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Mark Bailey

19 December 2015

Our Autumn speaker in Watford, Mark Bailey, is in the news – see http://phys.org/print369576018.html

As the director of the Armagh Observatory he has reported on a space rock due to pass the Earth on Christmas Eve. It is 2km across but it will be 28 times further than the distance between the Earth and Moon so will not present a problem. Some media reports seem to be suggesting it will be close enough to trigger earthquakes and volcanoes but this is just not going to happen. It will be eleven million km away. To put it into context an asteroid passed 4.2 million km away from the Earth just a week or so ago, on December 11th (without a hint of doom and disaster), and back in October another space rock passed just 486,000 km away (half a million as opposed to eleven million km) and nothing extraordinary occurred. It's a bit strange how these doom laden predictions get traction but social media may play a role, and the fact that Joe Public doesn't know much about the finer details.

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