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Argos
2001-Nov-20, 11:49 AM
A disturbing fact concerning stargazing. A Finnish team led by Teemu Mäkinen has discovered that there are more things between heaven and earth than are dreamed in our astronomy (or seen through our backyard scopes). They concluded that we have been missing important happenings. An "easily observable" 1997 220 million km comet approach, for instance. After reading the article I was astounded by the fact that, although millions of astronomers (professional and amateur) survey the sky every night, we are not sufficiently aware of the events.

I invite you to read an abstract of their work and debate two questions:

a) How come the whole world missed such a conspicuous phenomenon? A conjunction of factors?

b) Which the implications for the count of potentially dangerous objects approaching our planet?


A big place called sky
(http://www.nature.com/nsu/000518/000518-9.html)




<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Argos on 2001-11-20 08:01 ]</font>

Kaptain K
2001-Nov-20, 05:42 PM
I invite you to read an abstract of their work and debate two questions:

a) How come the whole world missed such a conspicuous phenomenon? A conjunction of factors?
Insufficient data (in the abstract). No co-ordinates or ephemerides given. It is possible for a comet to be in such an orbit that (from Earth) it never appears in the dark sky. Either in twilight or behind the sun. IIRC SOHO detects a few "suicidal" comets every year that crash into the sun without ever being seen from Earth.


b) Which the implications for the count of potentially dangerous objects approaching our planet?
Again, insufficient data. One datum point is not statistically viable.

Valiant Dancer
2001-Nov-20, 06:31 PM
On 2001-11-20 12:42, Kaptain K wrote:

I invite you to read an abstract of their work and debate two questions:

a) How come the whole world missed such a conspicuous phenomenon? A conjunction of factors?
Insufficient data (in the abstract). No co-ordinates or ephemerides given. It is possible for a comet to be in such an orbit that (from Earth) it never appears in the dark sky. Either in twilight or behind the sun. IIRC SOHO detects a few "suicidal" comets every year that crash into the sun without ever being seen from Earth.


b) Which the implications for the count of potentially dangerous objects approaching our planet?
Again, insufficient data. One datum point is not statistically viable.





Gotta seriously agree here, one datum has an infinite amount of possibilities on statistics. Without further data, speculation would be simple fear-mongering. Conversely, how many times do you get closer than three meters (any direction) from another automobile while driving? How many have hit you? I think the chances of being struck by another automobile is far higher than a major meteor or comet strike. Scientists are trying to quantify how many NEO's are repeat concerns. Of course, other objects that are on a trajectory to intercept Earth's orbit are a concern, but they have been few and far between. Those tend to be within so many degrees of the plane of ecliptic. Those outside of that plane are few and very far between.