Sunday, October 01, 2017

if we make it

We discussed meteors, then asteroids, the differences between comets and asteroids, and then asteroids that might hit the Earth. Tons of material from space falls into our atmosphere every day. The world space agencies meet to plan for some of the game-changer events. But I didn't believe we had global support (and funding) to mount a serious campaign. The object that hit the Earth near the Yucat√°n Peninsula killed most of the plant and animal species.

Major solar flares can be bad. But that's been happening for millions of years. Serious events can affect satellites and power grids.

I said that I used the Space Weather web site to monitor things like this and specifically referred to the Potential Hazardous Asteroids (PHA) table. Of course that lead to other interesting ways that we might die (if certain world leaders don't do us all in). There are many threats from other space.

I mentioned Phil Plait's book Death From The Skies! You don't want to get spaghettified if a black hole wanders through our solar system, stretched apart by gravitational tidal forces. If a supernova goes off nearby, that could be bad. Betelgeuse, at 222 parsecs, might pop at any moment (it may already have).

Happy thoughts!

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I couldn't remember the exact number. The Popular Science article says that 60 tons of cosmic dust falls to Earth every day.

The wikipedia article on the Chicxulub crater says 75% of life was destroyed in the incident.

NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO) monitor near-Earth objects (NEOs). Many strategies are discussed in the asteroid collision avoidance article at wikipedia.

The Spaceweather.com web site has information about sunspots, solar flares, aurora, asteroids, etc.

The Near-Earth supernova article at wikipedia says that we'll get a significant dose of gamma radiation if a star pops within 10 to 300 parsecs (30 to 1000 light-years).

Quick reviews of Plait's book.

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