Stories
Slash Boxes
Comments

SoylentNews is people

posted by martyb on Friday October 27 2017, @04:07PM   Printer-friendly
from the just-passing-through dept.

Astronomer Rob Weryk has identified what appears to be the first interstellar object to enter (and soon exit) the solar system. The object, provisionally designated A/2017 U1, is estimated to be 400 meters in diameter:

A/2017 U1 was discovered Oct. 19 by the University of Hawaii's Pan-STARRS 1 telescope on Haleakala, Hawaii, during the course of its nightly search for near-Earth objects for NASA. Rob Weryk, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy (IfA), was first to identify the moving object and submit it to the Minor Planet Center. Weryk subsequently searched the Pan-STARRS image archive and found it also was in images taken the previous night, but was not initially identified by the moving object processing.

[...] "This is the most extreme orbit I have ever seen," said Davide Farnocchia, a scientist at NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) at the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. "It is going extremely fast and on such a trajectory that we can say with confidence that this object is on its way out of the solar system and not coming back."

The CNEOS team plotted the object's current trajectory and even looked into its future. A/2017 U1 came from the direction of the constellation Lyra, cruising through interstellar space at a brisk clip of 15.8 miles (25.5 kilometers) per second.

The object approached our solar system from almost directly "above" the ecliptic, the approximate plane in space where the planets and most asteroids orbit the Sun, so it did not have any close encounters with the eight major planets during its plunge toward the Sun. On Sept. 2, the small body crossed under the ecliptic plane just inside of Mercury's orbit and then made its closest approach to the Sun on Sept. 9. Pulled by the Sun's gravity, the object made a hairpin turn under our solar system, passing under Earth's orbit on Oct. 14 at a distance of about 15 million miles (24 million kilometers) -- about 60 times the distance to the Moon. It has now shot back up above the plane of the planets and, travelling at 27 miles per second (44 kilometers per second) with respect to the Sun, the object is speeding toward the constellation Pegasus.

"We have long suspected that these objects should exist, because during the process of planet formation a lot of material should be ejected from planetary systems. What's most surprising is that we've never seen interstellar objects pass through before," said Karen Meech, an astronomer at the IfA specializing in small bodies and their connection to solar system formation.

Here is a direct link to an animation of the object's passage.


Original Submission

Related Stories

Interstellar Asteroid Named: Oumuamua 11 comments

The solar system's first "interstellar interloper" has been named 1I/ʻOumuamua. It is the first known "hyperbolic asteroid" from outside the solar system:

The first known asteroid to visit our Solar System from interstellar space has been given a name. Scientists who have studied its speed and trajectory believe it originated in a planetary system around another star.

The interstellar interloper will now be referred to as 'Oumuamua, which means "a messenger from afar arriving first" in Hawaiian. The name reflects the object's discovery by a Hawaii-based astronomer using an observatory on Maui. It was discovered on 19 October this year by Rob Weryk, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy.

[...] Scientists who have made observations of 'Oumuamua, say that despite its exotic origins, the asteroid is familiar in appearance. In a paper submitted to Astrophysical Journal Letters, they argue that its size, rotation, and reddish colour are similar to those of asteroids in our Solar System. Measuring about 180m by 30m, it resembles a chunky cigar.

"The most remarkable thing about ['Oumuamua'] is that, except for its shape, how familiar and physically unremarkable it is," said co-author Jayadev Rajagopal from the US National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO).

Also at the National Optical Astronomy Observatory and Scientific American.

Previously: Possible Interstellar Asteroid/Comet Enters Solar System


Original Submission

Oumuamua Likely Originated in the Local Association (Pleiades Moving Group) 10 comments

The interstellar asteroid 'Oumuamua's likely movements have been tracked based on the relative positions of nearby stars. Observations of 'Oumuamua indicate that it has only been subjected to interstellar conditions (cosmic rays, gas, dust) for hundreds of millions of years rather than billions. There are likely to be around 46 million such interstellar objects entering the solar system every year, most of which are too far away to be seen with current telescopes, and are quickly ejected:

[My (Fabo Feng)] latest study gives us a glimpse of exactly where 'Oumuamua may have come from. Reconstructing the object's motion, my research suggests it probably came from the nearby "Pleiades moving group" of young stars, also known as the "Local Association". It was likely ejected from its home solar system and sent out to travel interstellar space.

