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Solar eclipse, killer asteroid set to grace the skies on Dec 26

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Nigeria and indeed the rest of the world are set to ‘behold’ two astronomical events on Boxing Day, December 26, 2019: an annular solar eclipse and a monster asteroid called 310442 (2000 CH59), which will make a close encounter with Earth. Astronomers advise that people dust off their binoculars and keep their eyes on the skies, as the final full moon of 2019 is fast approaching with solar eclipse in its wake.

According to a report published in timeanddate.com, a solar eclipse is just like a regular new moon where the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun. However, a solar eclipse is more powerful because the Moon darkens the Sun. Solar Eclipse December 2019 is an annular solar eclipse so not all of the Sun will be darkened. In this type of partial eclipse, the apparent diameter of the Moon is smaller than the Sun’s, leaving a ring of light around the eclipsed Sun.

The new moon on December 26, 2019, is a partial solar eclipse so its effects last for six months instead of the normal four weeks. The December 26 solar eclipse marks the end of the eclipse cycle that began with the solar eclipse on July 2, 2019. It also marks the beginning of a new cycle lasting about six months until the lunar eclipse on June 5, 2020. The Solar Eclipse December 2019 astrology will compliment themes found in the lunar eclipse on January 10, 2020.

The total annular eclipse lasts for three minutes and 40 seconds, and will be visible in the Middle East, Southern India, South East Asia some parts of Australia.

Meanwhile, according to Space.com, the monster asteroid is believed to be up to 600 metres wide and big enough to destroy a city. It will zoom past the earth at a distance of 3.6million miles.An asteroid is made of metal or rock, while a comet is made of ice and gas. They become meteors when they hit our planet and the objects, which fall to earth without burning up, are called meteorites.

While this sounds like a huge distance it is minute in cosmic terms. The asteroid is travelling at a staggering speed of 27,500mph (44,172 km/h).It follows last month’s news of another gigantic space rock due to pass the earth on December 20, just six days before 310442 (2000 CH59). The asteroid, called 216258 2006 WH1, is of a similar size. It will make its 3.7million mile close approach on December 20.

The 540metre asteroid is the same size as the World Trade Centre and would cause a significant amount of damage if a collision took place.
At its top speed, 216258 2006 WH1 is travelling at 26,843mph (43,200km/h).There are a number of different objects in space that have the potential of hitting the planet.

Meanwhile, a new study revealed catastrophe-inducing asteroids hit the Earth much more frequently than previously believed.Scientists analysed Wolfe Creek Crater, Australia, which is believed to be the second-largest impact crater on earth. The experts found the cosmic collision took place more recently than expected.

Researchers claimed the crater was formed when a 15 metre-wide meteorite weighing 14,000 tonnes (14million kg) smashed into the ground at 17km/s (38,000mph).

It exploded with the force of 0.54 megatons of TNT, roughly equivalent to 36 nuclear bombs.University of Wollongong’s Professor Tim Barrows led the international research team, which found the object likely hit Earth 120,000 years ago rather than 300,000.Smaller objects strike prompted Professor Barrows to increase the estimate of how often Earth the findings. He claimed a similar impact could occur roughly once every two centuries.

The professor said: “Although the rate is only one large meteor hitting Australia every 17,000 years, it isn’t that simple.“The craters are only found in the arid parts of Australia. Elsewhere, craters are destroyed by geomorphic activity like river migration or slope processes in the mountains.”He added: “Since Australia has an excellent preservation record with dated craters within the arid zone, we can extrapolate a rate for the whole Earth.

“Taking into account that arid Australia is only about one percent of the surface, the rate increases to one every 180 years or so.”
Also, space scientists have urged ministers to fund a mission to find out if it is possible to nudge an asteroid off its trajectory, and avoid a catastrophic collision with Earth.

The European Space Agency (ESA) has joined up with the United States National Aeronautic Space Agency (NASA) for the world’s first planetary defence operation, which aims to study the effect of crashing into small rock dubbed ‘Didymoon’, which is orbiting an asteroid called Didymos A. The joint Aida mission, which stands for Asteroid Impact & Deflection Assessment, is made up of NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (Dart) spacecraft, which will smash into the little satellite, and the ESA’s Hera mission which will then study the impact afterwards.


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