Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Asteroid 2008 CT3

UPDATE: It is confirmed asteroid 2008 TC3 hit the Earth's atmosphere around 750 miles southwest from the projected atmospheric impact area, this was confirmed by an Air France KLM airliner, the crew noticed a short flash just before the impact time. Apparently a few meteorites made it to the surface. The image below shows the infrared satellite image of the airliner (+) and the predicted impact area (0). As of right now there are no known images of the Fireball.

A small asteroid, 2008 TC3 was to have entered the Earth's atmosphere over Northern Sudan creating quite the light show last night, no pics so far, probably not a whole lot of camcorders over there. The above YouTube video is a simulation of what the Earth would look like from the approaching asteroid. As far as the asteroid, nothing too major about that, we get this size entering our atmosphere every other month or so, but what is interesting about this event is that this was the first time someone was able to predict when and where an asteroid was going to enter our atmosphere ahead of time, it's been tried before but with no success. I'm hoping there is more of the same to come, I'd love nothing better then to stand in my backyard with my camera awaiting the next arrival of a new born baby fireball.

Now the size of this asteroid ranged any where from a few meters to several feet and is not expected to do any damage if it happens to reach the surface, it's not the size I'm concerned with, I mean it's hard to give an exact size of something that far away, but can we pick a system people, I laid awake last night thinking, ... what was the size of it again? , 3 ft., 3 meters, no it was 10 meters, no 10 feet, geez. The first thing you notice when you get into amateur astronomy is we embrace both systems, I don't have just a 12 inch scope, I also have a 300 mm one, coupled with the fact that I also have a 8 inch 200 mm scope, too many numbers, too many numbers. I've resolved to the fact that my scopes no matter what size make stuff bigger. I'm also finding the older I get the less numbers I can remember so it would be great if we just let the old system go and delve into the metric system, it would make things a whole lot easier. The asteroid what ever size it ended up being was first discovered by the NASA funded Catilina Sky Survey with their telescope on Mt. Lemmon, image above. I will update this post as soon as more info becomes available. Hey while we're all waiting for some images of asteroid 2008 CT3, I thought I'd post the image below, it is a daytime fireball I was lucky enough to capture while taking an image of a Sunset last April, since it was only a few degrees from the Sunset I was imaging I had my camera equipped with a telephoto lens and focused, got it exploding.

On October 6 2008 around 4:40am EDT Messenger came within 125 miles of Mercury for the second time this year. The probe took 100's of images , gathered data and grabbed another gravity assist to slow it down for it's eventual orbital insertion with the planet in March of 2011.

Messenger started sending back images this morning around 1:50 am, the image above shows Mercury about 90 minutes after the probes closest approach. A lot of the eastern portion of the above image are views not taken by any spacecraft before. I will update this post as I receive more information.

I leave you now with an animated Moon collage I put together with the various Moon shots I have taken with my camera/various sizes of scopes.


Priyank said...

So many systems to remember Bob, like my dad thinks in British and I think in Metric system :)

How are asteroids different from meteorites ? Asteroids are mostly in that belt between Mars and Jupiter right? Does some little guy decide to visit Earth for no reason!

Swubird said...


Very interesting story about the asteroid. I guess it goes to prove that we are being hit by not just meteors, but also by asteroids. It's just a matter of time before a big one slams into the earth.

About Mercury. Way back when I was in college I had a young astronomy professor who had studied the electrical properties of the surface of Mercury for his thesis. All done by radio telescope.

The moon water reflecting GIF is a very dark gray on my iMac. What do you think?

Happy stargazing.

Nature Nut /JJ Loch said...

Great images, Bob!!! It's great to see the Messenger taking such great space shots.

When I was in school they tried to switch Americans over to the metric system but that went over like a lead balloon. It does become confusing switching back and forth between measures.

Just had some sunspots removed. Lucky me. These weren't exciting sunspots, though. :D

Hugs, JJ

Sherer said...

Great picture of Mercury, it really is a facinating planet that doesn't get too much attention. Do you know, does it rotate, or is it like our moon to the sun?


Susanne49 said...

It took me more than 2 years to learn the inches and feets and all that stuff...LOL..

The moon picture is also "milky" on my screen...

Interesting post, as usual, Bob!

Peter said...

Hi! Have they worked out how to destroy these things if they look like creating havoc here on earth?

Take Care,

Anna said...

Bob do you recall few years ago, I think Nasa lost sattelite in space because someone did conversion error, costly error. I remember, first couple of weeks in university in each course they would teach us conversions left and right, and then jump to heavy duty stuff immediately because we were behind, lol. These people on the KML must have been very lucky, double lucky, to see it and also not being hit, lol. And oh boy, now you are an artist, some collage, very nice, you are pro. Anna :)

Anna said...

Oh Bob I forgot to ask, is that your observation dome on the photo? If it is, this is so cool. I will be waiting for some new planet discoveries from you, lol. Anna :)

Bob Johnson said...

Hey priyank, meteorites just space material that has reached the Earth's surface, whether it be micrometeorites, very small space dust or huge individual chunks of space rock.

You are right, asteroids, or a lot of them came from the asteroid belt between Jupiter and Mars.

Asteroids and comets both can be the source of Meteorites.

If we do not know the source of space debris we call it a meteoroid while it is in space, the moment it enters our atmosphere, we call it a meteor, hence a meteor shower, if some of the meteoroid, then meteor survives a crash to the Earth's surface, we call it a meteorite.