Based on 'Oumuamua's trajectory, I simulated how it has probably travelled through the galaxy and compared this to the motions of nearby stars. I found the object passed 109 stars within a distance of 16 light years. It went by five of these stars from in the Local Association (a group of young stars likely to have formed together), at a very slow speed relative to their movement.

It's likely that when 'Oumuamua was first ejected into space, it was travelling at just enough speed to break away from the gravity of its planet or star of origin, rather than at a much faster speed that would require even more energy. This means we'd expect the object to move relatively slowly at the start of its interstellar journey, and so its slow encounters with these five stars suggests it was ejected from one of the group.

Pleiades star cluster. "Code and results" for the arXiv paper.

We should capture as many interstellar asteroids as possible and smash them together to create a new dwarf planet near the Earth.

Previously: Possible Interstellar Asteroid/Comet Enters Solar System
Interstellar Asteroid Named: Oumuamua
ESO Observations Show First Interstellar Asteroid is Like Nothing Seen Before
Breakthrough Listen to Observe Interstellar Asteroid 'Oumuamua for Radio Emissions (none were found)


Original Submission

Breakthrough Listen to Observe Interstellar Asteroid 'Oumuamua for Radio Emissions 17 comments

'Oumuamua's interstellar origin and unusually elongated shape has been enough to convince the billionaire-backed Breakthrough Listen to observe it to look for signs of alien technology:

The team's efforts will begin on Wednesday, with astronomers observing the asteroid, which is currently speeding away from our Solar System, across four different radio frequency bands. The first set of observations is due to last for 10 hours.

[...] Mr Milner's Breakthrough Listen programme released a statement which read: "Researchers working on long-distance space transportation have previously suggested that a cigar or needle shape is the most likely architecture for an interstellar spacecraft, since this would minimise friction and damage from interstellar gas and dust."

Andrew Siemion, director of the Berkeley SETI Research Center, who is part of the initiative, said: "'Oumuamua's presence within our Solar System affords Breakthrough Listen an opportunity to reach unprecedented sensitivities to possible artificial transmitters and demonstrate our ability to track nearby, fast-moving objects." He added: "Whether this object turns out to be artificial or natural, it's a great target for Listen."

Previously: Possible Interstellar Asteroid/Comet Enters Solar System
Interstellar Asteroid Named: Oumuamua
ESO Observations Show First Interstellar Asteroid is Like Nothing Seen Before


Original Submission

Retrograde Jupiter Co-Orbital Asteroid May Have an Interstellar Origin 11 comments

Astronomers have posited an interstellar origin for (514107) 2015 BZ509, the first example of a retrograde co-orbital asteroid with one of the solar system's planets (Jupiter):

An asteroid in Jupiter's orbit [Note: actually orbiting the Sun and crossing the orbit of Jupiter] may have come from outside our Solar System, according to a new study. Unlike 'Oumuamua, the interstellar object which briefly visited the Solar System earlier this year, 2015 BZ509 (affectionately known as BZ) seems to have been here for 4.5 billion years. This makes it the first known interstellar asteroid to have taken up residence orbiting the Sun.

It is not yet known where the object came from. "That's what we need to figure out next," laughs Dr Fathi Namouni from the Universite Cote d'Azur, one of the study's authors. "Because 'Oumuamua was just passing by... it's not that difficult to go back and pinpoint where it came from," he told BBC News. "BZ reached the Solar System when it was forming, when the planets themselves were not exactly where they are now. So it's a little more tricky to figure out where it came from."

Also at Scientific American, Science News, EarthSky, and CNN.

