JCCC EwtS 091024 Cloudy


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Asteroids, Black Swans, Global Catastrophic Risks, and How to Save Civilization (cloudy night version) -- JCCC Science Center "Evening with the Stars" lecture, given Saturday 24 October 2009. Created by Jay Manifold, board member of the Astronomical Society of Kansas City.

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  • Fine print is the Pluto decision … about which the less said the better; if this talk were being delivered in the classroom out at Powell Observatory, though, I would rant about it for a couple of minutes.
  • Vast majority of asteroids are in main belt (white), even greater proportion than this diagram indicates … Greeks/Trojans occupy the L4 and L5 points of Jupiter’s orbit Hildas are in 3:2 orbital resonance with Jupiter Distances in astronomical units: 1 AU = Earth’s distance from Sun, 93M mi / 150M km, 500 light-seconds (just over 8 minutes), 400 times lunar distance typical main-belt asteroid is 2½ AU from Sun (~1300 light-seconds, ~21 light-minutes) and takes 4 years to orbit Sun This diagram does not show the present positions of the planets, but the next one does.
  • Pulled from JPL’s “small body database”; explanation: orbital diagram for largest asteroid (now “dwarf planet”) Ceres, in main belt vantage point is looking down from a billion km or so above Sun's north pole turquoise portion of orbit of Ceres is above (north) of plane of Earth's orbit dark blue is below (south) of plane of Earth's orbit similar for light vs dark portions of planetary orbits sunrise/sunset line is tangential to Earth’s orbit, from which you may infer that Jupiter is in the evening sky and Mars is in the morning sky planets (and nearly all other Solar System bodies) go counterclockwise in their orbits as seen from this vantage point horizontal bright yellow line points toward Sun's position as seen from Earth at vernal equinox so point where Earth crosses that line is autumnal equinox, which was 22 Sep this year Ceres is near “superior conjunction,” so it’s not visible from Earth right now notice Earth & Sun distances in AU
  • named for 1221 Amor, discovered 12 March 1932 by Eugène Joseph Delporte cross orbit of Mars, approach Earth; ~2,700 known well over 200 of which have been discovered this year! asteroids may have a serial number, sometimes also have a name, and always have a designation indicating when they were discovered other named examples of Amor asteroids include 39557 Gielgud, discovered as 1992 JG 16912 Rhiannon, just so you can get the song stuck in your head 8013 Gordonmoore, all one word, for the Moore's Law guy 3352 McAuliffe, for Christa McAuliffe 3552 Don Quixote Sancho! My armor!
  • named for 1862 Apollo, discovered 24 April 1932 by Karl Reinmuth most of orbit between Earth and Mars, but can cross Earth's orbit; ~3,200 known ~300 of which have been discovered this year look for “line of apsides” – connects points where asteroid orbit crosses plane of Earth’s orbit (where turquoise changes to dark blue and back); if it’s near Earth’s orbit, very close approaches are possible other named examples of Apollo asteroids include 25143 Itokawa, which you'll be seeing a picture of later in the presentation 3360 Syrinx, which I suppose should really be #2112, and now you've got that song stuck in your head
  • named for 2062 Aten, discovered 7 January 1976 by Eleanor F. Helin usually closer to the Sun than Earth, and cross Earth's orbit; over 500 known at least 30 of which have been discovered this year currently most famous Aten asteroid is 99942 Apophis, discovered as 2004 MN4, briefly a "Torino 4" (2,200 MT impact Fri 4/13/2029) ASKC observations helped refine its orbit
  • Depends on the size. Very few large ones, moderate number of medium-sized ones, lots and lots of little ones. I corrected the table at the URL – they forgot to multiply the volume of an individual asteroid of a given size by the number of asteroids of that size to get the total volume of all asteroids in a size range. What is the kind of distribution shown in this table called? (Again, a few big ones, more medium-sized ones, lots of little ones.)
