Skull-shaped dead comet TB145 will hurtle past Earth on Halloween

A huge asteroid will zoom by Earth on Halloween, but don’t panic

On Halloween, Earth will get an erratic visitor from deep space. A newly detected asteroid — named 2015 TB145 — will pass within nearly 300,000 miles of our planet on October 31st. That's 1.3 times the distance between the Earth and the Moon. It's a pretty big asteroid too, with a diameter somewhere between 950 and 2,100 feet across — somewhere between the height of the Chrysler Building and the Shanghai Tower. As far as we know, it's the closest an object of this size will get to our planet until asteroid 1999 AN10 comes within just one lunar distance of Earth in 2027.
Before you panic, NASA scientist Davide Farnocchia says there's absolutely no chance that 2015 TB145 will ruin your trick-or-treating plans; it's just zipping by for a quick hello. In fact, we get visits like these from asteroids all the time. NASA has cataloged around 8,000 near Earth asteroids of this size or larger — however, we only get close visits from objects of this size about once per decade. The last big asteroid to pass so close to Earth was asteroid 2005 YU55, a 1,300-foot wide rock that passed within 0.85 lunar distances in 2011.
There's absolutely no chance that 2015 TB145 will ruin your trick-or-treating plans
2015 TB145 is also a bit unusual because it's moving super fast. It will hurtle past Earth at nearly 22 miles per second, a much higher velocity than the average asteroid speed of 6 miles per second. This asteroid's orbit is deemed "extremely eccentric," meaning it's path is much more elliptical than the normally circular orbits asteroids take.
Additionally, NASA only found about 2015 TB145 last week, after it was spotted by the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope on October 10th. Farnocchia says it's completely normal to find asteroids like this so late. The reason for the short warning time is because this space rock isn't considered that big to NASA. The space agency's mainly concerned with finding asteroids that are much larger — usually more than 3,200 feet wide. Those are the objects that could potentially wipe us out if they collided with Earth. NASA-funded surveys are constantly observing the night sky to find these "extinction-level" asteroids, and we've mapped out an estimated 90 percent of them so far. There are no threats of these larger asteroids hitting us within the next century — that we know about, anyway.
2015 TB145 would fall somewhere between "Destruction on a national scale" and "Destruction on a European scale" if it were to hit us. But it won't. (Source: The International Schiller Institute)
Still, if 2015 TB145 were to hit us (reminder: it won't), it wouldn't be fun. If the asteroid's diameter is at the smaller end of its estimated range, the asteroid could cause an extremely large regional disaster. At the higher end, we'd be just below a global catastrophic event. You can play with this fun calculator to see how different-sized asteroids would destroy Earth.
Although NASA has a pretty good map of many of the killer asteroids out there, there are still about 10 percent that the space agency doesn't know about. Other organizations hope to increase our planet's knowledge of potential threats, in order to spot a doomsday space rock way before it's scheduled to hit us. The B612 Foundation, for example, wants to launch a space telescope for the sole purpose of looking for these types of asteroids, giving us ample warning time to mount a defense in case one is headed our way.


Mysterious Space Object Is on a Collision Course With Earth on November 13

Massive piece of space debris WT1190F is on collision course with Earth

Massive piece of space junk WT1190F is on collision course with Earth
Don’t worry folks… it won’t look like this (Picture: Alamy)
It’s not a catchy name, but a piece of space debris called WT1190F is on a collision course with Earth.
The unidentified piece of junk is between one and two metres in length, ready to enter earth’s atmosphere on November 13.
It’s expected to fall thorough our skies at 6.19am to the south of Sri Lanka, with any bits that don’t burn up upon entry crashing into the Indian Ocean.
The bright speck in the centre of the picture is the space junk
The bright speck in the centre of the picture is the space junk
The junk – which could actually be from an Apollo mission – has a rather ironic name… take out the numbers and you’re left with the same question that scientists are currently trying to answer: WTF?
Some think it may be hollow – a fuel tank or some such – or of low density while others can’t wait for it to arrive so that they can carry out observations.
The object was first spotted in February 2013 but it’s been lost a couple of times, only to be re-discovered earlier this month.
Johnathan McDowell, astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said it was ‘a lost piece of space history that’s come back to haunt us.’