An interstellar origin for Jupiter's retrograde co-orbital asteroid (open, DOI: 10.1093/mnrasl/sly057) (DX)

Related: Possible Interstellar Asteroid/Comet Enters Solar System
Interstellar Asteroid Named: 'Oumuamua
ESO Observations Show First Interstellar Asteroid is Like Nothing Seen Before
Breakthrough Listen to Observe Interstellar Asteroid 'Oumuamua for Radio Emissions (none were found)
'Oumuamua Likely Originated in the Local Association (Pleiades Moving Group)


Original Submission

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
(1)
  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 27 2017, @04:16PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 27 2017, @04:16PM (#588279)

    "What's most surprising is that we've never seen interstellar objects pass through before,"

    Mmhmm, and how long has humanity been capable of tracking such objects compared to interstellar transit times? They apparently fly through so fast that it is a wonder they're seen at all! Given the sheer vastness of space the chance that a big rock even passes near our Sun is pretty slim. I don't find it surprising at all that we don't see more interstellar objects. But I'm just an armchair physicist who doesn't specialize in small body astronomy.

    • (Score: -1, Redundant) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 27 2017, @04:57PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 27 2017, @04:57PM (#588303)

      But I'm just an armchair physicist who doesn't specialize in small body astronomy.

      Evidently.

      • (Score: 2, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 27 2017, @05:00PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 27 2017, @05:00PM (#588305)

        Gee, one of the few to call myself out for criticizing an expert yet you felt the need to highlight it. You're evidently an armchair douche!

  • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 27 2017, @04:30PM (8 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 27 2017, @04:30PM (#588291)

    Klaatu barada nikto

    • (Score: 2) by BasilBrush on Friday October 27 2017, @06:16PM (7 children)

      by BasilBrush (3994) on Friday October 27 2017, @06:16PM (#588346)

      That was my first thought. Lets hope it's an alien ship.

      --
      Hurrah! Quoting works now!
      • (Score: 2) by frojack on Friday October 27 2017, @08:11PM

        by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Friday October 27 2017, @08:11PM (#588402) Journal

        That's no Moon!!!

        --
        No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
      • (Score: 2) by Pslytely Psycho on Saturday October 28 2017, @10:07AM (5 children)

        by Pslytely Psycho (1218) on Saturday October 28 2017, @10:07AM (#588626)

        Don't worry, we will get another chance, after all, the Raman's do everything in threes.......

        --
        The Trump Presidency, an attempt to make Nixon look respectable......
        • (Score: 2) by Justin Case on Saturday October 28 2017, @07:04PM (4 children)

          by Justin Case (4239) Subscriber Badge on Saturday October 28 2017, @07:04PM (#588754) Journal

          ... except inspire decent fiction. The first book was superlative in so many ways; the sequels were just an attempt by another writer to drain dollars from hopeful / gullible readers like me.

          • (Score: 2) by Pslytely Psycho on Sunday October 29 2017, @01:47AM (1 child)

            by Pslytely Psycho (1218) on Sunday October 29 2017, @01:47AM (#588869)

            Yep, they got me too. Wanna start a gullible readers club?

            --
            The Trump Presidency, an attempt to make Nixon look respectable......
            • (Score: 2) by deimtee on Monday October 30 2017, @12:33PM

              by deimtee (3272) on Monday October 30 2017, @12:33PM (#589413)

              I've already started one. Send me $10 to join.

          • (Score: 1) by toddestan on Sunday October 29 2017, @05:20AM (1 child)

            by toddestan (4982) on Sunday October 29 2017, @05:20AM (#588935)

            The key really is to avoid anything co-authored by Gentry Lee. He seems like a smart guy, but never really cared much for his writing style.

            • (Score: 2) by Pslytely Psycho on Tuesday October 31 2017, @12:44AM

              by Pslytely Psycho (1218) on Tuesday October 31 2017, @12:44AM (#589794)

              The only 'writing style' I ever noticed from Lee was the ability to insert expletives into series that never needed it to be great, and lessened those series in doing so.

              --
              The Trump Presidency, an attempt to make Nixon look respectable......
  • (Score: 2, Funny) by Revek on Friday October 27 2017, @04:45PM (1 child)

    by Revek (5022) on Friday October 27 2017, @04:45PM (#588297)

    He's never seen me play kerbal space program.

    • (Score: 1) by Revek on Friday October 27 2017, @04:47PM

      by Revek (5022) on Friday October 27 2017, @04:47PM (#588298)

      and are they using universe sandbox for their animations?

