Happenings – 2011 Jul 2

It turns out that right while I was putting out last week’s diary post – shortly after 4 PM PDT – a tiny asteroid came within 7500 miles of the Earth. I was busy with the earth – how many big earthquakes in July? – … but the real news was overhead.

Edit: Oops. The near miss was on Monday, not Saturday. Somehow when I read it Monday, I thought it had happened two days earlier. End edit.

To put that in context, the international space station is 220 miles up, and a geosynchronous satellite orbits at about 22,200 miles. The fox was right in the chicken coop.

It was small enough – somewhere between 16 and 66 feet across – that if it had entered the atmosphere, it would have either burned up completely or been very small when it hit the surface. No real problem, unless it happened to hit a person.

As it happens, this is not the closest known miss to date; that happened on February 4 this year, when asteroid 2011 CQ1 passed within 3400 miles. It was all of 4 feet wide, so it wouldn’t have stood a chance of reaching the surface.

For more information, you can check NASA and space.com.

By contrast, it’s been a relatively slow week, personally.

Let me say, however, that I did finish off the post which I intended to put out last Monday. It awaits only final edits, which I will do – as usual – Monday evening. After missing two consecutive Monday technical posts, I made sure I had one for this coming week.

I wonder if I might get ahead of the game, and bring a second post to that point this weekend. Lord knows, as I said last week, I have plenty of topics for which all that remains is to write them up.

On the other hand, of course, I want to do some mathematics this weekend. More color theory? Reaction rates in chemistry? Algebraic curves? Mechanics of solids? We’ll see.

This morning I finally went through my earthquake notifications… I made my prediction last week of at least four earthquakes of magnitude 6 or greater in July without actually counting how many there had been in June.

More than I thought. There were 11 earthquakes of at least magnitude 6… including one magnitude 7… in June. Let me invite Murphy to the party, by saying that I am pretty confident today that we will have at least four of magnitude 6 in July, somewhere on Earth. Not confident enough, though, to up my prediction to even six; I have no feeling for the variance of magntude 6 quakes.

Now, enough of earth, wind, air, and fire… I have a thousand math books calling out to me.


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