31 LexiLine Newsletter 2006 Comet 73P / SW3 not to Hit Earth
- 31 LexiLine Newsletter 2006 Comet 73P / SW3 Not to Hit Earth
A comet which started to break up back in 1995 and which is returning this month in fragmented form has led to e-mails being circulated, also to this list, that a comet fragment would hit the Earth and lead to large tsunamis. Here is what NASA writes (via USA Today and Tariq Malik at SPACE.com ):
"Chunks of a comet currently splitting into pieces in the night sky will not strike the Earth next month, nor will it spawn killer tsunamis and mass extinctions, NASA officials said Thursday.
The announcement, NASA hopes, will squash rumors that a fragment of the crumbling Comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 (SW 3) will slam into Earth just before Memorial Day.
"There are some Internet stories going around that there's going to be an impact on May 25," NASA spokesperson Grey Hautaluoma, told SPACE.com. "We just want to get the facts out."
Astronomers have been observing 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3, a comet that circles the Sun every 5.4 years, for more than 75 years and are confident that any of the icy object's fragments will remain at least a distant 5.5 million miles (8.8 million kilometers) from Earth more than 20 times the distance to the Moon at closest approach between May 12 and May 28.
"We are very well acquainted with the trajectory of Comet 73P Schwassmann-Wachmann 3," said Donald Yeomans, manager of NASA's Near-Earth Object Program Office, in a written statement. "There is absolutely no danger to people on the ground or the inhabitants of the International Space Station, as the main body of the object and any pieces from the breakup will pass many millions of miles beyond the Earth." "
I am sceptical of mainstream astronomers as far as their understanding of ancient astronomy is concerned, but then again, that is not their discipline, it is my discipline. When it comes to modern astronomy, they know what they are doing because that is what they have learned. It is a question of mathematical calculations of trajectories, which in our computer day and age are quite accurate. If projected trajectories involved any danger, they could calculate that.
The whole matter is of course of interest to astronomers and to persons who have read the catastrophe theories of Velikovsky or his adherents, and it does have the advantage that it greatly increases the public's interest for space and astronomy topics.