UPDATE: Lead Stories has rated this article false because “NASA did not warn two asteroids could cause atmospheric explosion over earth this week.”
(TMU) — As if 2020 weren’t overwhelming enough, in addition to the potential start of World War 3, the massive fires in Australia, the locust plague in the Middle East and Africa, and the novel coronavirus, we are now dealing with multiple asteroids hurtling towards Earth. One of the asteroids may even collide with Earth’s atmosphere resulting in an atmospheric explosion tonight!
Two asteroids following Earth’s intersecting orbit known as 2020 EF and 2020 DP4 are approaching the planet, and information collected by NASA indicates the space rocks are big enough to create violent explosions in the atmosphere if they come too close to the Earth.
The asteroids are being closely monitored by NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS).
According to a report by IB Times, CNEOS estimates the 2020 EF asteroid has a diameter of 98 feet, making it a little longer than the distance between baseball diamond bases, with a velocity of 10,000 mph.
CNEOS sates that 2020 EF is what is known as an Aten asteroid, which means the object follows a normal orbit that crosses Earth’s path. NASA’s orbit diagram for 2020 EF shows the asteroid mimics a very wide orbit around the sun and almost follows the exact same path as Earth. The good news is NASA states in their diagram that the asteroid will have multiple near-approaches between 2020 EF and our planet—but it won’t hit us.
According to NASA, as a result of their size, 2020 EF will most likely not cause an impact event. Instead, it will break up into pieces if it enters Earth’s atmosphere. However, it could still cause a tiny explosion in the sky.
The last asteroid atmospheric explosion took place over the city of Chelyabinsk, Russia, which produced a flash 30 times brighter than the Sun and caused 180 cases of eye pain and 70 cases of temporary flash blindness.
So make sure you don’t stare at it with the naked eye, similar to how you shouldn’t stare directly at the sun, no matter how curious you may be.
2020 DP4 is coming our way and will cause a similar space spectacle this week on March 22nd at 2:36 p.m EST. Compared to 2020 EF, 2020 DP4 is much larger in diameter at 180 feet wide and traveling at a faster velocity rate at 18,000 mph according to CNEOS.
While 2020 EF is classified as an Aten asteroid, 2020 DP4 on the other hand belongs to the Apollo family of space rocks. Although the two asteroids are labeled differently, they are known to intersect Earth’s orbit as the planet makes its way around the Sun.
CNEOS states 2020 EF is expected to fly past the Earth from a distance of 0.04241 astronomical units or approximately 4 million miles. Meanwhile, 2020 DP4 will approach Earth from a much closer distance which according to CNEOS, is only 0.00901 astronomical units or around 840,000 miles.
While NASA has expressed that both asteroids won’t collide with the Earth, last year NASA and the U.S. government’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) participated in an exercise with other international partners to deal with asteroids that could be a future impact danger. Last year, NASA also awarded SpaceX a $69 million contract to redirect an asteroid off its intended path under the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) program, which uses a technique known as a kinetic impactor. The mission involves sending one or more SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets into the path of an approaching near-earth object, in this case, Didymos’ small moon in October 2022.
The European Space Agency (ESA) is also involved in that joint mission to slam a probe into the asteroid Didymos’ small moon.
Next month a third asteroid is expected to come close to Earth called 52768 (1998 OR2). First spotted in 1998, the space rock much bigger than 2020 FE and 2020 DP4, at 1.1 – 2.5 miles wide, is expected to pass within around 4 million miles—or about 17 times the distance from Earth to the Moon, moving at a velocity of 19,461 miles per hour. CNEOS states that the third asteroid will fly by the Earth on April 29, at 4:56 a.m. EST.
According to CNN, NASA also reassures that 52768 (1998 OR2) will not hit the Earth despite worries with its classification as “potentially hazardous.” However, the asteroid is “large enough to cause global effects,” according to NASA.
The next potential asteroid that could cause significant damage if it hit Earth is expected to fly through our solar system and pass near Earth on April 13, 2029. The giant icy space rock—known as 99942 Apophis, for the Egyptian God of Chaos—is 1,100 feet wide (340 meters) and will speed by at over 67,000 miles per hour. According to NASA, Apophis has a 2.7% chance to hit Earth—a very low probability.
Thankfully we shouldn’t expect an Deep Impact scenario any time soon.
Police Rescue Dogs Trapped In Car on Sizzling Hot Day, Owners Complain About Broken Window
Police in the UK acted quickly to save a two dogs locked inside a car in sizzling hot temperatures by smashing open a window, upsetting the car’s owner over the damage.
Officers responded Sunday to reports that a beagle and another dog were trapped in a car parked in the seaside British city of Brighton on a day of boiling heat.
In video captured of the incident, an officer can be seen jamming his baton through a rear window before finally shattering it to free the pooches.
This prompts the car alarm to go off as the car’s owners can be seen rushing toward it, upset over the police intervention.
A woman, standing with her shocked family, says: “You broke my window out!”
One of the officer responded: “It’s a hot day. You shouldn’t be leaving the dog in the car in this weather.”
The incident happened on a day when people across the region flock to the seaside resort city to dip into the beaches amid surging hot temperatures.
The onlooker who filmed the incident noted that the owners seemed unaware of the dangers posed to their pets by weather conditions.
