Comet Causing Perseid Meteor Rain May Clash with Earth

In recent years, the rain of Perseid meteors has been catching the news during the month of August. Viewing the event requires a little effort, as it is not so intense that it can be seen for a long time, and its peak usually happens in the middle of the night.

Its beauty is indescribable, but the points of light that appear in the sky originate from comet 109P / Swift-Tuttle, which is passing closer and closer to Earth.

P of journal

Comet 109P / Swift-Tuttle was discovered in 1862 by two independent scientists - Lewis Swift and Horace Parnell Tuttle, both US astronomers. Its orbit is quite different compared to the planets of the Solar System, completing a cycle around the Sun every 133 years.

These periodic passages cause it to be affected by the heat of the sun, releasing a huge field of ice and rocks with an estimated diameter of 16 million kilometers and a length of 120 million kilometers. The debris released by the comet, which occupies this gigantic sector of space, causes the Perseid meteor shower - associated with the celestial body only in 1865, by Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli.

Taking a thin

What is worrying the researchers is that with each passage of the comet near Earth, the distance has narrowed. In 1992, it passed 176 million kilometers from us, but by 2126 it will be much lower: 22.7 million kilometers. By 3044, the distance will be less than 1 million kilometers - almost grazing when we consider the distance in spatial terms.

The calculations guarantee a safe distance between Earth and the comet up to 4479, as each pass near the Sun releases material, which reduces its mass and affects its orbit. These quantities are not accurate, so it is not possible to pinpoint the path of the comet at such a distant date.

As the possibility of collision exists, however small, it was considered by radio astronomer Gerrit Verschurr to be the "most dangerous objects known to mankind." At 26 kilometers in diameter, it is twice as large as the asteroid that probably killed the dinosaurs.

Since the impact calculation is not directly proportional to size, the collision force would be 27 times greater than that of the extinction event. By way of comparison, astrophysicist Ethan Siegel published a text in Forbes explaining that a collision with an object of this magnitude "would release more than 1 billion megatons of energy: something equivalent to 20 million hydrogen bombs exploding at one time."

If this event really happens, we will only be alive if some technique of rejuvenating our bodies is discovered in the coming decades. In the meantime, NASA plans to prevent such a catastrophe from happening and meteor showers to be appreciated in peace.


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