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 29 April 2015


Another opportunity this week to indulge in a favourite pastime; it seems someone forgot to put on the handbrake of a Russian spacecraft and, as it begins its slow but inexorable descent - currently predicted (for the UK, at least) to end in the early hours of 9th May (+ 48 hours) - those inclined can enjoy speculating where it would do the most good, should it arrive down here as an assortment of red-hot fragments.

In general, I try to be well-disposed towards my fellow man, but I have to admit there are several people I should be very happy to see on the receiving end. Actually, I like to envisage an asteroid strike which, unaccountably, finds them all gathered together in the impact zone, but I'd settle for some Russian space junk in the meantime.

Once the MSM get hold of it, this will doubtless lead to a repeat of the speculation which, during the 6.5-tonne UARS satellite's decaying orbit, led to entertaining headlines like 'Britain in path of falling satellite' - an assertion owing rather more to dramatic effect than to accuracy.

Though there has been little time for posting recently, we have been diligently drinking to the near-Earth asteroids of the past few weeks - including the house-sized 2015 HD10 passing by at 627,000km today - and keeping an eye on the treasure hunt that has resulted from Sunday night's Irish fireball.

Over the next few days though, we'll mostly be following the runaway space freighter's orbital path and current altitude at Satflare, where the tracking display proves strangely hypnotic.

4/5/15 Update: New estimate:  Fri, 08/05/2015 19:26:00 +/- 24 hours UTC


  1. My goodness, it's all happening up there, Macheath.

  2. Oh, couldn't it pick up a little speed and arrive over the UK as dawn breaks on the new government on May 8th?

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  4. Seems like yet another suitor, Macheath.

  5. Not my type, JH.

    You're right, there's plenty of extraterrestrial entertainment just now, some of which may yet become all too terrestrial.

    As Julia says, it would certainly liven up the election and its aftermath and possibly focus Westminster's attention on the continued threat from the skies- where's Lembit Opik when you need him?

  6. PS And another one... 2015 HQ71, 14m diameter, 446,999km away at 3am this morning (though we'll save the drink until later).


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