Comets for example through the warming of our Sun leave space dust particles behind, we don't call them cometoids, we call them meteoroids,then meteors then meteorites, same progression.

I know it's a little confusing, as in the case of Asteroid 2008 CT3, we called it Asteroid, not a meteoroid, simply because we knew it was an asteroid.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Hey thanks swubird, you are certainly right about only a matter of time bit, hopefully not in my time though,lol.

Interesting about your astronomy prof doing research on Mercury back then by radio telescope.

I re-did the gif, problem being I have an LCD screen, looks different on a crt screen, a lot darker blacks as apposed to gray blacks, thanks for the feed back, that was great.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Lol JJ you and your Sunspots, always gets me thinking.

I know about the metric system conversion, I remember when I was switched over in school, it was a hard spoon to swallow initially, but it got better and easier as time went on, hey it's good for you,lol.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Great question Jesse, it actually turns one and a half times for every orbit around the Sun, not quite like our Moon which does one rotation per orbit of our planet, that's why we only see the one side of our Moon.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Lol Susanne, I edited the gif to get rid of the milkyness, hope it looks better for you now, thanks for the feedback!\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Actually Peter they do have some ideas on the drawing board, but they need enough lead time to put the untried solutions into practice. If this would have been a large asteroid, we wouldn't have had a chance, I was watching a show that said they would need at least a year or two warning.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thank you Anna, you have an excellent memory.

It was back in 1999, NASA lost the Mars Climate Orbiter mission. Ten months into it's journey to Mars they lost it, one set of engineers used metric units, one set used English units, couldn't communicate with the probe properly because of it.

The KLM crew were given a heads up by ground control to look out for the asteroid as they were in the vicinity, very lucky for sure.

Lol, not my dome, that's the dome of the asteroid discovery people.\m/\m/

Marvin the Martian said...

Aren't those Messenger photos cool? I was very excited to see those.

Drowsey Monkey said...

So...a black kidney bean is heading for earth? Does this mean I can blow next months rent?


Seriously, very cool images.

Roger said...

Always great stuff Bob!

self taught artist said...

thats different! i like the rr stuff in there :)
sorry i haven't been adorning your blog with my comments...my brain hasn't been able to digest most of this but thankfully you still have pictures for the non literate :)

Ruth said...

Wow! I loved all this. The simulation of the meteor approaching earth - so interesting.

That daytime fireball is amazing! Yes yes, why not just all metric!

What a photo of Mercury! Ah, this is all just brilliant. Thanks for sharing in this post.

Bob Johnson said...

Yes they are marvin, like we found a new planet to study,lol.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Lol drowsey, well not just yet, but be happy it wasn't the big one.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Roger!\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Lol, thanks for dropping by for the pics Paula.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Ruth, the fireball is my fav all time image I have taken, the ultimate in being at the right place at the right time with the right equipment.\m/\m/

Two Feathers said...

So... that's very interesting! I got here a little bit late to say anything that hasn't already been said... so, ditto, ditto, ditto...

I was just wondering what the chances are of being hit on the head by an asteroid... because, I'll tell you, some days I'd go looking for the right place to stand... especially now that someone has managed to accurately predict a time and a place!!

Jean Levert Hood said...

yes, another "ditto", but mine wouldn't be anything technical, just that I simply love, this blog! I never miss it.

kml said...

That last image is really neat- it has an sci-fi feel to it. Good job putting it together!

Bob Johnson said...

Lol Shirley, I feel the same way some days. Unfortunately there has been no incidences so far of people being hit by one, mind you no one really goes out looking to get hit by one, maybe if you really try when we have another forecast,lol.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Hey thanks Jean!\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Kathy, the other worldly thing is what I was trying to get across.\m/\m/

Livingsword said...

Hi Bob!

Cool fly meets windshield video!

Was it an Air France airliner, a KLM airliner or a piggyback flight (when the two partners over book and double up their flight and people don’t get on? Like Air Canada does all the time…)

I like the satellite image very cool.

I enjoy a lot of web cams and I was so very surprised when right before my eyes I saw the meteorite hit right in front of the “in the middle of no where Northern Sudan Desert wasteland no power to run it web cam”! Thanks for the context!

It would be best if you are videoing an asteroid strike from your backyard but it does not hit your house, very hard on the roof and winter is coming…

LOL Size Wars! LOL Well I learned Imperial in school, metric started the year after I graduated. I learned metric no problem but to this day when I hear or see metric I still do an automatic conversion to Imperial, 50kmh will always be 30mph for me for some strange reason. Metric is superior and so it would be nice if our friends to the south would embrace it making it a lot simpler. Yet can you imagine North American football “well it is 3rd down and 36cm to go” just does not sound right….

Very nice ICBM shot Bob! Was it Iran missing Israel? Nawww they are a small nation and no threat….Ok enough politics! LOL

Excellent view of Mercury!!!! You know it actually looks a bit like the Death Star!! Dum de dah dum de dah….

Bob what an excellent gif!!! Man you learned how to work them and make them dance my friend!

Hey what railroad is that crossing for? Ever try to get a train in a shot???? I mean if you can capture an image of an Iranian ICBM you could probably catch a train engine…

Your usual level of excellence Bob, thanks very interesting info presented in a warm and engaging manner. Thanks for allowing my bad humor! LOL

Bob Johnson said...

Lol livingsword about the Air France KLM thing, actually everything, your comments always make me laugh.

No images, are we surprised? not the best area for a meteorite fall, not a whole lot of people with cameras out that way, now if there was such a thing as a gun cam,lol.

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