  • (Score: 4, Informative) by Thexalon on Friday October 27 2017, @04:54PM (2 children)

    by Thexalon (636) on Friday October 27 2017, @04:54PM (#588301) Homepage

    It's very rare for comets to be cube-shaped. I wonder what ... This is Thexalon of Borg. Resistance is futile.

    --
    A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of bad gravy.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 27 2017, @05:27PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 27 2017, @05:27PM (#588319)

      Where does it say it was cube shaped?

      • (Score: 2) by Osamabobama on Friday October 27 2017, @06:22PM

        by Osamabobama (5842) on Friday October 27 2017, @06:22PM (#588347)

        Where does it say it was cube shaped?

        I'll help you find it:

        It's very rare for comets to be cube-shaped.

        That's probably the only place you will see it.

        --
        Appended to the end of comments you post. Max: 120 chars.
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Grishnakh on Friday October 27 2017, @05:01PM (18 children)

    by Grishnakh (2831) on Friday October 27 2017, @05:01PM (#588307)

    While we don't really know, since we haven't been tracking these things for that long, it's likely that interstellar asteroids don't pass this close by Earth all that often. So it's sad that we don't have our space program built up enough to take advantage of this possibly rare opportunity to study this object. We've launched probes to investigate other planets, moons, asteroids, and comets, but these are all products of our own system, so they tell us a lot about how our system formed, but an object like this can give us a very different perspective since it's not a product of the formation of our solar system. We really should be launching a lander to study it, return samples, etc. But there's probably no way we could get one ready and launched in time to intercept this thing; it'll be headed out of the solar system before we can launch, and moving too fast for our probe to catch up.

    • (Score: 4, Funny) by bob_super on Friday October 27 2017, @05:16PM

      by bob_super (1357) on Friday October 27 2017, @05:16PM (#588316)

      I have compiled a list of the perfect people to put on the probe to study the next object on a fast transition in and out of the solar system.
      Let me see if I can attach the file for your review. It's called ArkB.lst.

    • (Score: 2) by frojack on Friday October 27 2017, @08:24PM (10 children)

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Friday October 27 2017, @08:24PM (#588410) Journal

      So it's sad that we don't have our space program built up enough to take advantage of this possibly rare opportunity to study this object.

      A/2017 U1 was discovered Oct. 19th. It had been inbound before it was detected, it whipped around the sun and was outbound already when we first saw it.

      So unless you were bemoaning the lack of FTL drive, there's no amount of "built up" that would allow us to have a spare satellite on a launcher, launch it, and chase down this little rock. Just a reminder, Star Trek is fiction.

      --
      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Grishnakh on Friday October 27 2017, @08:47PM (7 children)

        by Grishnakh (2831) on Friday October 27 2017, @08:47PM (#588416)

        If we had a more robust presence in space capable of detecting asteroids in or near the inner solar system, we should have detected it much sooner. We didn't see it until it was too late for the same reason we've been caught with our pants down many times, where we detected an asteroid that came somewhat close to hitting the planet but we only saw it after it had already gone by. There's no excuse for that.

        I'm not bemoaning the lack of sci-fi technology, I'm bemoaning the lack of sufficient hardware in space at our own current level of technology. We already have the technology to see these things long before we currently detect them, we just choose not to fund programs to build them. Space-based telescopes are not like FTL drive.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 27 2017, @09:03PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 27 2017, @09:03PM (#588426)

          But it seems unlikely that any reasonable such program would have seen this one. It came in at a right angle to every other asteroid near us ever (that we've recorded.)

          • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Saturday October 28 2017, @02:18AM

            by Grishnakh (2831) on Saturday October 28 2017, @02:18AM (#588518)

            Perhaps. But I like to think that if we had a decent number of space telescopes out there monitoring the solar system, from different vantage points, we would have seen this one. While most asteroids are indeed in the same plane as our planetary orbits, because of the way our system formed, interstellar objects are more likely to come in at different angles so if we had sufficient observation capability, why wouldn't we spend a little time looking there?

        • (Score: 1) by khallow on Sunday October 29 2017, @05:17AM (4 children)

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday October 29 2017, @05:17AM (#588933) Journal

          If we had a more robust presence in space capable of detecting asteroids in or near the inner solar system, we should have detected it much sooner. We didn't see it until it was too late for the same reason we've been caught with our pants down many times, where we detected an asteroid that came somewhat close to hitting the planet but we only saw it after it had already gone by. There's no excuse for that.

