(artist credit – José Antonio Peñas/SINC)
Okay, just a heads up. We know that you’re busy with the Holidays. Wrapping gifts, baking cookies and spending time with friends and family. But we just wanted you to know that there’s a giant, skull shaped asteroid barreling toward Earth. What? You think that after an objectively terrible year, this development “totally tracks”? Yeah, we agree. Anyway, here’s the science.
Its official designation is Asteroid 2015 TB145 and scientists theorize that it is what remains of a comet whose gasses have boiled off. First observed by astronomers on October 31, 2015, it’s about 2,100 feet across. And since its orbit last brought it within 300,000 miles of Earth (about a 1.3 times the distance from the Earth to the Moon), it has been officially designated a “Potentially Hazardous Asteroid”. It is currently whizzing around in an oval orbit that takes it from the icy region beyond Jupiter into the significantly warmer reaches between Mercury and the Sun. Though its make-up is not currently known, scientists believe it is covered with extremely dark material which reflects only 5 to 6 percent of the light that hits it. That means its super dark, only slightly more reflective than charcoal.
Yeah, those are the stats. But, don’t kid yourself, the key takeaway should be: it’s a jet black, skull-faced murder rock from beyond Jupiter that showed up on Halloween! And, wait for it, it’s coming back in November of 2018! You know, because gravity. BUT STILL!
Okay, just wanted to give you something to talk about with your family other than politics. Honestly, the blind, existential terror of the Universe shooting a massive skull-bullet at the Earth is something everyone can get on board with.
And now, a side by side of 2015 TB145 and The Ultimate Evil from the Fifth Element that you can shove down into your panic hole.
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