  • 200x population increase for each order-of-magnitude reduction in diameter. (Kinetic demonstration of beach ball vs 200 ping-pong balls.) Impact-effect simulator values assumed solid body but not nickel-iron, incoming velocity only 17 km/sec. Note that a house-sized impactor would be a near-equivalent to the Nagasaki bomb (150,000 killed or injured). It’s the ping-pong balls that are important. Of course, in most fields, the larger events are more important, but as I will explain, there’s a lot more to this situation than astronomy. For an intense discussion of the importance of power-law distributions, see “The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable,” by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. If I’d wanted to work a lot harder on this, I could have made it a serious interdisiplinary presentation and worked in all kinds of catastrophes, including economic ones. Quite a bit of what you’ve been hearing about in the news in the past year or so has been due to people assuming that events have Gaussian “normal” distributions when they really have power-law distributions.
  • Chicxulub: dinosaur-killer, associated with K/T (Cretaceous/Tertiary) extinction event; possible 10-km-dia fragment of asteroid 298 Baptistina, impact energy 100 million MT, crater 180 km dia in northern Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico Barringer: “Meteor Crater,” Arizona; impactor nickel-iron meteorite 50 m dia, impact energy 2.5 MT, crater 1200 m dia/170 m deep
  • Tunguska: Artists’ conceptions on left and at upper right; photograph taken ~20 years after impact at lower right. Unknown impactor (vaporized, possibly cometary or meteoritic), impact energy 10-15 MT, no positively identified crater, ~1000 km NNW of Lake Baikal in Siberia 100 th anniversary was June 30 th of last year. Notice it was an airburst. We’ll talk more about airbursts shortly.
  • I’m calling out these three in particular because I’ve been to all of them. Decaturville and Sierra Madera are easy to drive through, and Odessa has a visitors’ center – you can walk around inside the crater itself. Decaturville is on MO hwy 5 between Camdenton and Lebanon, 3 hours SE of KC. Odessa Crater is just a couple of minutes off I-20 out in west Texas. Not especially spectacular, since it’s only about 6 feet deep thanks to 50,000 years of sand and dust being blown into it, but worth visiting nonetheless. Sierra Madera is on US-385 between Ft Stockton and Marathon, TX, coincidentally only about 90 mi from Odessa Crater. The central peak of Sierra Madera is one of the few places in the US where it is possible to collect “shatter cones” (with the permission of the landowner!).
  • This one is the closest one to KC, and if you’ve ever driven along Missouri highway 13 between Osceola and Collins, you’ve gone right through it. Bartle Scout camp is just a couple of miles outside of it to the northeast. Recently discovered by Dr Kevin Evans, MSU, so I am crediting him specifically rather than just webpages. 38 th parallel series not established but if true would resemble Shoemaker-Levy/9 cometary impacts on Jupiter in summer 1994; impactor broke into many pieces that hit at same latitude as planet rotated underneath.
  • Global cooling is much worse than global warming. Extinct megafauna incl N American analogue of cheetah, which is why pronghorn antelope can run 60 mph.
  • Tasman Sea impact: imagine it four or five centuries later; Hobart population 200,000, Sydney population > 4,000,000
  • Chicago: not Mrs O’Leary’s cow … Great Lakes fires hypothesis is more speculative than the others. But all these fires started within an hour of one another. Peshtigo fire – probably the biggest disaster you’ve never heard of, mainly because it happened at the same time as the Chicago fire. It burned up several counties on both sides of Green Bay, WI/MI.
  • Kusaie, a/k/a Kusrae, Micronesian island (W Pacific) Notice that it was detected by spy satellites. Spysats in the ’60s routinely observed these events, but during the Cold War they were not announced because any such announcement would have revealed our capabilities. I have since been told, by a former Air Force officer who worked in that program – former Astronomical League president Bob Gent – that the spy satellites then were similar in capability to the Hubble Space Telescope. I infer that if you want to get an idea of the current capabilities of the National Reconnaisance Office, you should read up on the next generation of space telescopes that are on the drawing board. Also recall the power-law relationship we talked about earlier. If something this size happens once a decade, something one-tenth this size happens 200 times as often . I’ll return to that point in just a couple of minutes. 25143 Itokawa stats … http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/312/5778/1330 “The asteroid's orthogonal axes are 535, 294, and 209 meters, the mass is 3.51 x 10 10 kilograms, and the estimated bulk density is 1.9 ± 0.13 grams per cubic centimeter.”
