A Black Hole Discovered Close to Earth – predicted in 2017

The news has been filled this week with the discovery of the closest known black hole to Earth—a cool 1,000 light-years away from our planet, hiding in plain sight. Some reports have said the two-star system called HR 6819ry orbiting this black hole can be seen with the naked eye. Astronomers believe there may be a lot more of these elusive celestial objects hiding in plain sight.

“There must be hundreds of millions of black holes out there, but we know about only very few,” lead study author Thomas Rivinius, of the European Southern Observatory (ESO), told NPR.

‘A black hole could cause an asteroid storm that destroys Earth’

Startlingly, the idea that a Black Hole could come close to our solar system was predicted in the novel ASTEROIDS – Bridge to Nowhere.

The concept of how a black hole could cause an asteroid storm that destroys Earth was provided to the author by Dr. Joe Nuth of the Goddard Space Flight Center.

This section of the novel was written in January 2017 with help and guidance from Dr. Nuth

Snippets from Chapter 14:

“A fast-moving stellar black hole could pass beyond the Kuiper belt, unseen. A black hole doesn’t give off any light. We’d never see it coming!”

“When you hear the words black hole, most people jump to the conclusion that black holes are always massive monsters chewing up planets, solar systems, and galaxies with all matter being dragged into its super-dense gravitational jaws. Surely, if a black hole passed near Earth, we’d be sucked into oblivion. Not necessarily. It depends on many factors; black holes come in all sizes and densities. The purpose of my grant is to conduct the research, to gather data, and to prove a black hole caused the increase in activity being observed. I hope to determine its size, density, and track the orbit of the black hole to determine the potential danger to our solar system and Earth.”

“…not all black holes are stationary. Some move through space. They can move at incredible speeds, up to five million miles per hour. Can you imagine the mayhem a fast-moving black hole might cause as it jets through space sucking up all matter in its path? I believe a black hole passed through the outer solar system moving in a retrograde, or a clockwise, orbit—which is the opposite direction of our solar system. The gravitational attraction of the black hole caused the typical pro-grade orbital velocities of comets, and other Kuiper belt objects, to slow causing them to lose orbit and drop into the inner solar system.”

“…the Kuiper belt lies beyond the orbit of Neptune. It includes forty thousand objects larger than sixty miles in diameter, not to mention dwarf planets and a trillion other objects. As the black hole passed beyond the Kuiper belt, it would have disrupted and slowed the orbit of the belt’s objects, causing them to drop into the inner solar system. Millions of objects could have suffered this gravitational misfortune, sending a vast cascade of comets and rocky bodies to the inner solar system.

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Are we Seeing an Increase in Asteroid Close Calls with Earth?

 

Asteroids have been in the news lately. For months, the internet was buzzing with interest and anticipation of 1998 OR2, the 2 kilometer(1.5 mile) wide asteroid that made its closest approach to Earth on April 29th at a distance of 3.9 million miles.

1998 OR2 was never on course to impact Earth, but if it did, it would be a Global Impact Event.

But while everyone was waiting to see if 1998 OR2 might go off course and slam into Earth, a small asteroid named 2020 HS7 made a much closer flyby passing just 26,550 miles above Earth. It was so close that it passed below a geostationary satellite, missing it by 750 miles. The Pan-STARRS observatory in Hawaii discovered the asteroid that is 13 to 26 feet (4 to 8 meters) in diameter just one day before it flew past us Earthlings. 2020 HS7 rates as one of 50 closest passes on record, making it somewhat more interesting than the big rock 3.9 million miles out in space.

Not to be outdone, asteroid 2020 JJ gave astronomers no advance notice. JJ was discovered as it zipped past Earth on May 4th at an elevation of just 4,350 miles (7,000km). JJ is no larger than 20 ft (6m) in size so it likely would have burnt up in the atmosphere if it’s trajectory aimed it closer to Earth. 2020
JJ comes in as the sixth closest approach ever recorded.

The top 10 close approaches have all come since 2004. This could be a result of astronomers getting better at spotting and tracking asteroids, or could it be that there are more and more asteroids making close approaches?

2020 has been a busy year already for close approaches. 2020 JJ is the 40th known asteroid to fly within 1 LD(Lunar Distance) (flying between the Earth and Moon) since the start of the year and the second this month.

2019 had 67 asteroids pass within 1 LD, but only 20 by May of last year. That means there were 47 close flybys in the last 7 months of 2019, and we’ve seen another 40 close passes in the first four months of 2020.

We’ve had 87 near misses in the past eleven months!

Is the frequency of flybys increasing?

Is this the beginning of an asteroid storm like the one described in the fictional novel ASTEROIDS – Bridge to Nowhere?

Hold on to your hats….there are sure to be more surprise close calls in 2020.

 

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