BEACON TRANSCRIPT – This Christmas, or this holiday season, if we’re to be politically correct, is going to be one of the most exciting days for astronomers everywhere. Although you don’t have to be an astronomer to appreciate the fact that two rare phenomena will take place one after the other. Before the full moon on Christmas night, we’ll be treated to an asteroid wishing us happy holidays on Christmas Eve.
After being visited by an asteroid on Halloween, word has apparently spread out that we’re not as bad hosts as it had been rumored.
So, on Christmas Eve, we’ll be visited by another asteroid just passing by to say hello.
The asteroid’s name is 2003 SD220 or 163899, and he’s not as harmless as his cousin who visited on Halloween. Well, he is going harmless this time.
2003 SD220 is going to be passing 6.8 million miles from Earth, and although it will not be visible with the naked eye, it will be visible with the help of a telescope.
The 1.5 miles wide asteroid has a particularly slow rotation, and it will pass by just one day before the Full Cold Moon on Christmas Night, giving this December two nights of extreme rarity in a row.
One of the most interesting facts about 2003 SD220 is that he is on NASA’s naughty list. Or, well, on their list of the 17 most dangerous asteroids.
But don’t worry about that, since this year it will just be passing by.
Reports of potential earthquakes, flash flooding and dangerous tidal waves are already spreading around the internet, although experts assure us that there’s nothing to worry about.
The reason behind the speculations is the fact that the massive object will pass so close to Earth (although more than 28 times the Earth-moon distance isn’t that close, is it?), and conspiracy theorists claim that the proximity itself will cause all the natural disasters.
However, experts say, the premise is completely false, as only a collision would have hazardous effects.
The asteroid will be passing close enough to Earth, though, for the experts to more properly analyze it and get a better idea with what they will be facing in 2018, when it will make a much closer approach.
In the meanwhile, sit back, enjoy a hot beverage and hope for a third rare event in a row.
Image source: Pixabay