The following article is a recap of what happened during the live video feed focusing on asteroid 2000 EM26 that narrowly (in terms) missed the Earth tonight as it whizzed by Monday evening. First reports were that the space rock was about equal to the size of three football fields. It was believed it would go past Earth at a speed of at least 27,000 mph.
The feed opened with Bob Berman first talking about Slooh, which was the robotic telescope which would be recording the asteroid as it passed by the Earth. He then introduced Paul Cox and explained Cox was in the Canary Islands. Berman told about how bad the weather was there with snow and ice and how the military was going to have to come in and rescue them from their observatory. Cox agreed, saying they were 8,000 feet above sea level and the weather was strange this year in that part of the world just like it had been most other places. After this bit of chit-chat, they got back to talking about the asteroid.
They begin discussing the asteroid and explained why it has the name 2000 EM26. This was due to it first being discovered back in the year 2000. Astronomers classified it as a “possibly hazardous” near Earth object because it was huge enough to have caused substantial damage if it would have struck. However, the experts repeated as the video played that it was not a threat, and would go by the Earth at around nine times the distance of the moon.
Dr. Mark Boslough from the Sandia National Laboratories was introduced next.
They stated that scientists believed that the space rock measured about 885 feet across and that it would be nearest to the Earth at 2 a.m. U.K. time. When that happened, the asteroid would be just over 2 million miles from Earth. In astronomy lingo, that meant about 8.8 lunar distances away. The robotic telescope Slooh would be recording the asteroid flying by Earth. This was explained to the listeners of the webcast by Cox, who was introduced as Slooh’s research and technical director.
He also stated how sometimes astronomers were able to discover such hypothetically hazardous asteroids only a few days before they fly so close near the Earth. He told about the asteroid research campaign that was growing in momentum with Slooh members using the Slooh robotic telescopes located around the world to watch the large population of space rocks. Cox firmly stated that astronomers and people on Earth need to find them before they find everyone down here.
All three men, Berman, Cox and Dr. Boslough spoke about how 2000 EM 26 was making its appearance almost exactly a year to the date after two major NEO events struck Russia on Feb. 15, 2013. Boslough talked about the 98 foot wide asteroid that brushed near the Earth at a distance of about 17,200 miles, while a meteor ended up exploding over the skies of Chelyabinsk, Russia. The meteor itself was believed to have been 65 foot across, and when it blew up, it released energy equal to 20 atomic bombs. It was 18 miles above the ground yet still 1,500 people were injured from it.
Berman next exclaimed that it was just moments before the asteroid would pass by the Earth. While everyone continued to wait, Berman started to talk about some technical aspects of the asteroid before it was to be seen going past Earth on Slooh. Dr. Boslough also gave some more information about the movement of the asteroid as it goes through space.
An UPDATE was given: the asteroid just passed about 8.8 moon distances away from the Earth. That meant it was 15 times nearer to the planet than any of Earth’s fellow planets in the solar system. All three of the men on the program began to compare and contrast 2000 EM26 nearby flight with other asteroid near misses and meteor showers. It was announced that images of the asteroid which were captured in Dubai would soon to be aired live.
As viewers continue to wait, Dr. Boslough starts explaining the differences are between a meteor, a meteorite and a meteoroid.
Below is the actual video of the live transmission:
Second UPDATE was given: Images of the asteroid were shown but the pictures show only large amounts of stars and other objects. It is not possible to tell which is the space rock at this point. Berman informed everyone that scientists were going to have to examine the images much closer to figure out which one was truly 2000 EM26.
The three experts spoke more about the likelihood of an asteroid actually striking the Earth. It seemed to be extremely slight as of this time but one never can tell. They also talked about the damage which has been done by objects coming from outer space which have smacked into the Earth through the years.
Cox finally explained that the Slooh Observatory on the Canary Islands was so iced up that it was unable to record any live pictures of the asteroid going past at all, but there would be more arriving from the Slooh station observatory in Dubai and they would be shown very soon. The newer images came in from Dubai and ended up showing basically the same thing as before, a large star field that the experts explain that the asteroid was hidden in somewhere. Dr. Boslough stated he was interested in the objects which are on their final approach nearby the Earth.
He tells Berman that he and his team from the Sandia National Laboratories would like to work with Berman and Cox on examining the asteroids which are very near to Earth. Berman closes the program.
The above article was a short recap of the live video feed about asteroid 2000 EM26 flying by Earth.
By Kimberly Ruble