The Sky is Falling?

Comet 73P/Schwassman-Wachmann is playing out a pretty spectacular death scene across our night sky. It’s broken up into something like 44 pieces now, and NASA appears to be having some trouble keeping track of all of them.

In particular, a piece labeled 3-BD is scheduled to make its pass by the Earth next Thursday around 4:53 P.M. CDT (UTC -5). Thing is, the margin of error is plus or minus 11 hours and 11 minutes. And while the expected distance when it passes is 33.7 times the distance from the Earth to the Moon, the minimum distance is given as 0.0001 AU, which translates to a bit over 8,900 miles.

That’s close.

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