Thursday, December 18, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Comets, meteors and asteroids, oh my!

plunkett column sig

By
From page A2 | February 27, 2013 |

Less than two weeks ago the paranoid Chicken Little would have surely had a fit, because things were literally falling out of the sky.

A meteor blasted through Earth’s atmosphere over Russia’s Chelyabinsk region, triggering an atomic bomb-sized shock wave that blew out windows and caused numerous injuries. The blast happened only hours before 2012 DA14 (a 150-foot-wide asteroid) came within 17,000 miles from Earth. How close is that? Here’s an idea, go look at the odometer of your car. Is it over 17,000 miles? Well then, it was that close!

Later that evening, another meteoroid lit up our California sky, signaling to some Bay Area residents that the end is near.

Naturally, NASA said that none of these events were related. Oh really? Personally, I’d like it if Maury Povitch had some DNA testing done on the suspects. Maybe the asteroid isn’t the smaller meteors’ baby-daddy, but I bet there’s a good chance they could be distant cousins.

The meteoroid that dazzled Bay Area residents was a relatively tiny one that burned up in our atmosphere, not making an impact on the surface at all.

The same can’t be said for the one in Russia. It was a meteor that officials say was almost 50 feet wide, almost 10,000 tons, and traveling at almost 40,000 mph. It blasted apart at roughly 15 to 30 miles above Earth, releasing the energy equivalent to almost 500 kilotons of TNT. Although there was no impact site, shock waves and small fragments damaged hundreds of buildings, shattered thousands of windows and injured more than 1,000 people.

Many Russians were confused. Some thought it was the end of the world, with possibly a Mayan connection. Some thought it was either a failed North Korean missile launch, or one of President Barack Obama’s wayward drone strikes, or even killer robots roaming the countryside. One CNN “news” anchor suggested that it was the result of global warming (insert laugh track here!).

It was the largest meteor blast since 1908. That blast happened in Russia, too, and is referred to as “The Tunguska Event.” It’s an event because some scientists still aren’t quite sure what caused it. Different theories range from the cause being a small asteroid, a comet, a meteor, a black hole, antimatter, a Nikola Tesla experiment gone awry, or the explosion of a wayward killer robot roaming the countryside. Fact is, the impact wasn’t even investigated until 1927 because Russia was going through a few little things like World War I and the Russian Revolution, followed by the Russian Civil War.

On a positive note, this most-recent blast did not kill anyone. It also didn’t cause any electrical and battery-operated appliances and automobiles to come to life with maniacal tendencies. Nor did it cause dead bodies to come to life, thereby initiating the impending zombie apocalypse.

If the larger asteroid that harmlessly whistled past our little blue planet had hit us, it would have been extremely bad. If it had hit an ocean, it would have triggered a global mega-tsunami. A direct hit on our city of Fairfield would have immediately vaporized us. A strike on a large metropolis like New York City or Tokyo would easily cause millions of deaths. And a direct hit on Washington, D.C., would cause . . . actually, that might’ve made things a little bit better, although I imagine any surviving Democratic congressmen would blame President George W. Bush and then immediately push for some sort of “asteroid control” policy.

The question that everyone wants to know is: Why didn’t they spot the incoming meteor that exploded over Russia sooner? The simple answer is that there isn’t enough funding. Most of the big dinosaur-killing space rocks have been detected. Almost 1,500 of the 30 meter-plus size have been detected, but the smaller ones can easily slip under the radar, so to speak. Or, to quote a scene from the movie “Armageddon”:

President: “We didn’t see this thing coming?”

Dan (Billy Bob Thornton): “Well, our object-collision budget’s a million dollars. That allows us to track about 3 percent of the sky, and beg’n your pardon sir, but it’s a big-a– sky.”

A big as-teroid indeed!

Reach C.W. Plunkett at cwplunkett33@yahoo.com.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 28 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • G-ManFebruary 27, 2013 - 2:57 am

    Tell me you were joking about the "lack of funding part"..btw..this is happening an a "killer rock" could appear out of nowhere..andtherwe's not enough "funding" or technology to stop it..unless we can track down Bruce Willis...I enjoyed the article in that it echoes man's totally naïve and anthropocentric ways...

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Guess Who?February 27, 2013 - 7:05 am

    Hey Plunkett new idea for a column....Polyps, Irritable Bowel, and Hemorrhoids, oh my!.....about Colon health...seeing G-Man's post inspired me to think of this, strange growth that he is.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • G-ManFebruary 27, 2013 - 9:01 am

    You're just saying that to hurt me...

