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Week 16


Special Topic: Prediction of Future Approaches

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APRIL 13, 2029: The near-Earth asteroid (99942) Apophis will pass just 0.00026 AU from Earth, slightly less than 5 Earth radii above the surface and within the orbital distance of geosynchronous satellites. At this time this is the closest predicted future approach of a near-Earth asteroid. The process of determining future close approaches like this …

Perihelion: 2002 March 18.98, q = 0.507 AU  One of the many successful Japanese comet hunters of the 1960s was Kaoru Ikeya who, coming from a family of modest means, built a homemade telescope for the equivalent of US$20 and began to hunt comets with it. He discovered his first comet in 1963 and would …

During the third week of July 1994 the various fragments of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 1993e impacted Jupiter, liberating enormous amounts of energy in the process and creating large planet-sized “scars” in Jupiter’s atmosphere that lingered for some time afterwards. (Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 and these events are discussed in a future “Comet of the Week” presentation.) …