End of the world as we know it

When I was growing up, one of the lead mentors who influenced me was Craig Robinson who runs, Nick, the planetarium at Central Connecticut State University. I get period updates from him on the end of the world, and I need to quote him from a couple weeks ago:

“Last Friday was amazing. By now I assume that most of you have seen the video’s from Russia of the meteor that landed in Russia last Friday. It amazed me how many views of it existed as it flew through the atmosphere and how many of these views seemed to be shot through the windshields of vehicles. It turns out many Russians equip their cars with dash cams in order to have video evidence available for any ensuing investigations in case of a crash, or in case of having to deal with the local police for some perceived traffic violation. Lesson learned, if you see a bright flash outside, don’t run over to the windows to see what it was. Many people saw the bright flash and smoke trail the meteor made in the atmosphere before it hit the Earth and became a meteorite. From what I have been told about two minutes after the flash that it made in the sky, the shockwave from the meteor exploding in the atmosphere, along with the supersonic shock wave from it, hit the ground and shattered the windows while everyone was crowded around them looking through them at the sky. That is why so many people were cut by flying shards of glass. Also many of the people who were outside at the time, which was few because it was cold outside at the time, suffered concussions from the shock wave when it hit them. Last I heard at least 19 buildings had their roofs collapsed or damaged by the shockwave. All the pieces of the meteorite that have been found so far show it to have had a stony composition. I am sure we will hear more about its composition as time goes on. With so many dash cam shots of it from various locations it was easy for the Russians to triangulate where its pieces struck the ground. There is also a 26 foot wide impact hole in the ice of a nearby lake but last I heard divers in the lake have not found the part of the meteor that made that hole. I like the Russian estimates that the object was about 10 tons and was traveling at over 30,000 miles per hour when it smashed into the Earth’s atmosphere.

On the weird side one Russian legislator, who is vehemently anti-western, claimed it was a U.S. missile test that exploded over Russia. Several other web sites have identified it as falling man-made space debris. It of course was a large meteor that exploded in the atmosphere and fell to the earth as hundreds of smaller meteorites.

By coincidence, (The two objects were not related.) we had a close pass by an asteroid on the very same Friday. That one missed the Earth by only 17,000 some odd miles. I got a kick out of some of the commentators on NBC talking about it on Saturday morning calling it a fly-by asteroid. One made a slip of the tongue, at least I think it was a slip, and called it a drive-by asteroid. After that several others also called it a drive-by asteroid. I have to say that on the day asteroids come low enough to make a drive-bys instead of fly-bys we are in big, big, trouble.

Also did you catch the news last week that some computer hacker hacked into the emergency broadcast system in someplace out west and had it send over the air a fake warning message. Now I don’t remember exactly what it said but I will try to give you the gist of it. Imagine hearing this as an emergency warning message over your radio. “This is an emergency alert. Dead people are rising up out of their graves in many locations. There have been numerous reports of dead people attacking living people. Please report any attacks, or dead people that you see, to your local authorities. In the mean time you are advised to stay indoors. Lock your doors and windows. Consider the dead people as extremely dangerous and do not try to confront them. Instead retreat to a safe location. Normal self defense tactics do not work because remember these attackers are already dead. This has been a message from the emergency broadcasting system.” As if asteroids and meteorites were not enough to worry about. Well that is all for this week. Have a great day. Craig Robinson, Copernican Observatory and Planetarium at CCSU.”