The sky is falling!
Pretty much everybody literate and paying attention knew about the D14 asteroid that made its almost too close for comfort fly-by of our planet yesterday afternoon. Nobody expected to wake up yesterday morning to news and videos of a meteor/small asteroid exploding over northern Russia, blowing out windows, collapsing a zinc factory and injuring more than a thousand people, but that's just what we saw.
We were immediately informed that the two events were in no way connected, that the Russian meteor could not be a broken-off piece of D14 and did not herald a rash of big incoming objects. No matter how our brains interpreted the event, which naturally went right to that connection we were told wasn't there.
Then last night (~8:00 pm Pacific), what was described as a "huge fireball" of a meteor exploded over the bay area, big enough to have shown up on Doppler radar. That event was also "unconnected" to the D14 pass, and also unconnected to the Russian meteor according to whatever 'experts' were asked to comment.
What most people probably missed was that two days before the D14 pass - on Tuesday the 13th of February - two other "huge fireball" type exploding meteors were logged. One reported seen over Belgium, The Netherlands and Germany, and one over central Cuba. Which, according to news reports, were also "unconnected" to the D14 asteroid.
The next day - Valentine's Day - yet another "huge fireball" of an "unconnected" exploding meteor streaked across the sky over Japan.
It occurs to me to ask how come we knew about the asteroid that wasn't going to hit us, but not a single one of the sky-watching 'experts' in this world noticed that there were large fragments of some asteroid/comet or other were also incoming, apparently from various directions, all to hit a lot closer to home than D14 managed to get. Hell, fragments of the Russian object survived to poke holes in a lake and carve furrows in the ground. Bear in mind that the NEO project tags and follows space rocks smaller than any of these on a regular basis.
It seems to me that so many incoming space rock events occurring within hours of each other over two earth days indicates one of two things - either the D14 asteroid is just the biggest hunk of a debris field accompanying the object in its orbit, or our planet just happened to be passing through a debris field from other asteroids/comets at the very time D14 was making its close approach fly-by. And I'm wondering how come we weren't notified of a regularly scheduled meteor shower (like the Leonids or Geminids, but with much bigger rocks). Or warned that there were other rocks inbound that could wreak havoc and possibly survive to impact.
I mean, this is hardly something we can consider 'normal', since I don't recall so many big exploding space rocks raining down and/or causing havoc in such a short amount of time in all my 61 years of life [so far]. We are told there are hundreds of professional and amateur sky-watchers scattered all over the globe keeping sharp, telescopically-enhanced eyes out for incoming cosmic debris. How did they ALL miss ALL of these 'extra' rocks? Here's some links to articles and videos:
February 13, 2013:
Belgium, Netherlands and Germany w/video
February 14, 2013:
February 15, 2013:
• Meteor explosion over Chelyabinsk, Russia
• Asteroid D14 passes earth beneath communications satellite distance
• Meteor fireball over San Francisco Bay area, California. w/video
Doesn't exactly give me much confidence that we're in good hands, or that we'll necessarily get any advanced warning of imminent or future collision courses that could utterly destroy whole swaths of the planet (or at least make a big enough mess that financial catastrophe would be the least of our problems). Anybody else out there not feeling very reassured about our chances in God's skillful game of billiards lately?