  • Meteor traveled southwest to northeast. Pieces came through roofs of houses into bedrooms, etc. “this is the most densely populated region to be hit by a meteorite shower in modern times”
  • … a record which stood for all of 21 months. Jakarta is the 6 th largest metro area in the world (24 million people); its Population density is nearly 130 persons per hectare (well over 10x KC’s density); likely death toll from a surface strike or low-altitude airburst would have been ~2,000. Imagine if we were at an orange or red threat level and something like this happened. Fortunately in this case it happened at 7:30 AM local time on a Sunday morning, and at a high enough altitude, and just south of the city, such that no one was hurt or killed.
  • A hit, a very palpable hit. “… near the border with Bolivia, on September 16, 2007. “Scientists have now confirmed that the cause was a meteorite crash and that the mysterious illnesses that followed the impact were the result of arsenic fumes released by the blast.” Luisa Macedo, a researcher for Peru's Mining, Metallurgy, and Geology Institute (INGEMMET) stony meteorite; released arsenic from soil on impact, local residents were briefly ill
  • Now it’s time for This Month’s Near-Miss , where I explain the latest cosmic bullet we all just dodged …
  • But it missed us this time, so here’s where it is now. Notice the line of apsides. Our next chance with this particular asteroid is on the morning of Wednesday, October 14, 2043, and then again in the late afternoon of Tuesday, March 10, 2048.
  • K-T impact is the obvious one, but there may have been others; also, Chicxulub was antipodal to the Deccan Traps, so it may have set off enormous eruptions that actually finished the dinosaurs off. “ About 15,000 years ago, the American West looked much as Africa's Serengeti Plains do today, with herds of elephants and horses pursued by lions and cheetahs, and joined by members of such exotic species as camels and giant sloths.” – Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs, & Steel If you have native North American ancestry, you’re descended from survivors of the Clovis Comet. And the Clovis Comet is thought to have touched off the Younger Dryas cooling episode … John P Poynter via FB, 1:51 PM 9/30/2009 Professor Sharon Moalem in his book "Survival of the Sickest" hypothesizes that diabetes became ingrained in the European Genome because of the Younger-Dryas glaciation event about 12,000 years ago, because diabetes is in effect a cold-weather adaptation. It increases body mass, and concentrates sugar in the blood (a natural antifreeze) to be specific. His view is that an inheritable trait would never reach the distribution level necessary to survive being diluted out by competing genes if it didn't confer some survival benefit at some point, another example being sickle cell anemia, which results in a population-level partial immunity to malaria.
  • Impacts are not just yes/no events. It matters where they happen, when they happen, and how big they are. And we already know that NEO sizes follow a power law. This puts these events in “black swan” territory.
  • “Finally … any increase in the [network’s] connectivity has an ambiguous effect on the system’s stability. On the one hand, cascades will become less frequent; but on the other hand, when they do occur, they will be larger. Hence the system becomes at once more robust, yet also more fragile; a feature thought to be endemic of complex, engineered systems.” (Watts, page 7) The CAIB report explained that what destroyed the orbiter went much deeper than a piece of foam improperly glued to the left “bipod ramp” of the external tank – the causes extended back into the culture of NASA, and specific design decisions made 30 years earlier. I would add that in turn that culture and those decisions could be said to be caused by Congress and ultimately derive from American societal priorities, which we’re still struggling with – see the Augustine Commission report, which came out just 2 days ago.
  • “It looks like some sort of nuclear-war animation toward the end.”
  • Have a nice day!
  • This book classifies GCRs into one of three categories, but they can overlap, and the NEO impact/geopolitical hazard is a mixture of all three.
  • Couple of fancy phrases here: “observation selection effects” and “anthropic overconfidence bias.” In plain language, they mean that just because something hasn’t wiped us out yet doesn’t mean that it can’t happen. The a priori distribution of Earth-crossers is more important than the a posteriori distribution of remnants of past impacts. So the geologists finding the craters are important, but the astronomers finding the asteroids are really important.
  • The a posteriori distribution tells us how human history was affected, but the a priori distribution tells us how human history might be ended .
  • Probably the most important slide in the deck.
