So who knew it was the International Year of Astronomy?

International Year of Astronomy 2009I didn’t, until the news about the little asteroid 2009 DD45 that just missed our planet yesterday popped into my milieu. I bet if I was a more attentive reader of Bad Astronomy that Phil Plait mentioned it a while back – oh look, it’s right there in the sidebar, enabling me to source the official logo. I probably read something about it around New Year and promptly forgot. Mea culpa.

In case anyone missed the news, a 30 to 50 metre wide-ish asteroid was identified on Friday as heading in our direction, calculations indicated that it would miss us by 40,000 miles, and indeed it did. A 50m wide-ish asteroid in 2008 almost certainly caused the Tunguska event, so this is not an insignificant rock.

Nancy Atkinson has a nice article full of juicy technical details at Universe Today.

Check out this video (see the multimedia box at the top of the sidebars).

Phil Plait hasn’t blogged on this particular Near Earth Object yet – he’s probably only just waking up and we’ll no doubt get something soon-ish, even if it’s just to note, as did Sky and Telescope, that

Thankfully, the news media have become less sensationalistic when it comes to these asteroidal close calls — especially since one actually struck our planet last October 7th, at night, and the impact went virtually unnoticed.

More space goodies: this is the niftiest little applet I’ve seen for a long time – track the orbit of small astronomical bodies, including of course, 2009 DD45.

Categories: media, Science


2 replies

  1. Well, I knew it was Year of Astronomy, but they made a big deal about it here. Stores are having big sales on telescopes, and our school is giving monthly (free!) tours of the observatory.

  2. We knew and posted on 18 January.
    But we didn’t know about the asteroid this week.
    Thanks for the interesting links.
    clarencegirl’s last blog post..Cancer treatment a scandal on the NSW North Coast

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