Close Encounter of an Asteroid with Cape Ann Tonight!

No panic in the streets. I’ve read the articles in thousands of kilometers and they don’t have a good way of explaining how close the asteroid 2005 YU55 will get to earth tonight.

But I will translate: Take your standard 24 foot Aquasport outboard sitting in the harbor. Put an NBA basketball on the top of the bow cleat of the boat and balance a tennis ball on the engine cover of the Mercury outboard. The basketball is the earth and the tennis ball 24 feet away is the moon. The asteroid is going to come screaming in at 34,900 miles per hour in between the moon and earth. But where in relation to the boat?  A little less than 4 feet from the tennis ball balancing on the motor. The basketball (earth) will be safe and sound way up on the bow.

You could actually see it and if you have a six inch mirror or larger on your telescope it might be worth googling Asteroid 2005 YU55 to find where to look. But the aircraft carrier sized rock will be somewhat underwhelming as it spins past us tonight.

With it’s size and speed, this asteroid would make a crater on earth 4 miles across, 1,700 feet deep and create a magnitude 7 earthquake. Unpleasant if it was going to land in Dogtown, but not tonight.

Well, shoot, all that yammering and 2005 YU55 wiki page has a picture that really shows how close:

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