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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 19, 1998
Wouldn't you know it? The very day we get the "Year 2000 Problem" solved--Oct. 28, 2028--an asteroid will probably wipe it all out. CAROL P. BARTOLD Glendale
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SCIENCE
April 22, 2014 | By Deborah Netburn
If you think asteroid impacts are just the stuff of action movies, think again.  Since the year 2000, a powerful array of microphones has detected 26 nuclear-sized explosions in the Earth's atmosphere-- each the result of a space rock slamming into our planet. You can see where and when these impacts occurred, as well as how strong they were, in the video above. The new video was released by the B612 Foundation, a nonprofit that hopes to send a privately funded infrared telescope into space by 2018 to locate as many potentially dangerous asteroids as possible.  Most of us remain blissfully unaware of the pummeling the Earth gets on a regular basis because the force released by most asteroid impacts is absorbed entirely by our atmosphere and rarely causes much damage at ground level.
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SCIENCE
October 8, 2009 | John Johnson Jr.
Doomsday in 2036 just got a lot less likely. After recalculating the trajectory of the asteroid Apophis, scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Canada Flintridge have determined that the odds of it hitting the Earth that year are only four in a million. "We've all but ruled out" a collision in 2036, said Steve Chesley, an astronomer with the Near-Earth Object office at JPL. Previously, the odds had been calculated at one in 45,000, Chesley said. While that doesn't sound like a very big danger, Apophis has been the greatest worry since 2004 for scientists who track threats from space.
SCIENCE
March 26, 2014 | By Deborah Netburn
In a first, scientists have detected rings encircling an M&M-shaped asteroid known as Chariklo. Until now, only the solar system's four gas planets - Jupiter, Neptune, Uranus and especially Saturn - were known to have rings. "It was an extremely surprising discovery," said James Bauer, a planetary astronomer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge who was not involved in the finding. "No one has ever seen rings around a comet or an asteroid before. This is a brand-new area.
SCIENCE
November 6, 2013 | By Amina Khan
Planetary scientists weren't remotely expecting the 62-foot-wide Chelyabinsk fireball to shoot across Russian skies in February  -- they'd had their eyes peeled on a much bigger target that missed the Earth by a decent margin, the asteroid 2012 DA14. But this relatively modest, unseen space rock caused a shock wave that shattered countless windows in the city and injured more than a thousand people. It was the largest asteroid impact on land in more than a century. Researchers are now saying that such impacts, from relatively small asteroids just tens of yards long, might be 10 times more common than we'd thought.
WORLD
October 17, 2013 | By Sergei L. Loiko, This post has been corrected and updated. See below for details.
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia -- Ukrainian astronomers say an asteroid might collide with Earth in a couple of decades, a Russian news service reported Thursday. Space watchers from the observatory in the Crimean peninsula said they discovered an asteroid about 1,345 feet in diameter, which they call 2013 TV135, that is approaching Earth at a potentially dangerous trajectory, RIA Novosti said. The astronomers calculated the date of a potential collision as Aug. 26, 2032, the news service said, but they acknowledged the odds of an impact as 1 in 63,000.
SCIENCE
September 12, 2013 | By Deborah Netburn
Having trouble getting excited about NASA's planned mission to redirect an asteroid? Maybe William Gerstenmaier can help. "Turn off your logical side and turn on your touchy-feely side, the one you almost never use," Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for NASA's Human Exploration and Operations Directorate, told attendees of an aeronautics and astronautics conference Wednesday in San Diego. "Then jump up and down and do some break-dancing. We're going to grab a space rock and we're going to move it!"
SCIENCE
May 17, 2013 | By Deborah Netburn, This post has been corrected, as indicated below.
It's 1.7 miles long. Its surface is covered in a sooty black substance similar to the gunk at the bottom of a barbecue. If it impacted Earth it would probably result in global extinction. Good thing it is just making a flyby. Asteroid 1998 QE2 will make its closest pass to Earth on May 31 at 1:59 p.m. PDT. Scientists are not sure where this unusually large space rock, which was discovered 15 years ago, originated from. But the mysterious sooty substance on its surface could indicate it may be the result of a comet that flew too close to the sun, said Amy Mainzer, who tracks near-Earth objects at Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge . It might also have leaked out of the asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, she said.
SCIENCE
July 22, 2013 | By Deborah Netburn
An asteroid roughly the size of a football field will make its closest approach to Earth on Monday, and you can watch it zip through the sky, live, right here. A live feed of asteroid 2013 NE19, provided by Slooh.com , will start at 6 p.m. PDT. Asteroid quiz: Test your space rock knowledge Asteroid 2013 NE19 was discovered less than a week ago by the Pan-STARRS telescope in Haleakala, Hawaii. Scientists estimate it is 200 to 400 feet long and is hurtling through space at the speed of 64,000 miles per hour.
SCIENCE
February 17, 2014 | By Deborah Netburn
A massive asteroid the length of three football fields will make its closest approach to Earth tonight, and you can watch it fly by live, right here. Beginning at 6 p.m. PST, the astronomy website Slooh.com will provide a live video feed of the asteroid from a telescope in the Canary Islands. The free show will last about an hour and will be visible in the video box above. Asteroid the length of 3 football fields eludes sky-watchers The asteroid is known as 2000 EM26, and although it is big, it poses no threat to Earth.