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • StRFebruary 27, 2013 - 9:15 am

    Actually I do not like being mean....It is one thing to take out a target cleanly and efficiently....but did not one time you say that someone would just mess me up bad ala Gabby Giffords...did not one time you tell someone to use razor blades in a warm bath?....And for the record I would never just disappear without telling friends and family....I would never hurt my family ie..suicide self and family....actually I will not commit suicide, although I have kind of hinted to leave the bad people the option of making it look like suicide, since I do not want to be taken alive. I think it just proves that I can get in a good insult in a slightly more gentle manner. But no I do not like hurting anyone, I usually really do feel guilty afterwards.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • StRFebruary 27, 2013 - 9:33 am

    But to stroke your ego, I think that we do all find you fasinating, the dexterious twists and turns of your thought patterns, the rapid recall of detail ect.... The multiplicitous connections you so quickly are cognitive of. Your IQ makes you a supreme example of rapid fire viciousness when you so desire. There is no way the rest of us can truly compete. But my apologies if I did really hurt your feelings.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • C.W. PlunkettFebruary 27, 2013 - 1:56 pm

    I think that G-man and STR should kiss and make up.... just sayin'...

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • C.W. PlunkettFebruary 27, 2013 - 2:03 pm

    And G-Man... no joke about the lack of funding. There are fewer professional astronomers dedicated to scouring the skies for "dinosaur killing" space rocks than there are people working at your local grocery store. True story! However, there are literally thousands of amateur astronomers around the globe who are dedicated to searching the stars, but alas, theyre using their own funds and have an even more limited financial resources. Pointing a telescope up at the night sky to find a tiny meteroid is really like pointing that telescope at a haystack in search of that proverbial needle. And if it's coming at us from the direction of the sun (which the one that just exploded over Russia did) it's virtually impossible to see... Roiks!!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Sobbin' BluesFebruary 27, 2013 - 2:24 pm

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONDr4zau53c

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Poor little FoolFebruary 27, 2013 - 2:32 pm

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R12H8QWnwvE

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • I Am Married w/KidFebruary 27, 2013 - 2:37 pm

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ssY4xzXpfHA

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • G-ManFebruary 28, 2013 - 2:10 am

    My point exactly..it's all but futile..of course that shoudn't preclude looking..but no worries..you'll never hear the one that gets you

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Tammy's Bein' BadFebruary 27, 2013 - 10:18 am

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DoiXxElY-q8

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • The Tractors - Baby Likes To Rock ItFebruary 27, 2013 - 10:25 am

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJKb1BoQ6Ts

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • But be careful what U stand 4 THEY lieFebruary 27, 2013 - 1:43 pm

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XHIw6vs4z0w

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • .I Wish it Would Rain DownFebruary 27, 2013 - 1:54 pm

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UN6Sw3Rh6ug

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Naughty Pennies from HeavenFebruary 27, 2013 - 2:01 pm

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54iR0xFkEfQ

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • And More Pennies from HeavenFebruary 27, 2013 - 2:13 pm

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A38jtFqS_hs

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • C.W. PlunkettFebruary 27, 2013 - 3:27 pm

    Thanks for the column idea, STR... I also like the Mad Magazine idea, although I doubt SERIOUSLY that they'd want anything written by me... hahaha! Anyway, keep 'em coming!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • MAD MAGAZINE CriticFebruary 27, 2013 - 3:46 pm

    You are too good for the likes of MAD MAGAZINE...Your writing is much too classy for a pulp puplication such as MAD MAGAZINE. They would not be up to the intellectual challenge of comprehending the true majesty and deep philosophical content of your work. Those SHMUCKS at MAD MAGAZINE got no class, like you do Plunkett!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • MAD MAGAZINE CriticFebruary 27, 2013 - 4:00 pm

    I will review the MAD MAGAZINE current pathetic attempt at humor Issue #519 February 2013 -- [Titled - MAD The 20 Dumbest People, Events, And Things 2012] and get back to you. Y because..THIS IS IMPORTANT to criticize those GOOF OFFs at MAD MAGAZINE!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • MAD MAGAZINE CriticFebruary 27, 2013 - 4:16 pm

    MAD MAGAZINE tries to be socially relevent...get this from The New York Daily News....Barack Obama, Mitt Romney make Mad Magazine's 'The 20 (yes, do it I dare you to google it).....those LOONs at MAD MAGAZINE do not realize that teenage boys are not interested in SKANKY US POLITICS. What losers those CLOWNS at MAD MAGAZINE really are....what were they thinking?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Keep it comin' LoveFebruary 27, 2013 - 6:27 pm

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdQM3oWSpnY

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • OK I will pay MAD MAGAZINE a complimentFebruary 28, 2013 - 11:30 am

    I really like how the squirrel is drawn on the cover of Issue #519 February 2013 -- [Titled - MAD The 20 Dumbest People, Events, And Things 2012] So artistic and funny!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • NFSD - Turkish CultureFebruary 27, 2013 - 8:29 pm

    Kolbastı is a popular Turkish dance. It was originally created in the 1930s in the seaport of Trabzon on the Black Sea coast of north-eastern Turkey. Loosely translated, 'kolbastı' means 'caught red-handed by the police.'............. According to legend, the name comes from nightly police patrols of the city to round up drunks, who made up a song with the lyrics: 'They came, they caught us, they beat us' (in Turkish: 'Geldiler, bastılar, vurdular')...........In the past few years this dance has grown very popular and is spreading in popularity outside the region. These days this dance is mostly used for weddings or by youngsters who like to show off and attract girls.............. Kolbastı never disappeared from Trabzon. It's always been part of local culture. What's new, though, is that people from outside the region have taken to the dance.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Why Can't We All Just Get Along?February 27, 2013 - 8:39 pm

