posted on May, 3 2006 @ 08:00 PM
Don't misread the charts that you posted a reference to. The minimum miss distance number is the closest that the object could possibly come to the
earth. You'll see that the nominal number is 33.7 LD or 8.4 million miles. Over the next few days, you'll see that number get refined more
precisely as they get better tracking on the fragment.
I've said it before and I'll say it again....we MIGHT get a meteor shower out of this comet. There may be a few fragments as big as a large
automobile that could come near enough to the earth from this. There is little possibility that an object that size would impact the earth. Most
likely such a fragment would explode in our upper atmosphere causing a spectacular explosion that we probably wouldn't even hear. If it happened to
occur over you, you'd be very impressed with the bright flash of the explosion and you might get a flashburn out of it...something like a sunburn.
On the very, very slim chance that an object that size survived to impact the earth, you would only be in danger if you are within a mile of it. The
debris from an impact of an object that size could fly a mile or more from the impact site.
So...NASA says that we are in NO danger from this comet and for all intents and purposes they are right. I suppose your odds of being injured from a
fragment of this comet are probably about 1 in a trillion. Since there are 6 billion people on the planet, the odds of one person being injured from
it are probably about 1 in 200. We all take more serious risks just walking out the front door each day.
The end result is to watch the skies with interest this month, especially later in the month and hope to be one of the lucky ones who gets to see a
large meteor or fireball or something like it. For that matter, there is a decent possibility this Saturday before sunrise from comet debris left
behind by Comet Halley.
Have fun with this comet, Y'all. The fragments now about 11 million miles from earth and most won't be getting much closer as they pass us. If you
have Binoculars and skies that are dark enough, then look straight up and slightly to the northeast at about midnight for fragments C & B....perhaps
someone else here will post a good sky chart showing where to look.