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bmpbmp
2003-Dec-09, 12:05 AM
Hi all how you all doing. I was looking for info about toutis the asteroid and notcie it come 0.011 au from the earth on sept 29/30 in 2004

isnt that kind of close for confort.

http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/db_shm?sstr=4179

What do you all think

Archer17
2003-Dec-09, 12:17 AM
No. That's roughly 4 times the distance from the Earth to the moon from what I've read.

Musashi
2003-Dec-09, 01:18 AM
I think it is going to hit us and destroy the Earth... unless we send a crack team of actors, er, I mean deep sea drillers out there to blow it up by placing a moderately small charge deep (well, at least several hundred feet, that's deep right? ;) ) in its surface and then detonate it before it reaches a certain point. At least we have more than a few weeks to get our mission up and running.

Welcome back bmp.

Sigma_Orionis
2003-Dec-09, 04:56 PM
Asteroid 4179 Toutatis is well known, it was discovered on 1989 in France at it was named after one of the characters in the Comic book Asterix (which btw is pretty cool! :) )

Toutatis has a pretty weird orbit and it's frequently studied because of it, not to worry you bmpbmp but according to this (http://echo.jpl.nasa.gov/asteroids/4179_Toutatis/toutatis.html) link it will make the closest approach to earth that any asteroid or comet has made in 30 years on Sept 29 2004. That means that it will be over a MILLION AND A HALF kilometers (I still refuse to use miles, what can I say....I) from earth. Like Archer 17 just mentioned that's about 4 times the distance from the earth to the moon. So really it will be a heck of a time for astronomers who are into NEOs but nothing else.

IIRC one of the most prolific posters in the PX forum had the handle "Toutatis"..........

freddo
2003-Dec-10, 01:49 AM
IIRC one of the most prolific posters in the PX forum had the handle "Toutatis"..........

And had a picture of Toutatis which looked like a duck!


Hi all how you all doing. I was looking for info about toutis the asteroid and notcie it come 0.011 au from the earth on sept 29/30 in 2004

isnt that kind of close for confort.

It is kinda close bmpbmp, but you have to remember that as far as terrestrial distances go, 0.011 AU is still a very long way.

As Archer17 and Sigma_Orionis have said, that's a million and a half km away (or 4 times the distance from Earth to the Moon). For a bit of context, you could consider SOHO, which I know you are familiar with. It orbits at a distance of about 1 million km. We don't hear about how it might crash into the Earth now do we?

At any rate, good to see you still around. Take care.

rigel
2003-Dec-10, 03:56 PM
Are there any missions planned to visit. any planned observation going to be made by telescopes?

Anthrage
2003-Dec-11, 07:59 AM
Just a few notes. Toutatis has several unusual properties. It's orbit is far closer to earth's orbital plane than most other asteroids. It makes a close approach every 4 years. It has a tri-axial rotation. While we are able to predict it's orbit fairly well, this ability breaks down at points beyond about a few hundred years - largely due to it's rotation and orbital characteristics. Due to the various aspects involved, if any known asteroid is going to hit us, Toutatis is a very likely candidate.

Detailed informed about this asteroid can be found here (http://www.solarviews.com/eng/toutatis.htm).

Toutatis is indeed referenced in Asterix, but the asteroid is not named for a 'character' so named - although it is named for that reference. Toutatis is a celtic god, and that is what they are referring to in the 'comic'. It is in fact true historically, that the Gauls would often say 'By Toutatis!' - as do the characters in the comic. Appropriately, the only thing Asterix and Obelix were afraid of (and the gauls as well, if we are to believe the historical reports) feared only one thing - the sky falling on their heads. It was named, and discovered, in 1989, by the french astronomer A. Maury.

The closest known pass by an object was far less than the 0.0104 AU we will see by Toutatis in 2004. An asteroid was found to have come within half the distance from the earth to the moon...only AFTER it had passed however. That one could very easily have hit us, and we would not have seen it coming.

It is only a matter of time before an impactor of a signficant size hits earth again. We are due for a strike, most definitely. This particular approach by Toutatis however, is nothing to worry about - and despite the very strong likelihood that it's orbital trajectory will cross ours at some point in the future, I wouldn't worry about an impact by it then either. Because it's orbit is so close, and it's passes frequent, we should be able to 'tag' the asteroid in the next 4 to 8 years, making more precise observations possible. Delivering an explosive package then, or even pushing it off a dangerous trajectory using a focused energy beam - laser, maser etc. - should be relatively simple.

It's the ones we don't know about that we should be concerned with...

russ_watters
2003-Dec-11, 01:41 PM
bmpbmp...... ahh, you already know what I'm going to say.