“Where they had parked there is just no shade,” they told The Sun. “It’s directly on the seafront in 25°C (77°F) weather outside – I’ve got no idea what it was inside the car.”
The family was indignant over what they claim was an overreaction by the police.
“At first it was ‘what the f*** are you doing, why did you break my car window? I was only gone for 10 minutes,’” another witness explained.
“The bloke obviously thought he was completely in the right,” they added. “He didn’t really seem to have much empathy.”
According to UK animal welfare group RSPCA, outside temperatures of 22°C (71°F) can reach a brutal 47°C (116.6°F) inside a car within an hour.
“Police officers attended and tried to get a contact number for the owners of the car but were unable,” a Sussex Police spokesperson said. “Officers had no choice but to smash the side window to gain access and a kind member of the public donated a bottle of water.”
Authorities added that the officers let the pet owners off with a stern warning, without ticketing the family or separating their dogs from them.
Scientists Prove What Causes Aurora Borealis for the First Time
Since the dawn of time, humans have been mystified by what causes the aurora borealis or northern lights. However, a group of scientists have finally uncovered what causes the dazzling lightshow that has captivated people for so long.
Researchers at the University of Iowa have proven that the shimmering auroras are the result of powerful electromagnetic waves during geomagnetic storms, according to a newly published study.
According to the study, phenomena known as Alfven waves propel electrons toward Earth and cause the particles to produce the brilliant display of northern lights seen in the higher latitudes of our planet,
“Measurements revealed this small population of electrons undergoes ‘resonant acceleration’ by the Alfven wave’s electric field, similar to a surfer catching a wave and being continually accelerated as the surfer moves along with the wave,” Prof. Greg Howes, a co-author of the study, told CNN.
Scientists have long understood that the aurora was the likely result of electrons surfing across the electric field, at least since the theory was introduced in 1946 by Soviet scientist Lev Landau.
However, the University of Iowa professors were able to finally put the theory to the test through a simulation at a lab at the Large Plasma Device (LPD) in the Basic Plasma Science Facility of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
Using a 20-meter-long chamber to simulate the magnetic field of the Earth through state-of-the-art magnetic field coils, scientists were able to generate plasma similar to that which exists in spac.
“Using a specially designed antenna, we launched Alfven waves down the machine, much like shaking a garden hose up and down quickly, and watching the wave travel along the hose,” said Howes.
While this didn’t result in the type of auroras we might see in the sky, “our measurements in the laboratory clearly agreed with predictions from computer simulations and mathematical calculations, proving that electrons surfing on Alfven waves can accelerate the electrons (up to speeds of 45 million mph) that cause the aurora,” Howes noted.
Scientists across the country were elated by the results of the experiment.
“I was tremendously excited! It is a very rare thing to see a laboratory experiment that validates a theory or model concerning the space environment,” said Patrick Koehn, a scientist in the Heliophysics Division of NASA.
“Space is simply too big to easily simulate in the lab,” he added.
Researchers are hopeful that a greater understanding will allow forecasters to better understand weather conditions in space.
Arizona Restores Gas Chamber Where ‘Nazi-Era’ Gas Will be Used for Executions
Arizona has restored an old gas chamber retired during the 20th century in a bid to continue executing its inmates on death row, renewing criticisms about capital punishment and a method of execution the United States once rejected for being excessively cruel and unusual.
The gas chamber, which hasn’t been operated since it executed its last inmate 1999, has been refurbished to ensure that it can properly function as an option for death row prisoners to choose, reports Associated Press.
The move comes after the Grand Canyon State made a large purchase of ingredients to manufacture its own hydrogen cyanide gas.
The same chemicals Arizona plans on using were also used by the Nazis during the holocaust under the brand name Zyklon B. News articles about Arizona’s plans have provoked outrage among survivors of Nazi death camps in Germany and Israel.
“Whether or not one supports the death penalty as a general matter, there is general agreement in American society that a gas devised as a pesticide, and used to eliminate Jews, has no place in the administration of criminal justice,” wrote the American Jewish Committee said in a statement.
The federal government has also used the gas in past executions of prisoners.
Arizona’s revival of the old execution method comes as prison authorities across the country continue to grapple with problems over another form of execution decried by critics as brutal, namely the use of lethal injection.
Once depicted as a more humane and painless form of killing prisoners, lethal injection has often led to slow, torturous and excruciating deaths. Additionally, many of the chemicals used in lethal injection drugs are impossible to attain due to the refusal of drug makers to continue manufacturing them – effectively cutting off the “choices” given to death row inmates about their preferred method of death.
In South Carolina, a recently-passed law would see inmates being forced to choose between firing squad and an electric chair, reports NPR.
In the waning days of the Trump administration, the outgoing president also vigorously pushed to fast-track the use of death by firing squad and death by electrocution.
At the time, former federal prosecutor Miriam Krinsky, who also heads the Fair and Just Prosecution advocacy group, said:
“As we find itself in the midst of a national reckoning with racism and our history of racial violence, ending the death penalty must be part of our transformation … Abolishing the death penalty would be a signal that the Biden-Harris administration is committed to fairness, equity, and evidence-based justice — and the time for this definitive move is long overdue.”
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