Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Wednesday, 7 May 2014


Asteroid update - the diminutive 2014 JR24 will be flying by this morning round about time for elevenses in the UK.

Though only a few metres wide - on Asteroid Watch's pictorial scale (truck, bus, jumbo jet etc) it is rather sweetly represented by a small hatchback- it will be skimming by a mere 100,000km above our heads.

While an impact from something this small would be unlikely, in planetary terms, to cause more than a little local difficulty (albeit providing a highly unpleasant experience for anyone standing underneath), it's a reminder of the constant presence of these space rocks - and an impressive display of the level of detection now possible.

As the animation released by the B612 Foundation last month demonstrates, there are plenty of the things around; 26 impacts to Earth or our atmosphere between 2001 and 2013 show just how lucky we have been so far.

JR24 is, sadly, passing rather too early in the day to be greeted with a serious drink but, in our usual spirit of marking the occasion, we at the tavern will be lifting a coffee mug in salute as it travels on its way.


  1. That's an interesting video, especially the TNT equivalence.

    The trouble for me is, this kind of practical science and dispassionate risk calculation also highlights the madness of the catastrophic climate change narrative.

    Maybe the two fields attract different people, but the longer it goes on the more weird it seems.

  2. Thanks, Macheath, as a space junky [ie?], I've just had my daily fix.

  3. AKH, the problem is, I suppose, the point where science and ideology collide - as Galileo could doubtless have confirmed.

    JH, as long as NASA's NEO website is updated daily, we can all be happy.