Friday, January 3, 2014

Oh, puleeze..."We saw it coming - dinky asteroid hits Earth, burns up"

For only the second time in history, an asteroid has hit Earth that was discoveredhours before impact. But don't panic! The asteroid didn't put a city-sized divot in our planet, it most likely burned up somewhere between Africa and South America over the Atlantic Ocean at midnight EST.

Asteroid 2014 AA, the first asteroid discovery of the year, was spotted by astronomers using the Mt. Lemmon Survey telescope in Arizona. As shrewdly pointed out by Bad Astronomer Phil Plait, the asteroid was the approximate size of a couch - measuring only a couple of meters across. That's around one-half of a Mini Cooper, whichever takes your fancy. But whatever your preferred size comparison, the outcome was likely the same; the asteroid burned up on atmospheric entry as a meteor.

This might have provided a nice visual spectacle only a day after New Years, but 2014 AA is notable as being the first pre-impact discovery of an asteroid since 2008.

Comment: Obviously this article is really trying hard to put forward a "nothing to worry about, go back to sleep" schtick - here's the real story: First observed 'Near Earth Object' this year, named asteroid '2014 AA', impacted planet several hours later!


  1. Yes, I had the same impression as you when I read Plait's dismissive, arrogant assertions about this asteroid. I can't stand his shilling-for-NASA at the best of times, but now it seems to be getting downright dangerous to believe him. Had this extra-terrestrial 'couch' slammed into his living room instead of off the coast of Africa, I would hope his presentation of the event (if he lived to tell about it) would be more mindful of his audience's intelligence.