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Friday, December 14, 2012

Killer asteroid just misses Earth

by Clifford F. Thies

The Mayan prophesy for the end of the earth was almost disproven yesterday, when a heretofore unknown killer asteroid suddenly appeared in the sky and then passed between the Earth and the Moon, only 140,000 miles from us. It come so close to our planet that it cast a shadow ("asteroid eclipse"). If it had hit, it could have disproved the Mayan prophesy by ending the world ten days too soon.

Officially named "2012 XE54," the object was as large as the asteroid that exploded in the sky above Siberia's Podkamennaya Tunguska River in 1908, flattening 800 square miles of forest.

It had only appeared on our radars two days prior! Not enough time for us to do anything about it!

NASA has thus far identified 9,000 near-Earth objects, about half of which have the potential to cause enormous damage, out of total, they think, of about a million. One of the ones that has been identified, 4179 Toutatis, is soon to pass by us at the relatively safe distance of 2.3 million miles, they say. It is thought to have something like the potential of the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs, forever changing the nature of life on this planet.

Now that we are aware of the phenomenon, we are observing asteroids and comets hitting Jupiter with some regularity. Often, these observations are made by amateurs, because, while they are occur relatively frequently, exactly when they occur is unpredictable. The things just appear as from out of nowhere and then slam into the planet.

One of these crashes is shown in the accompanying image, which happened yesterday. Jupiter catches a lot of the stuff, saving our bacon time and time again.

But not always.

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