Strong Magnitude 5.5 Earthquake Hits Fukushima Prefecture October 21,2015

BREAKING: M5.5 quake, 4 on Japanese shindo scale, hits Fukushima & Miyagi prefectures at 3:04 JST; no tsunami warning issued.It's felt also Tokyo Area....Updates coming soon...
    情報発表時刻2015年10月21日 15時08分
    発生時刻2015年10月21日 15時04分ごろ

    Has Kepler Discovered an Alien Megastructure in Deep Space orbiting a distant star

    Alien technology possibly spotted orbiting a distant star

    Nestled between the constellations of Cygnus and Lyra sits what might be the strangest, most mysterious star in our galaxy. This star, designated as KIC 8462852, is not particularly unusual in and of itself. What's odd is what astronomers have spotted orbitting it: an irregularly-shaped mess of objects that appear unnatural, possibly even alien, reports The Atlantic.
    The star was first flagged by amateur astronomers in 2011 for its peculiar dimming pattern, as detected by the Kepler Space Telescope. By themselves, dimming patterns in distant stars are not that usual. In fact, they are what Kepler scientists look for in their hunt for faraway planets. As planets pass in front of their stars, they momentarily block out a portion of the light being emitted by the star, thus revealing themselves. Thousands of exoplanets have been discovered this way in recent years.
    The dimming pattern identified in KIC 8462852, however, was unlike any discovered among the over 150,000 stars that have been analyzed by the Kepler Space Telescope. The pattern suggested that KIC 8462852 was surrounded by a whole jumble of objects in extremely tight formation. Such a pattern might be expected from a young star, with a solar system that was first forming. Young solar systems are typically characterized by a messy field of debris, which eventually coalesces into a system of planets as the star's gravity molds and shapes them. But KIC 8462852 is not a young star. A field of dust surrounding a young star would give off infrared light, and excess infrared light is not observed here.

    “We’d never seen anything like this star,” explained Tabetha Boyajian, a postdoc at Yale. “It was really weird. We thought it might be bad data or movement on the spacecraft, but everything checked out.”
    It should be reiterated that this mess of objects is irregularly-shaped. It's not something that should form naturally, not given a sufficient amount of time, anyway. So it's likely that it was deposited there recently, since otherwise such a field of objects would have been shaped into a more regular pattern or swallowed up by the star's gravitational field by now. 
    So what is it? Scientists have considered a number of scenarios, from instrument defects, to an asteroid belt pileup, to planets crashing into one another. But at this juncture the list of possible explanations has been narrowed to two. First, it's possible that the debris field could be a sea of comets, recently yanked inward into the solar system by the gravity of another close-passing star. This sort of event would represent an extraordinary coincidence, though-- a rare event, one not observed in any other star ever observed.
    The second possibility that can't be ruled out is a wild one, an explanation that scientists don't put forward lightly. It's possible that there is no natural explanation for the objects circling KIC 8462852 at all. It's possible they are alien.
    “When [I was shown] the data, I was fascinated by how crazy it looked,” explained Jason Wright, an astronomer from Penn State University, to The Atlantic. “Aliens should always be the very last hypothesis you consider, but this looked like something you would expect an alien civilization to build.”
    In other words, it could be a swarm of mega-structures put there by E.T.-- our first glimpse at alien technology. Perhaps it's a fleet of alien spacecraft, perhaps a network of stellar-light collectors, technology designed to catch energy from the star. You can let your imagination run wild. 
    The idea has garnered enough momentum that researchers at SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) have submitted a proposal to point a massive radio dish at the unusual star, to see if it emits radio waves at frequencies associated with technological activity. If such radio waves are detected, then things would get serious. 
    The first observation isn't expected to happen until January, however. Depending on how those measurements go, follow-up research would occur in the ensuing months. 
    If the truth is out there, it might be found circling KIC 8462852. It could be the most exciting news in the history of astronomy, or just another cosmological coincidence. We may find out soon enough.

    Blue skies and water: NASA's surprising new announcement about Pluto

    Blue sky and red ice at Pluto, NASA spacecraft discovers

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — The sky over Pluto may not be sunny but it's undoubtedly blue.

    NASA's New Horizons spacecraft discovered Pluto's blue sky during the historic flyby of the icy dwarf planet in July. The images of Pluto's atmospheric haze were beamed down last week and released by NASA on Thursday.
    The particles in the atmospheric haze are actually red and gray, according to scientists. But the way the particles scatter blue light is what has everyone excited about the dwarf planet orbiting on the far fringes of our solar system, a twilight zone known more formally as the Kuiper Belt.
    "Who would have expected a blue sky in the Kuiper Belt? It's gorgeous," Alan Stern, the principal scientist for New Horizons, said in a NASA release about the latest images.
    The blue tint can help scientists understand the size and makeup of the haze particles surrounding Pluto, where twilight constantly reigns given the 3.6 billion-mile distance between it and the sun.
    Pluto's high-altitude haze seems to be comparable to that of Saturn's moon, Titan, according to NASA, and the result of interaction between molecules.
    In another finding Thursday, scientists have uncovered numerous ice patches on Pluto's surface. The exposed water ice appears to be, mysteriously, red.
    Scientists said they are uncertain why the ice appears in certain places at Pluto and not others.
    Launched in 2006, New Horizons is now 63 million miles beyond Pluto. Johns Hopkins University in Maryland is operating the spacecraft for NASA.

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