Wondering about wild grapes

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Wondering about “Doom’s Day”

First off, let me say that I did go back and add stuff to yesterdays blog, but I don’t think that is going to work for me, so will just go back to my old way of doing my blog. Thanks for your patients. Now, on with today’s blog.

Yep, I was reading an article about all the past asteroid hits that Earth has endured and couldn’t help but wonder about the next “Big One”. This article was in the magazine “Astronomy”, which I subscribe to. Now this article said that most all of the large asteroids out there have been located and the only chance, and a very, very slim chance of one hitting the Earth would be for one to come from the direction of the sun. Whew, I guess we are safe.

But wait a minute, comets still pose a threat. They come from far away to swing around our star (the Sun) and head back out “there”. New ones are discovered more often than old ones returning. They have a huge elliptical orbit that takes many years to complete. Comets’ trajectories can be erratic since the heat from the Sun warms the ice and it out-gasses, which can affect the path. So, if they determine one is a real threat and try to nudge it off course, they may just be nudging it on a collision course.

Astronomy magazine gave an example of what would happen if a 1.5 mile diameter comet impacted the earth. It set up a chart of the immediate aftermath at both 50 miles and 300 miles from the impact site. It is very interesting and scary.

The debris would arrive at the 50 mile site 2.2 minutes after impact and at the 300 mile site, 5.5 minutes. The depth of the debris on the ground at 50 miles would be 3.3 feet thick and at 300 miles just 0.19 inch deep. The air blast would arrive at 50 miles within 4.1 minutes at a speed of 1180 mph leaving nothing and at 300 miles, 77 mph winds would arrive in 24.4 minutes. It would be like a hurricane at 300 miles out. The thermal affect would be disastrous. At 50 miles trees and most all flammable things would ignite and at 300 miles, only leaves and paper would burn. This is not a pretty sight!

Most of the world would survive this event, at first. The dust and debris in the atmosphere and the destruction of the ozone layer would cause a long term climate change. Could people survive? Yes, but not all. It would depend on how humanity would react to this disaster. The fight to survive may turn into a fight between all who want to survive. Let us hope that we do not have to find out.

The good news? Yes there is, the chances of this happening is very, very slim. We are just one tiny little speck in this huge universe and we are a moving target. Let’s hope the comets are a bad shot.


  1. We humans are like cockroaches in a Houston palm tree..we will survive!!

  2. Many many years ago I read an article in Popular Science, think it was. That if you put a large sheet of white clean cloth out and left it all day, then with a microscope you could find particulars of spent meteorites that had entered our atmosphere and broke up. Happened every day.

    That ole story ring a bell?

  3. Something like that probably will happen sooner or later, I'm thinking!

    Hope I'm not around then!

  4. I think people just love being scared to death. That's why they go to horror movies, and why there are fearmongers out there, such as the Weather Channel and "It could happen tomorrow" crap. Oh, and add in the religious leaders that like to keep people in fear. And people who want to sell books, movies, and magazines. I'm not buying into any of it. I will be just as dead if I get hit by a meteor as a big tractor-trailer, or as those unfortunates who lost their lives in earthquakes and the aftermath, tornados, hurricanes, and floods. Wow, I seem to be in a great mood this morning!

  5. Frann, some are more like cockroaches than others, but I do know what you mean and agree with you.

    Ben, no, I have not heard that story but I am sure that it could very well be true. Just not sure how you can tell the difference from man made pollution fall out.

    Hermit, the odds are so slim that I doubt if we would ever see it happen. The odds only go up after millions of years. We get pelted all the time by meteorites, some large enough to do local damage. But, I am still not going to wear a helmet (grin).

    Gypsy, yes we do like to be scared to death. I guess it breaks up the monotony or boredom that some people are plagued with. I am never bored. There is more to do than I have time.

  6. When there's something we can do about it, then I'll worry about it. Until then, my worry dance card is full.

    Cool story though.

  7. 6bears, "What, me worry?" Alfred E. Newman

    I am way too old to worry. Just like an alcoholic, taking one day at a time.