Sigma_Orionis
2003-Dec-11, 04:44 PM
Toutatis is indeed referenced in Asterix, but the asteroid is not named for a 'character' so named - although it is named for that reference. Toutatis is a celtic god, and that is what they are referring to in the 'comic'. It is in fact true historically, that the Gauls would often say 'By Toutatis!' - as do the characters in the comic. Appropriately, the only thing Asterix and Obelix were afraid of (and the gauls as well, if we are to believe the historical reports) feared only one thing - the sky falling on their heads. It was named, and discovered, in 1989, by the french astronomer A. Maury.

Thanks for the correction



The closest known pass by an object was far less than the 0.0104 AU we will see by Toutatis in 2004. An asteroid was found to have come within half the distance from the earth to the moon...only AFTER it had passed however. That one could very easily have hit us, and we would not have seen it coming.

Could you please send me a link to info on that asteroid? I have heard about it but never hard any hard references, thanks.

Jack Higgins
2003-Dec-11, 04:55 PM
My thoughts about the toutatis encounter in another thread:

http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?p=178413#178413

(You should have a look at it bmpbmp)

bmpbmp
2003-Dec-11, 05:22 PM
Hi jack thanks for the link, wow toutitis is like so much bigger than the earth in that pic. We should see it pretty well.

Also what is your quote from whats the fusion being seen.


Scientists discover huge nuclear fusion reaction in progress only 93 million miles from earth - visible to naked eye even during the day

bmpbmp
2003-Dec-11, 05:26 PM
also

Toutatis will approach Earth during an Earth-Venus-Mercury conjunction. Will it cause any unexpected effect on Toutatis orbit?

Musashi
2003-Dec-11, 05:30 PM
Also what is your quote from whats the fusion being seen.


Scientists discover huge nuclear fusion reaction in progress only 93 million miles from earth - visible to naked eye even during the day

That would be our sun.

Eta C
2003-Dec-11, 05:32 PM
Also what is your quote from whats the fusion being seen.


Scientists discover huge nuclear fusion reaction in progress only 93 million miles from earth - visible to naked eye even during the day

It's called the sun. 8)



Toutatis will approach Earth during an Earth-Venus-Mercury conjunction. Will it cause any unexpected effect on Toutatis orbit?

Not likely. The sun's gravity wil still be the dominant force on Toutatis. Earth's might cause some minor perturbations that will have an effect on future orbits. Venus' gravitational effect will be negligable. Mercury's even more so (smaller, farther away). So if you're worried that the Earth, Venus, Mercury "alignment" will somehow "suck" Toutatis into the Earth, stop. Ain't going to happen.

bmpbmp
2003-Dec-11, 05:33 PM
how much bigger is it than the earth it looks huge in the pic on the other link from jack

Musashi
2003-Dec-11, 05:36 PM
You're kidding right?

That was the view 'from the asteroid.'

It is not bigger than the earth, it is smaller.

bmpbmp
2003-Dec-11, 05:42 PM
oh i am sorry

how big is it in kilometers

Musashi
2003-Dec-11, 05:51 PM
It is several kilometers long.

I really don't want to say this, lest it be taken the wrong way, but, Toutatis is still large enough to wreck your day, if it hits earth, which it is not going to do. Toutatis is not going to hit earth on this pass.

Sigma_Orionis
2003-Dec-11, 05:58 PM
According to the link Anthrage kindly provided:


The images of Toutatis reveal two irregularly shaped, cratered objects about 4 and 2.5 kilometers (2.5 and 1.6 miles) in average diameter which are probably in contact with each other.

Which like Mushashi says if it hit the earth it would definetely be a major issue, but again like it has been mentioned several times it will NOT hit us on this pass anyways.

Hey Jack Higgins, you did change your sig did you not? :lol:

[Editted to fix dumb mistake]

Jack Higgins
2003-Dec-11, 06:01 PM
Toutatis is (I think) 11.5km radius. The closest ever approach, by asteroid 2003 SQ222, was about 88,000km, but it was only about 5-10m in radius.

Actually its obvious that there have been closer approaches (because stuff has hit us!) but this is the closest that we know about!

Archer17
2003-Dec-11, 06:04 PM
bmpbmp according to this (8th asteroid down) (http://astronomy.swin.edu.au/~pbourke/modelling/asteroid2/) site Toutatis is 4.6 km x 2.4 km x 1.9 km. Compare that to the moon, which is 3,474 km in diameter.

bmpbmp
2003-Dec-11, 06:12 PM
so the moon is much bigger or is it vice versa

Archer17
2003-Dec-11, 06:14 PM
The moon is much bigger and will be 4 times closer than Toutatis.