  • So, anyway, we start by finding them. It would be nice to have a few more detectors in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • Then we evaluate the risk and rank it on this scale. 0 = it misses us completely; 10 = end of civilization 2004 MN4, later known as 99942 Apophis, was briefly Torino 4 (2,200 MT impact 4/13/2029 [Friday the 13 th !]) ASKC observations helped refine its orbit
  • … and this is where those observations were made. Classroom on left; 30” Ruisinger telescope in center; “Louisburg Community Telescope” (12½” & 16” telescopes) on right; AIC behind LCT. Asteroid work is done with both the AIC and the Ruisinger.
  • This slide is just for bragging on our largest telescope, which is the biggest one open to the public in a 5-state area. Named for Gary Ruisinger, a machinist from Blue Springs who worked on it every weekend for a year and a half.
  • The “AIC” (asteroid imaging camera) uses a 12” Cassegrainian reflector with 1,800 times the light-gathering power of the human eye. In combination with the CCD imager, it can capture objects down to at least 17 th magnitude, which is over 25,000 times fainter than the faintest star visible with the unaided eye.
  • New enclosure, a “Sky Shed Pod.” That’s Powell Observatory Director Darrick Gray on the left. His day job is teaching science to high-schoolers in Ray-Pec.
  • H is absolute magnitude, defined as brightness when object is 1 AU from both Sun and observer (somewhat theoretical, since it would put you standing on the Sun). Date is set at 4/22/05 because that’s when the pictures on the following slides were taken. MOID = Minimum Orbit Intersection Distance, in this case, just under 3 times the distance to the Moon
  • MPC = Minor Planet Center
  • AJ is a student intern at Powell – he’s an Eagle Scout, still in high school, and has given numerous presentations out there and helped run the 30”. I wish we had a bunch more just like him!
  • a/k/a 2000 VG38 When you discover an asteroid, you get to name it. It’s just like that buy-a-star thing, except that this is real .
  • main-belt asteroid averaging 2.8 AU (420 million km) from Sun ~7.5 km dia; as of today, shining at magnitude +17 T^4 = solar flux / (5.67 x 10^-8 W m^-2 K^-4) Orbital Elements at Epoch 2454800.5 (2008-Nov-30.0) TDB Reference: MPO114553 (heliocentric ecliptic J2000) Element Value Uncertainty (1-sigma) Units e 0.1475479 n/a a 2.8033713 n/a AU q 2.3897398 n/a AU i 8.31460 n/a deg node 246.11109 n/a deg peri 233.34583 n/a deg M 208.25284 n/a deg tp 2455523.1657115 (2010-Nov-22.66571151) n/a JED period 1714.4285017 4.69 n/a n/a d yr n 0.20998251 n/a deg/d Q 3.2170028 n/a AU
  • “In total, 586 astrometric and almost as many photometric observations were performed by 27 amateur and professional observers in less than 19 hours and reported to the Minor Planet Center, which issued 25 Minor Planet Electronic Circulars with new orbit solutions in eleven hours as observations poured in.”
  • “Webcam recording from El Gouna beach showing the airburst flash from 2008 TC3 entering the Earth's atmosphere, reflected off the beach structure. The camera is pointing northeast and the airburst occurred 725 kilometres South at 20.98°N/31.15°E, in Sudan.” Lit up the landscape at the distance from KC to Chicago.
  • Vapor trail photographed at dawn. Students from the University of Khartoum, among other places, were organized to look for meteorites.
  • Meteorites are disproportionately found in deserts (or in Antarctica or Greenland), because they are usually dark rock.
  • Just to underscore that point about geopolitical risk … we got a major break here, not only because the impact did not occur at lower altitude in an unduly sensitive area, but because it was close enough to various sensitive areas to raise awareness of the problem.
  • See http://kencroswell.com/ for what you're missing right now.
