Asteroid experiences course change 3,400 miles from Earth

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by American Horse, Feb 18, 2011.

  1. American Horse
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    American Horse AKA "Mustang"

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    Scientific American - Record-setting "near miss" of Earth dramatically shifted tiny asteroid's orbit
    On February 4 an asteroid (called 2011 CQ1) had a record-setting "near miss" of Earth out over the Pacific. It's orbit was dramatically shifted much like some of our space missions have been "gravity assisted" or "slingshot maneuvers" have been used in the past; first Mariner 10, then Voyager 1, Galileo, Ulysses, Messenger, finally Cassini have all used the maneuver to increase the speed of the crafts, or to change their courses, sometimes after completing their work in one rendezvous, enabling them to go on to another destination to complete a mission.

    [​IMG]
     
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  2. MaggieMae
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    MaggieMae Reality bits

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    Interesting. Maybe some AI was driving it. (Not being snarky here, I truly am fascinated by that kind of stuff.)
     
  3. Robert_Stephens
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    Robert_Stephens BANNED

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    These are quite common and very very cool. The slingshot effect is awesome. Love it. Thanks for posting this.

    Robert
     
  4. GStarz
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    GStarz Member

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    Let's hope we don;t cause a slingshot effect which draws one CLOSER in the next convergence!
     
  5. American Horse
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    American Horse AKA "Mustang"

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    With this event it has gone from being an Apollo Type asteroid to being an Aten type asteroid, meaning its orbit has been deflected such that its new orbit is now mostly inside Earth's orbit.

    The image above illustrated that clearly, when we take into account the arrow pointing at the location of the sun at that moment in time. Also the moon might have some further effect to incline it back towards the sun.

    Two questions I have (and maybe Robert can answer) ; As I understand the image - (since all views are understood to be from polar north - unless otherwise indicated) wouldn't in this case the mechanics of this slingshot action would be to slow the asteroid rather than transfer velocity to it. Had it passed on the other side of Earth it would've been imparted with some of Earth's own velocity? Is that accurate?

    I entirely accept that events like these are relatively common, but isn't it true these situations are not so common that they are observed unless they drop into the earth's atmosphere, creating a brilliant long lasting trail in which case they are (meteors called) bolides, that have not struck the earth.

    On the other hand "bolides" do ricochet off the atmosphere and return to space; I was fortunate enough to see one back in 1992 moving from south to north, leaving a trail of gas (and debris) before it appeared to go back (I assumed) into space. This happened in broad daylight (so it was not as bright as the sun), but it was soundless and the speed was so great that it only took a few seconds, 3 or 4, to move from about 40-degrees above the southern horizon, to about the same elevation above the northern horizon. Its body, diffused and turbulent, was some large fraction of the sun’s in apparent size. This might've been a Super-Bolide, since its apparent brilliance was significantly closer to the sun’s than a full moon in daylight.

    Here's a video of a bolide in 1992. This is at night​

     
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  6. Sallow
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    Sallow The Big Bad Wolf. Supporting Member

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    Dr. Evil's magnet ray is finally working.
     
  7. JBeukema
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  8. Robert_Stephens
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    Robert_Stephens BANNED

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    This bolide is on its way out of our system, since its velocity precludes the orbital dynamics to remain in system.

    Cool none the less.

    Robert
     
  9. American Horse
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    American Horse AKA "Mustang"

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    I'm confused; The "meteor" I asked velocity and course change about wasn't the bolide, but the asteroid 2011CQ1.
    Is your reference intended to the bolide or asteroid?

    And if it's to the asteroid, when you say "system" am I to understand that to mean the solar system not the earth/moon system?

    And if "it is on the way out of the [solar] system," doesn't that have to mean that it has increased it's velocity rather than lost velocity, since prior to the encounter its velocity could not have been geat enough to allow it to leave the solar system?

    And doesn't the fact that it is now an Aten asteroid (Which the Scientific American link states it is) mean that its perihelion will remain inside the earth's orbit with it's aphelion outside Earth's orbit?

    And if the schematic (above) is accurate doesn't that indicate, with all directions seen from polar-north which it is (which is the convention), it's solar orbit will not be counter clock-wise as it was prior to it's encounter with the earth but will now instead be clock-wise adding a new element of anomaly to its orbit?

    These are all interesting questions raised by the image which we can probably assume to accurately represent the asteroid's path vis-a-vis the earth/moon/sun system. [​IMG]



    Image showing typical orbits relative of earth's of
    Aten asteroids (Venus yellow Earth blue Mars red)
    [​IMG]
     
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  10. Robert_Stephens
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    Robert_Stephens BANNED

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    It will ultimately head out of our system influence and be negated by the normal astral forces that mitigate any and all incomings. I'm not sure your inference, but it poses no threat or the like.

    Robert
     

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