

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 02:02 AM

While watcing some Thornews (Love your channel) i found out not just a lil more about this missing asteroid, but that Thor is watching on here also!Very cool dude!He even mention's it at 4:50...What's up Dude!


  

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#43    joc

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 03:28 AM

They said that the asteroid was 3. 4 million kilometers away from Earth.  That just doesn't seem close to me...but I guess in the expanse of the Cosmos it is.  What is close, real close, and really close?   ...for an asteroid?

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#44    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 04:48 AM

View Postjoc, on 03 March 2014 - 03:28 AM, said:

What is close, real close, and really close?   ...for an asteroid?
Real close is when it leaves a hole in the ground, anything else is a miss.

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