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3ngqbVyE0I

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Blue Star Folk Dance 3February 27, 2013 - 8:45 pm

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xpv2pGO3TLM

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • StR.....JBITOI....and like to "ramble"March 02, 2013 - 9:07 am

    JBITOI = Just because I thought of It...You know the part I liked best about Bloom County?....It was FUNDAMENTALLY ORAL BILL THE CAT....now that's funny!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • 1984) The Time - Jungle LoveMarch 02, 2013 - 4:29 pm

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uUybqRzX2sk

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Recent Articles

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • .

    Solano News

    Solano College trustees move back ‘home’

    By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Needs of small dog give Solano man life’s mission

    By Ian Thompson | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

     
    Christmas comes early for prenatal program participants

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2 | Gallery

    Police chief: Suisun crime up 3 percent in 2014

    By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Council OKs $65,730 pact to advocate for Travis base

    By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

     
    Fairfield pays $42,500 to settle soil suit

    By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

    Jury convicts teen for role in 2012 DeBartolo’s heist

    By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Cellphone theft in Fairfield prompts police search

    By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

    Police arrest Vacaville man after alleged attack on business owner

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
     
    Suisun City police log: Dec. 16, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

    Suisun City police log: Dec. 15, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

     
    Fairfield police log: Dec. 16, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

    Fairfield police log: Dec. 15, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

     
    .

    US / World

    Like Iran, secret diplomacy leads to US-Cuba thaw

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    Pope played crucial role in US-Cuba rapprochement

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

    US travel industry carefully eyeing Cuba tourism

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    US-Cuba thaw could benefit farmers, energy and travel firms

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

    Cubans cheer historic renewal of US relations

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    Freed American endured years of declining health

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

    US, Cuba patch torn relations in historic accord

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    Fears fanned by hackers bring down Sony film

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    Bay Bridge light sculpture to keep on shining

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

    Study: Huge wildfire supports need for controlled burns

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    A fresh setback for efforts to cure HIV infection

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    14 charged in deadly 2012 meningitis outbreak

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Study: Alcatraz inmates could have survived escape

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    Nigerian court sentences 54 soldiers to death

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

     
    Colombian rebels announce unilateral cease-fire

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

    Russians flock to stores to pre-empt price rises

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

     
    Pakistan buries victims of school massacre

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

    .

    Opinion

    Editorial Cartoons: Dec. 18, 2014

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

     
    Crime Witness Protocol 101

    By Kelvin Wade | From Page: A7

     
    Asia needs to prepare for a possible China crash

    By William Pesek | From Page: A7

    Tortured roots of enhanced interrogations

    By Walter Pincus | From Page: A7

     
    .

    Living

    Today in History: Dec. 18, 2014

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Community Calendar: Dec. 18, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

    Horoscopes: Dec. 18, 2014

    By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

     
    My siblings don’t want to replace abusive mother’s pacemaker

    By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

    .

    Entertainment

    25 movies chosen for the National Film Registry

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

     
    Saving Private Ryan’ among films being preserved

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

    TVGrid

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

     
    .

    Sports

    Falcons cruise by crushers in girls basketball

    By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    49ers release McDonald amid further legal trouble

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

    Carr faces another tough test in rookie season

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    For MLB, changes in Cuba will take time to sort out

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

    Chattanooga women stun No. 7 Stanford 54-46

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

     
    Track coach Drummond gets 8-year doping suspension

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Warriors’ Bogut out with knee injury vs. Thunder

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    AP source: Romo close to $15M, 2-year deal with Giants

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Baseball monitoring White House Cuba decision

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    APNewsBreak: Judge rejects NCAA concussions deal

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Painkillers lawsuit against NFL dismissed; may be appealed

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Garcia resigns as FIFA prosecutor

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    This date in sports history for Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

     
    .

    Business

    McDonald’s in Japan limits orders of fries

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

     
    Amid scrutiny, Uber says it will focus more on safety

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

    Health care exchange sign-ups exceeding last year

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

     
    Fed to be ‘patient’ about a rate hike; stocks soar

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

    .

    Obituaries

    Patricia “Pat” Anne Stringfield-Pierre

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    Marian L. “Chicki” Downs

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

    Ernest “Ernie” Moretti

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    Jennie Ponce Reyes

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics

    Sally Forth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Garfield

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Peanuts

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Dilbert

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Get Fuzzy

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    For Better or Worse

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    B.C.

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Rose is Rose

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Blondie

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Pickles

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Baldo

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Baby Blues

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Wizard of Id

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Beetle Bailey

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Frank and Ernest

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Zits

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Cryptoquote

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

     
    Sudoku

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

    Bridge

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

     
    Word Sleuth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

    Crossword

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9