Cometary Chaos

In 2014, comet C/2013 A1, known as sliding spring, came within 140,000 Km of the planet Mars.  This is a bit more than a third of the distance from the Earth to the Moon.  Comets are small, so gravitationally this interaction was insignificant, but from an electromagnetic point of view, things were shaken up big time! Comets are small, relatively speaking.  A typical comet is a few kilometers across, about the size of a big city.  But with sunlight melting ices and liberating gases and dust from the comet’s interior, the part of the comet we see in the sky,...

Today’s the Day for BL86 Flying Past Earth! And you can See it!

Today was the flyby of the big Asteroid 2004 BL86.  It can be seen tonight in the sky but you will need a darn good pair of binoculars or a telescope.   Here’s where to find it: Scientists have also revealed some new information about it, including updating its size from 550m down to a more paltry 300m, which is still pretty big! Also, it has a moon! Crazy right? Enjoy yet another close shave by a moderately sized Space rock that could have had a devastating impact.