          What exactly is the hurry? It's not like we're blowing this task off. Detection is getting there rather rapidly even if it's not quite as rapid as you'd like.

          • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Monday October 30 2017, @01:42AM (3 children)

            by Grishnakh (2831) on Monday October 30 2017, @01:42AM (#589293)

            What's the hurry in detecting *this* rock, or any rock?

            First, I'm not getting any younger, so there's that. Second, being able to detect any rock is important because you never know when the next city-killer or civilization-killer is going to come along, and the earlier you know about it, the more time you have to come up with a workable defense plan. If you know a K-T-sized asteroid is coming and will impact in 100 years, that's enough time for us to figure out how to launch some ion engines or whatever up there and start pushing on it to move it to a safer orbit. But if we screw around for decades and then find out it's going to hit us in a year, there's probably no way we'll be able to avoid it. 100 years ago, we didn't know about asteroids like this; these days, we know that one likely killed off the dinosaurs and caused an enormous extinction event, plus we know about other ones that caused massive destruction in Earth's history. And these days, humans are far more populous and spread out than ever before, so there's a lot more chance of any impactor causing great loss of human life.

            • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday October 30 2017, @03:16AM (2 children)

              by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday October 30 2017, @03:16AM (#589331) Journal
              There are a lot of dangers like this where one can expend a lot of resources and effort right now with little gain or more modest resources over a longer time. My point is that we can expend a huge amount of resources for modest improvement in detection, or modest resources a few decades later with far more comprehensive results and very slight additional risk. For example, I think we're a decade or two away from being able to find every asteroid inside the orbit of Saturn with a radius of 100 meters or more, perhaps even down to 10 meters with mostly off the shelf technologies. Spotting interstellar trajectory asteroids would take some more effort, but it's not much more.
              • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Monday October 30 2017, @02:21PM (1 child)

                by Grishnakh (2831) on Monday October 30 2017, @02:21PM (#589444)

                This is a pretty big danger, as proven by the K-T extinction event, the Tunguska, event, the strike a few years ago in Russia, etc. But also, technologies developed for countering asteroid threats can also be profitable: they can be used to learn about asteroids, and find asteroids that can be mined, and then capture these asteroids to be mined (after all, if you can move an asteroid to a safer orbit, you can also move it to a place advantageous for mining). So money spent on developing these capabilities wouldn't just be "wasted" on a low-probability threat; some of these rocks are worth a lot of money.

                As for detecting 10m asteroids with off-the-shelf technologies, I'm not so sure about that. Seeing things that small surely would require space-based observatories, and those aren't cheap (nor would I call them "off the shelf").

                • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday October 30 2017, @04:08PM

                  by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday October 30 2017, @04:08PM (#589493) Journal
                  You're not significantly changing the danger by acting now rather than a decade or two from now.

                  But also, technologies developed for countering asteroid threats can also be profitable: they can be used to learn about asteroids, and find asteroids that can be mined, and then capture these asteroids to be mined (after all, if you can move an asteroid to a safer orbit, you can also move it to a place advantageous for mining).

                  Nor will there be much change in the profitability of these technologies if they're deployed twenty years from now since we aren't mining asteroids in the next twenty years.

      • (Score: 1) by toddestan on Sunday October 29 2017, @05:43AM (1 child)

        by toddestan (4982) on Sunday October 29 2017, @05:43AM (#588943)

        I would say we'd have little hope of catching a rock like this. It's going to be going faster than the escape velocity of the solar system, and we've only managed to get a small handful of objects up to that kind of speed. And in the case of this rock, it's going about 50% faster than the Voyager probes. And there's no time to do any planetary fly-bys either.

        Given that, your only real hope would be some kind of impacter you would maneuver in the way and let it slam into it. Given it did actually get get really close to Earth (by space standards) - the New Horizon's probe was launched at about 58,000 km/h which is only a couple of days travel time from the point of the closest point it got to the Earth. So sending a mission to this object isn't completely unfeasible given current technology.

