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VD17, to impact or not to impact March 23, 2006

Posted by dr. gonzo in Asteroids, Space.

The fickle nature of asteroid hunting is proven time and again, just monitor NASA’s Near Earth Object Program Web site for proof of that.Asteroid Annefrank, courtesy JPL/Stardust.

Since late February the NEO site has listed asteroid 2004 VD17 at the top of Earth impact risk list, Torino Scale 2. While it is still at the top of that list, its chance of impacting Earth has fluctated wildly over the last half month or so.

Yesterday, VD17 stood at a 1 in 1790 chance of impacting Earth. A quick look at the NEO page today shows that the chances have, once again, increased with recent observations.

Today, a 1 in 1,490 chance of impact in 2102, which is still slim but nonetheless interesting to watch how the chance of impact have fluctuated with this particular asteroid.

You can see how it has fluctuated if you review my previous posts on 2004 VD17:

Apophis collision more likely
Asteroid reaches two on Torino Scale
2004 VD17 update


In other space related news, NASA will webcast the March 29 total solar eclipse, which will only be visible in person from other parts of the globe, South America, Africa and Asia.

The next total eclipse visible in the United States will not occur until 2017. So check out the web coverage.

You can watch it here or on NASA TV.

It promises to be a spectacular celestial show, if you can wake up to catch it. The webcast begins at 4 a.m. CST, 5 a.m. for you New Yorkers. Its likely you’ll be able to catch it later as well, in replay.


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