Posted on September 14th, 2017

Reaching Orbit – Florence and the Eclipse

Florence the Asteroid

By the time you read this, it will be too late. You’ll have already come face-to-face with one of Hollywood’s favorite doomsday scenarios, and lived to tell the tale. The danger has passed and yet the threat is ever looming. I feel your incredulity all the way through the computer screen, but enough of the suspense. On September 1st, the largest near-Earth asteroid to ever come zipping by Earth, passed at a safe distance of 4.4 million miles. You may think me a tad reactionary, I blame it on the movie Armageddon.

Florence passed by the Earth at a safe distance of 4.4 million miles on the 1st of September. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The asteroid, dubbed Florence, is the largest asteroid to come so close to Earth since we started tracking near-Earth asteroids. Other asteroids have ventured closer, but none so large. Florence is a hefty Madame at 2.7 miles in size. To give some perspective, if you took the distance between the Earth and the moon and multiplied it by 18 you’d have the approximate distance between us and Florence.

This close fly-by gives scientists an opportunity to study Florence with greater accuracy using radar observation. They can get more accurate size measurements and surface details than ever before. So rest assured, you are safe from harm as the shadow of Florence has already passed

Total Eclipse of the Sun

As you are well aware, a long swath of the United States experienced a full solar eclipse on August 21st, capturing the hearts and minds of many Americans. For those that missed this fascinating event, don’t worry, photographers were on point and captured the eclipse for all to enjoy.

This is a composite image taken from Oregon during the total eclipse on the 21st. (Credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani)

NASA has an extensive gallery of images taken from all over the world. They have the original live feed video that covered the event as the eclipse moved through the United States, as well as photos from airplanes, the International Space Station and time lapse composites. National Geographic covered the story from numerous angles, including a daring man that slacklined across a canyon in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He was half way across the canyon during the full eclipse, when the photo was shot. It’s a double exposure image, meaning that the eclipse was actually happening overhead. By doing the double exposure, the image makes it appears as though the eclipse was perfectly framed in the upper right hand corner of the photo.

Take a gander, you can relive the moment or enjoy the show for the first time.

Katie Nelson
Geospatial Ninja
(303) 718-7163
katie@apollomapping.com

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