        • (Score: 2, Interesting) by khallow on Sunday October 29 2017, @09:55AM

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday October 29 2017, @09:55AM (#588978) Journal
          It's worth noting that it'll exit the Solar System with a lower velocity as it climbs out of the gravity well of the Sun, maybe 26 km/s at a long distance from the Sun? Even a century from now, an unmanned spacecraft would be able to catch up and match speed to the object, though it'd take significant time and engineering to do so. For example, I'd suggest an Americium 241-powered radiothermal generator (RTG) combined with ion propulsion system. The half-life of the Am-241 is roughly 432 years which would be a good time frame for a pursuit mission, a century from now. Meanwhile the ion propulsion system would have a good exhaust velocity figure (~30-60 km/s) meaning that with propellant to total mass of spacecraft of well over 50% would give ample delta-v for exceeding the velocity of A/2017 U1 and then decelerating to match the object's velocity. That's in addition to a decent bit of starting delta-v from an initial chemical engine boost in Earth orbit (perhaps passing around the Moon to get the necessary out of plane motion to the start).

          The real problem is whether we've figured out the motion of the object well enough to find it again centuries from now. There will be a considerable bit of error in the positioning of the object and it's going to be a challenge to find such a small object again in a few centuries. For example, if the error in velocity is a omnidirectional 100 m/s, in oh, 5 centuries, that would be 10 AU radius volume to search through (roughly from the orbit of Saturn on in). I think they'll do much better than that, but it's still going to be a huge stretch of space to search through.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 27 2017, @08:56PM (4 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 27 2017, @08:56PM (#588420)

      "we haven't been tracking these things for that long"
      really? stop already.

      the biggest danger to this planet is the human!

      even if it would hit us, there would be NO use to chronicle it, because we would all be dead or to busy surviving to chronicle it, unless some political part survives.

      statistically, and we love statisticalls? yes? there's no way that people still using android will every get hit and die out by an asteroid

      • (Score: 2) by frojack on Friday October 27 2017, @09:16PM (3 children)

        by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Friday October 27 2017, @09:16PM (#588429) Journal

        even if it would hit us, there would be NO use to chronicle it, because we would all be dead

        400 meters in diameter doesn't come close to an extinction event. Just modest urban renewal.
        Think a little over twice as big as Meteor Crater in New Mexico, where 150-foot-wide chunk of iron-nickel instantly carved out what is still the planet’s most well-preserved meteorite impact site.

        The Chicxulub impactor may have been about 10 km (6 miles) across and formed a world wide irridium layer and killed off most of the dinosaurs - enabling...us.

        --
        No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
        • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Saturday October 28 2017, @02:25AM (2 children)

          by Grishnakh (2831) on Saturday October 28 2017, @02:25AM (#588522)

          It's not quite that simple: the destructive energy of an asteroid is a product of its size, its velocity relative to Earth, its angle of entry into the atmosphere, and its composition. A 150-ft wide rock going 20 times as fast as the Meteor Crater site is Arizona (not New Mexico) is likely going to do a lot more damage than the crater seen there. Also, that crater is probably well-preserved mainly because it's relatively young. The Chicxulub crater is hard to see any more (even though it's enormous) because 66 million years have passed, instead of only 50,000. A lot of erosion has happened in 66M years (plus it's partly in the water, which causes even more erosion than high desert like where Barringer Crater is).

          • (Score: 2) by frojack on Saturday October 28 2017, @06:14AM (1 child)

            by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Saturday October 28 2017, @06:14AM (#588591) Journal

            It's not quite that simple:

            Its every bit as simple as that. You, nor anyone else has any real idea of the speed of impact of any of the impactors that have hit earth in the distant past.

            Where something hit has little to do with the damage done. The 6KM impactor at Chicxulub managed to cover the earh with a layer of iridium that is unmistakable in the geological record. The 150 foot solid steal impactor at Meteor Crater air burst, and left very little of itself anywhere. Not even in the crater. Why? Because atmospheres mitigate many surface impacts through atmospheric entry and breakup. Speed doesn't matter much with small impactors. There's sort of a tall poppy syndrome at work with small meteors. The faster they come the more they burn and break up. Even metallic ones.

