NBC Nightly News reports asteroid to make close pass!

Wpid US astronomer Phil Plait has said we have nothing to fear from 2012 DA14 for nowOh My!

So I’m watching NBC’s Nightly News via a podcast last night when Brian Williams starts telling us about an upcoming asteroid near miss. He very briefly mentions “We’ll be hearing a lot about this in the next 11 months…”.

To be fair, the asteroid will pass pretty close. 16,800 miles at it’s closest pass and that is an estimate based on what little data astronomers have acquired since Feb. 23 when it was discovered. Some info on 2012 DA14 can be found here.

The end of the sound byte stats: “The experts all say there is nothing wrong with making sure your affairs are in order.” Wow! Talk about news sensationalism! What a load of crap. (Sorry about the stupid ad pre-roll. It’s MSNBC’s fault.)

Here is a link to the video. (Sorry couldn’t embed it, thanks WordPress.com!)

I have learned to take what the talking heads on TV say with a huge grain of salt. This because when they discuss topics I actually do know something about, they typically get the facts completely wrong or way over hyped. Case in point, Google’s new privacy policy.

I usually head over to Phil Plait’s website, the creator of Bad Astronomy, to see what a true expert has to say. It’s clear that everyone who is any one in Astronomy is saying that it will miss us next year.

Even if it did hit us, from what Wikipedia says, it would produce an event the size of Tunguska impact. If that happened over a populated city, there would be huge devastation. However, if it hit unpopulated land or water, the event might go unnoticed.

So, to offset MSNBC’s scary graph behind Brian, I’ll copy this image stolen from Phil’s website:

Impact no

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