Jack Higgins
2003-Dec-11, 06:25 PM
bmp

You have nothing to worry about. If toutatis had even a 1 in a 1000 chance of hitting us, it would be the lead story on every tv news station on earth. (And this wouldn't happen anyway, because we know its orbit too well)

Remember the big fuss the last time a new asteroid was discovered that might hit us? (But the chances receeded to zero after a couple of days)

The only one we currently know of that MIGHT have a slight chance of hitting us is the asteroid 1950 DA, but it won't come close enough until March 2880! http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/1950da/ It's very hard to determine orbits that far in the future though, so this chance may not happen at all.

Jack Higgins
2003-Dec-11, 06:30 PM
Hey Jack Higgins, you did change your sig did you not? :lol:

[Editted to fix dumb mistake]
I did yeah- I think it sounds more overly dramatic this way :wink: (the way the press often like to spin science stories)!

I was kinda wondering about the mistake when I saw it first!! :D

Sigma_Orionis
2003-Dec-11, 06:38 PM
Hey Jack Higgins, you did change your sig did you not? :lol:

[Editted to fix dumb mistake]
I did yeah- I think it sounds more overly dramatic this way :wink: (the way the press often like to spin science stories)!

I was kinda wondering about the mistake when I saw it first!! :D

Well I remember from that PX thread where I mentioned "Huge Nuclear Explosion" or something like that, the BA corrected me and I said I was going for the Woo-Woo factor, your version is a LOT more respectable though :)

Jack Higgins
2003-Dec-11, 06:53 PM
Where I got it from originally is a thread where the posts went something like this:

Person1: [Press report] "Asteroid passes 50,000km from the earth without burning up!"

Person2: Well, it's factually correct... :D

Person3: Moon orbits 250,000km from the earth without burning up.

Person4: [something like] I love the way the press spins these stories - "Scientists discover violently burning ball of gas only 93 million miles from the earth- visible to naked eye even during the day!"

:lol:

It was debated in one of the welcome to the BABB threads too :) but I can't remember much of it now, and I'm not searching...!!

I'm now debating whether I should change it again though- I like nonsense sigs...!!

Anthrage
2003-Dec-11, 07:11 PM
Sigma -
Could you please send me a link to info on that asteroid? I have heard about it but never hard any hard references, thanks.

There have been quite a few such close approaches, one closer even than that which I referred to - 2003 SQ222 (http://www.planetary.org/html/news/articlearchive/headlines/2003/asteroid2003-sq222.html), which Jack mentioned, was closer still, and also undetected until after it had passed...

A complete list of such close approaches can be found here (http://cfa-www.harvard.edu/iau/lists/Closest.html). A search on the designation or name of any particular object should produce any desired hard data. A list of objects categorized as potentially hazardous can be found here (http://cfa-www.harvard.edu/iau/lists/Dangerous.html).

It is shocking to think that objects of this kind are being detected only after they have passed. In most cases, this is due to the object's low magnitude, and small size, but it could just as easily be due to low albedo. All it would take is one moderate size object sneaking in to cause great damage. With such a small percentage of the inventory out there cataloged, it is only a matter of time.

Not wanting to be alarmist, just providing some hard facts about the hard truth. With any luck, we will be hit by a smaller object first - but large enough to survive atmospheric entry - in an unpopulated area, producing local destruction sufficient enough to wake people up to the danger. If we are unlucky...well, most of you are informed enough I'm sure to complete that thought yourselves.

Sigma_Orionis
2003-Dec-11, 11:46 PM
Thanks for the info!

Well actually the close call already happened: the 1908 meteorite crash at Tunguska Siberia....

Jack Higgins
2003-Dec-11, 11:51 PM
But then again, if we get hit by something medium-sized, and we're lucky enough that it only kills a couple of million people, it could be the biggest boost ever for the space industry. Everyone will want to get off the planet ASAP!

Yes, that sounds terrible I know, but i'm looking for the silver lining in the impact crater.

Jack Higgins
2003-Dec-11, 11:56 PM
Well actually the close call already happened: the 1908 meteorite crash at Tunguska Siberia....
Well, that "hit" so it wans't really a close call... the close call was the schoolbus-sized meteorite which skimmed off the earth's atmosphere in the 60's/70's, and bounced back off into space. This happened over canada somewhere I think, and it was filmed by someone who was on holidays there at the time. It's probably available online somewhere- it looks really cool...

Sigma_Orionis
2003-Dec-11, 11:57 PM
Now that I remember Arthur Clarke's "Rendevouz with Rama" deals with that at the beginning of the book: An asteroid crashes against the earth, one of the consecuences is that Venecia sinks (among other disasters but that's the one I recall offhand) and of course a huge investment is made into space exploration with of course an "Asteroid Patrol" force....