In subjunctive astronomy news, scientists are warning that some kind of dot nobody can see would probably cause problems if it hit the Earth, which it won’t.
Asteroid 2014 HQ124 — the HQ stands for “Hardly Qualifies” — will be a mere 777,000 miles away at its closest approach to our planet. That’s just over 10,500 times the distance from Providence, RI to Hartford, CT; a close shave by Rhode Island standards.
Astronomers have nicknamed the asteroid “The Beast” because of its blue fur and oversized hands and feet.
Observers assure the public that there is no chance of a collision with either Hartford or Providence, but they do say this fly-by illustrates that it’s a slow news day in Tampa. “This one would definitely be catastrophic if it hit the earth, which it won’t,” according to Mark Boslough of Sandia National Laboratories.
Since the asteroid is invisible, astronomers could not detect it until it came close enough to allow the Slooh Community Observatory to read its bright red label (shown above). The label is thought to be connected to the asteroid by as many as three red hyphens.
If 2014 HQ124 is one solid piece of rock, the impact would unleash an explosion with a yield of about 2000 megatons (8.4 quadrillion calories, or approximately 3 slices of chocolate chip cheesecake). If one of the hyphens hit the earth, which it won’t, it could put someone’s eye out.
Astronomers at the Belle Collaboration, a consortium of Hot and/or Bright Disney heroines, reckon they’ve discovered about 95% of the potential “civilization-enders” near us. But spokesheroine Emilie de Ravin (above) encourages Slooh and other observatory communities to keep searching for the last 5%. “Please, be our guest!”
(Click on the Beast to read the original story. If you miss, don’t worry. It will too.)