Thursday, January 05, 2017

A comet and a mysterious object headed toward Earth

NASA recently spotted two massive space objects hurtling towards Earth.
While the American space agency has pinpointed one as a comet, the other has left it slightly more baffled.
The comet is set to fly close to Earth this week, but the mystery object isn't expected to make an appearance until February.
The object, dubbed "2016 WF9", was detected by NASA's asteroid- and comet-hunting NEOWISE project on 27 November 2016.

Credits: NASA 

It is roughly 0.3 to 0.6 miles (0.5 to 1 kilometres) across and is in an orbit that takes it on a scenic tour of our solar system.
At its farthest distance from the sun, it approaches Jupiter's orbit.
Over the course of 4.9 Earth-years, it travels inward, passing under the main asteroid belt and the orbit of Mars until it swings just inside Earth's own orbit.
After that, it heads back toward the outer solar system.

However, NASA scientists are not sure whether it is a comet or an asteroid .
"2016 WF9 could have cometary origins," said Deputy Principal Investigator James "Gerbs" Bauer at NASA's JPL.
"This object illustrates that the boundary between asteroids and comets is a blurry one; perhaps over time this object has lost the majority of the volatiles that linger on or just under its surface."

Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech
© Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech 
While 2016 WF9 is dark like a comet, it appears to lack the characteristic dust and gas cloud that defines a comet.
On 25 February, 2017 WF9 will approach Earth's orbit at a distance of nearly 32 million miles (51 million kilometres) from our home planet. NASA said that the object is "not a threat to Earth for the foreseeable future".
Meanwhile, the other object, which has been firmly classified as a comet could be visible this week. The comet, C/2016 U1 NEOWISE, "has a good chance of becoming visible through a good pair of binoculars, although we can't be sure because a comet's brightness is notoriously unpredictable," said Paul Chodas, manager of NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object (NEO) Studies at JPL.

Credits: Getty
© Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Getty 
Those in the northern hemisphere may be able to spot the comet in the southeastern sky shortly before dawn this week. It is moving farther south each day and it will reach its closest point to the sun, inside the orbit of Mercury, on 14 January, before heading back out to the outer reaches of the solar system for an orbit lasting thousands of years.
While the comet may be visible to stargazers, it is not considered to be a threat to the planet.
The NEOWISE project discovered more than 34,000 asteroids during its original mission and was brought out of hibernation in December 2013 to detect comets and asteroids that could pose a threat to Earth. We hope this program and others like it do not come under Mr Trump's axe, as he chops away at vital public institutions which are a necessary part of the infrastructure of the United States.


  1. There are groups working against Trump , you do not hear of them often , the work quietly to keep the media from spilling the beans , that is how Obama and his team caught Bin Laden , the news media talk to much and the enemies know what you are going to do before you do it .
    This is a good one , I do so think Jonny and Chris copied it for NASA .
    Hugs HB

    Go to wag

  2. That is good to know. All we can see from here is turmoil and unhappy people. Mr Trump has announced everything he intends to do quite publicly and even more on Twitter. The enemies just have to go to social media for information.
    I watched the story of Gary Hart on TV a couple of days ago. He was a perfectly nice guy, intelligent, well informed good material for the presidency and he ruined his career by having an affair. What the hell business is that of anyone's. A lot of your presidents have had affairs, even Ike. And here is Mr Trump who cheated on two wives, cheated so many clients and partners that he has outstanding lawsuits against him, won't reveal his tax records and is rife with conflicts of interest and he is still going to be inaugurated. I don't get it.
    Thank you for the note. I answered you and will write more later.
    Love Bfly


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