SCIENCE
March 26, 2014 | By Deborah Netburn
Scientists have discovered a double ring system around an icy, dark asteroid in the outer solar system. The discovery marks the first time rings have been found around any object that is not a planet. The findings were published Wednesday in the journal Nature. “It was a very exciting experience,” Jose L. Ortiz told the Los Angeles Times by email. Ortiz, of the Instituto de Astrofisica de Adalucia, is one of the authors of the paper. “I almost jumped out of my seat!” Observations made with seven different telescopes in June 2013 suggest that the two rings are dense and thin.
SCIENCE
March 16, 2014 | By Deborah Netburn, This post has been updated, as indicated below.
) The largest lunar impact ever caught on camera took place last Sept. 11, when a small asteroid 2 to 4.5 feet in length slammed into our moon's pockmarked surface at 37,900 mph. The resulting explosion caused a flash of light that briefly burned as bright as the north star, Polaris, and lingered for 8.5 seconds. It also left a new crater on the moon that scientists estimate to be about 130 feet in diameter.  On Sunday, at 6 p.m. PDT, the website Slooh will point its telescopes at a part of the moon known as Mare Nubium where the recent impact occurred, and you are invited to watch the show live, right here.
SCIENCE
March 6, 2014 | By Deborah Netburn
Peering deep into the asteroid belt between Jupiter and Mars, scientists have spotted the first disintegrating space rock ever observed. The rock is crumbing slowly -- its disparate pieces gliding gently away from each other at the sluggish rate of one mile an hour, slower than human walking speed. The strange space rock first caught scientists' attention in September when the Catalina and Pan STARRS sky survey telescopes detected what looked like an unusually fuzzy object on the far side of the asteroid belt.
SCIENCE
March 4, 2014 | By Amina Khan
NASA's budget for the 2015 fiscal year wouldn't budge much from last year under the White House's proposal for nearly $17.5 billion, as officials reaffirmed the commitment to extending the life of the International Space Station, funding potential missions to Mars and Jupiter's moon Europa and sending a manned mission to nab an asteroid and bring it back to Earth orbit. The proposed $17.46-billion budget for 2015 is roughly $200 million less than the 2014 fiscal year request, and the planetary science division would receive about $1.28 billion -- not quite up to last year's $1.35 billion.
SCIENCE
February 17, 2014 | By Deborah Netburn
A massive asteroid the length of three football fields will make its closest approach to Earth tonight, and you can watch it fly by live, right here. Beginning at 6 p.m. PST, the astronomy website Slooh.com will provide a live video feed of the asteroid from a telescope in the Canary Islands. The free show will last about an hour and will be visible in the video box above. Asteroid the length of 3 football fields eludes sky-watchers The asteroid is known as 2000 EM26, and although it is big, it poses no threat to Earth.
SCIENCE
December 12, 2013 | By Deborah Netburn
Space rock, or space rocks? A new study of asteroid 4179 Toutatis suggests the large asteroid that zips past Earth every four years is actually a collection of rocky fragments held together by gravity. "We may conclude that Toutatis is not a monolith, but most likely a coalescence of shattered fragments," the researchers wrote in a paper in Scientific Reports .  The study, published Thursday, is based on images of the asteroid collected by the Chinese space probe Chang'e-2 (see above)
SCIENCE
March 6, 2014 | By Deborah Netburn
Peering deep into the asteroid belt between Jupiter and Mars, scientists have spotted the first disintegrating space rock ever observed. The rock is crumbing slowly -- its disparate pieces gliding gently away from each other at the sluggish rate of one mile an hour, slower than human walking speed. The strange space rock first caught scientists' attention in September when the Catalina and Pan STARRS sky survey telescopes detected what looked like an unusually fuzzy object on the far side of the asteroid belt.
SCIENCE
November 7, 2013 | By Deborah Netburn
A bizarre, never-before-seen asteroid with six comet-like tails has been found in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, and scientists are shocked. "I'm trying not to use the word 'freak,'" said David Jewitt of UCLA and lead author of a paper about the six-tailed asteroid, "but that's what it is. It is definitely freakish. " A NASA release described the asteroid as looking like "a rotating lawn sprinkler" with dust radiating out from it like spokes on a wheel.  PHOTOS: Amazing images from space What makes this find especially weird is that asteroids almost never have any kind of tail at all. Those dramatic blue tails we see in images from space are generally associated with comets -- "dirty snowballs" that originate in the outer regions of our solar system.
SCIENCE
November 6, 2013 | By Amina Khan
Scientists studying the dramatic Chelyabinsk meteor that screamed through Russian skies this year have both good and bad news to report. The good news: The February fireball's damage wasn't nearly as terrible as predicted. The bad news? Near-Earth object impacts could be about 10 times more common than we thought they were. The results, presented in one of three studies published in the journals Nature and Science, show that scientists on the ground may have to reevaluate how we predict both the frequency of such impacts and our understanding of how they behave when they enter our atmospheres.
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