back to article Sky watchers prep for early 2013 asteroid fly-bys

NASA asteroid-watchers are eagerly awaiting a January 9 fly-by of the maybe-dangerous-one-day 99942 Apophis to improve their understanding of its orbit. Named after an ancient Egyptian god of evil and darkness, the asteroid was first detected in 2004. While the earliest observations suggested a possible collision with Earth in …


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    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: We're gonna die!

      But half-full glass: the NASA U2 plane will be able to get some great views of its topside

  2. AndrueC Silver badge

    The biggest problem with Lucifer's Hammer are the damn cannibals. Although there wasn't much of London left after the tidal waves either so it's not all bad news :)

    Mine's the coat with the first edition in the pocket.

    Oh and for the pedants out there: Lucifer's Hammer was a comet not a 'roid ;)

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      There were some cool engineers in that story, brewing up mustard gas to keep away crazed army bastards in the basement and restarting a boiling water reactor probably in a worse way than FukuMammaMia.

      Additionally, sending useless beancounters into the wilderness instead of taking them into the survivor stronghold? Badass!

      1. AndrueC Silver badge

        Contrails! You might control the sky - but we control the lightening!

        Not a bad book overall. I think it's a little too long for me to want to re-read now but I have pleasant memories of it nonetheless.

        1. Richard J


          Always preferred Footfall to Lucifer's Hammer, but then I've always been a fan of big space tech.

          (Mine's the one with the boot in the pocket and the Fithp buying us drinks in the pub BTW.)

  3. Annihilator

    Rather humbling

    Our biannual companion 2012 DA14 passes us by at the same sort of range that your Sky transmissions come from, yet we didn't see it until last year. Makes you wonder what else is up there, unseen, ready to create another Tunguska event. Or worse, extinction level event.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: Rather humbling

      We know where all the big ones are, so no worries about an extinction-level impact for a good century or so. (Then our predictions break down, but I'm not all that worried about big impacts over a hundred years away.)

      That said, you're right - we don't know where all the ones big enough to level a city or small town are.

      However, everyone knows that the only cities such things ever hit are central London, Paris, New York City, Washington DC or the Golden Gate Bridge - Hollywood said so.

      1. Annihilator

        Re: Rather humbling

        "We know where all the big ones are"

        We know where the ones we know about are!

      2. ed2020

        Re: Rather humbling

        I've always been curious about this... How do we know that we know where all the big ones are?

        1. Annihilator

          Re: Rather humbling

          "I've always been curious about this... How do we know that we know where all the big ones are?"

          Short answer - we don't.

          1. laird cummings

            How do we know that we know where all the big ones are?

            " Short answer - we don't. "

            Correct. And it's the one's you *don't* see coming that you gotta worry about...

    2. miknik

      Re: Rather humbling

      Until I hear of the sad passing of one Bruce Willis then surely I don't need to concern myself with such things?

  4. John 110

    wait isn't Apophis...

    The bad guy in Stargate SG1!!

    1. Amonynous

      Re: wait isn't Apophis...

      Er yeah:

      Astronomers generally name solar system bodies after mythical deities, creatures, etc. dreamed up by ancient civilisations.

      Science fiction writers generally name characters after mythical deities, creatures, etc. dreamed up by ancient civilisations.


    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: wait isn't Apophis...

      Not really.

      From the "guy" category (Anubis does not really qualify here) Sokar is probably the ultimate badass. Baal second and Apophis a distant third. More of a pompous looser than a real bad guy

      1. Richard J

        Re: wait isn't Apophis...

        You are saying that Apophis was essentially like the 'hard man' down the pub. All talk and no action, who everyone laughed at? Guess that explains his total failure in Stargate then.

        (It's the one with the Goa'uld symbiont stitched in to the back of the jacket , please.)

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    April 2036


    I'll probably be long gone by then.

    Not looking so great for you youngsters eh?

    PS: Get off my lawn!

  6. Michael Habel Silver badge

    So the Mayans were just a tad with their Calendar.

    That or those pesky 'roids are late again....

  7. Spindreams

    Asteroid or Comet?

    "the agency will be measuring “the asteroid’s distance and line-of-sight velocity” to improve its ability to predict the comet’s motion."

    I am confused........ I always thought they were different?

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