            The duration that the crater persists has absolute nothing, nothing to do with the case.

            --
            No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
            • (Score: 1) by khallow on Sunday October 29 2017, @09:29AM

              by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday October 29 2017, @09:29AM (#588973) Journal
              Energy does matter. The Meteor Crater burst has been estimated to be about 10 megatons. If it were going 20 times as fast, that would be a 4,000 megaton impact (20^2 = 400 times more energy). Air isn't going to dissipate that.

              However, the impact that is thought to have ended the dinosaurs was about 7 orders of magnitude larger than the Meteor Crater impact. At that point, an asteroid would need to be going a significant fraction of the speed of light.
    • (Score: 2) by inertnet on Friday October 27 2017, @08:57PM

      by inertnet (4071) on Friday October 27 2017, @08:57PM (#588421)

      Maybe we can still get our hands at some dust of this thing because it passed relatively close to Earth? Would be interesting to know its composition.

  • (Score: 4, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 27 2017, @05:03PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 27 2017, @05:03PM (#588310)

    Somebody on Pegasus is going to get bonked on the head by this thing, and they're gonna think we did it.

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by frojack on Friday October 27 2017, @08:28PM

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Friday October 27 2017, @08:28PM (#588411) Journal

      And somewhere in the constellation Lyra, someone is hanging up his galactic pool cue and reaching for his wallet to buy a round for the table, having missed his shot at the blue ball in the far pocket.

      --
      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 27 2017, @06:53PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 27 2017, @06:53PM (#588364)

    (it almost certainly didn't, but)
    which is ~25 light years away (other stars in Lyra are much further).

    Further assuming it traveled at 25.5 km/s the whole way
    (it certainly did not, since the Sun's gravity had been accelerating it on the way in),
    and doing a bit of math...

    Its been traveling approximately 300k years.

    Eldest human bones are also approximately 300k years old (https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/jun/07/oldest-homo-sapiens-bones-ever-found-shake-foundations-of-the-human-story).

    Coincidence? I think not.

    Pest control? Almost certainly.

    (math details, in case I mathed wrong):
    Light years to vega 25.04
    seconds in a year 31,536,000
    light seconds to vega 789,661,440
    speed of object km/s 25.5
    speed of light km/s 299792.458
    fraction of speed of light its going 8.50588E-05
    Time in seconds its been traveling 9,283,707,611,193
    Time in years its been traveling 294384.4372

    • (Score: 2) by DutchUncle on Friday October 27 2017, @07:23PM

      by DutchUncle (5370) on Friday October 27 2017, @07:23PM (#588379)

      So are you suggesting that this is an Agent of Vega?

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Grishnakh on Friday October 27 2017, @07:49PM

      by Grishnakh (2831) on Friday October 27 2017, @07:49PM (#588393)

      Are you suggesting this was an attempted attack by the Vegans? Or that humans on Earth are a colony of Vegans?

      Either way, this is very disturbing. Vegans are some of the most condescending, annoying people I've ever seen, possibly even worse than Hillary Clinton supporters and GNOME developers.

  • (Score: 2) by DutchUncle on Friday October 27 2017, @07:30PM

    by DutchUncle (5370) on Friday October 27 2017, @07:30PM (#588382)
    http://you-books.com/book/L-Niven/The-Fourth-Profession [you-books.com]

    Because there's no way a Republican administration would build a launching laser for someone else's spaceship, and they'll make our sun explode.
  • (Score: 2) by r1348 on Friday October 27 2017, @07:41PM

    by r1348 (5988) on Friday October 27 2017, @07:41PM (#588389)

    'bout freakin' time!!!!

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 27 2017, @08:50PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 27 2017, @08:50PM (#588417)

    duh.
    it will ALWAYS be:
    "This is the most extreme orbit I have ever seen" until we DONT hear about it anymore, or rather wont be able to : }
    for profit:
    next week the meteor will be travel at light-speed at the size of some molecule.

  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 28 2017, @02:02PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 28 2017, @02:02PM (#588674)

    "This is the most extreme orbit I have ever seen," said Davide Farnocchia, a scientist at NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS)

    Orbit implies that it is coming back. The word he wants is trajectory.

(1)