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View Diary: Scientific American Gives Details on the Russian Meteor (277 comments)

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  •  To understand the probability of celestial events (14+ / 0-)

    you have to accept a celestial timescale - billions of years - so coincidences like this are not at all unlikely, but actually mathematical certainties.

    And it's not a "sudden swarm" - it didn't just appear.  It's been there all along.  We just didn't see it, because the objects are too small.  They straddle the boundary between triviality and threat.  Current monitoring efforts only focus on things that might cause significant devastation.  Broken glass and frightened people don't really rise to that standard.

    The thing is, for asteroids to have a relationship, they have to have been broken off from the same object in the past, and it just takes too much energy to send them off on a radically different inclination.  First, there's the fact that the vast majority of asteroids orbit within ten degrees of the ecliptic because most of them formed from the same primordial material as the planets.  That means when they collide, the angles of attack aren't that big, so the angles at which the fragments fly off aren't that big either.

    So the chances of there being a relationship are literally astronomically small.

    Pour yourself into the future.

    by Troubadour on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 03:41:27 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

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