  • JCCC EwtS 091024 Cloudy

    1. 1. Asteroids, Black Swans, Global Catastrophic Risks, and How to Save Civilization (cloudy night version) JCCC Science Center Evening with the Stars Saturday 24 October 2009
    2. 2. Agenda <ul><li>Asteroids </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Basics – What/Where/How Many </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Impacts You’ve Heard Of </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Craters You Can Visit </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Impacts You Haven’t Heard Of </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Black Swans </li></ul><ul><li>Global Catastrophic Risks </li></ul>
    3. 3. Agenda (cont’d) <ul><li>How to Save Civilization </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Think Globally </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Act Locally </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2008 TC3 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Astronomical Society of Kansas City </li></ul>
    4. 4. What Are Asteroids? <ul><li>Small solar system bodies that aren’t comets or meteoroids. </li></ul><ul><li>The formerly largest asteroid, 1 Ceres, is now classified as a dwarf planet . </li></ul><ul><li>Discovered 1 January 1801 by Giuseppi Piazzi in Palermo, Sicily </li></ul><ul><li>IAU members gathered at the 2006 General Assembly agreed that a “planet” is defined as a celestial body that </li></ul><ul><li>(a) is in orbit around the Sun </li></ul><ul><li>(b) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape, and </li></ul><ul><li>(c) has cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit. </li></ul><ul><li>(source: http://www.iau.org/public_press/news/release/iau0603/) </li></ul>
    5. 5. Where Are Asteroids? (source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f3/InnerSolarSystem-en.png)
    6. 6. But Where Are They Right Now? (source: http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/sbdb.cgi?sstr=1&orb=1#top)
    7. 7. Special Classifications for NEOs – Amors (source: http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/sbdb.cgi?sstr=1221&orb=1#top ; see also http ://www.cfa.harvard.edu/iau/lists/Amors.html )
    8. 8. Special Classifications for NEOs – Apollos (source: http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/sbdb.cgi?sstr=1862&orb=1#top ; see also http://www.cfa.harvard.edu/iau/lists/Apollos.html )
    9. 9. Special Classifications for NEOs – Atens (source: http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/sbdb.cgi?sstr=2062&orb=1#top ; see also http://www.cfa.harvard.edu/iau/lists/Atens.html )
    10. 10. How Many Asteroids Are There? (source: http://www.wwu.edu/depts/skywise/a101_asteroids.html, corrected) 5.2 × 10 5 1,000,000 1 7.9 × 10 5 96,000 2.5 1.2 × 10 6 18,000 5 1.7 × 10 6 3,200 10 4.1 × 10 6 500 25 8.5 × 10 6 130 50 2.6 × 10 7 50 100 5.5 × 10 7 13 200 3.4 × 10 7 1 400 4.5 × 10 8 1 950 tot vol km 3 # dia (km)
    11. 11. Power-Law Distribution (source: http://www.sdss.org/news/releases/20010605.edr.img9.html) n ~ D -2.3 * http://www.lpl.arizona.edu/impacteffects/ 10 tonnes TNT 8,000,000 1 m 23 kT 40,000 10 m 8.3 MT 200 100 m 5.4 × 10 4 MT 1 1 km impact energy* # diameter
    12. 12. Historical Impacts You’ve Heard Of Barringer 49 ± 3 ka Chicxulub 64.98 ± 0.05 Ma
    13. 13. Historical Impacts You’ve Heard Of Tunguska 6/30/1908
    14. 14. Craters You Can Visit (source: www.unb.ca/passc/ImpactDatabase/NorthAmerica.html) <ul><li>Decaturville, MO </li></ul><ul><li>9 miles south of Camdenton on MO-5 </li></ul><ul><li>6 km dia </li></ul><ul><li>< 300 Ma </li></ul><ul><li>Odessa, TX </li></ul><ul><li>I-20 at exit 108 </li></ul><ul><li>160 m dia </li></ul><ul><li>< 50 k a </li></ul><ul><li>Sierra Madera, TX </li></ul><ul><li>18 miles south of Ft Stockton on US-385 </li></ul><ul><li>13 km dia </li></ul><ul><li>< 100 Ma </li></ul>
    15. 15. Weaubleau–Osceola Structure (source: Dr Kevin Evans, Missouri State University [former SMSU]) <ul><li>N 37°59’, W 93°38’ (possibly one of series of impacts along 38 th parallel, including Decaturville) </li></ul><ul><li>19 km dia (4 th largest in US and one of 50 largest on Earth) </li></ul><ul><li>340 Ma (middle Mississippian Period) </li></ul><ul><li>impactor diameter ~370 m </li></ul><ul><li>ASKC SME is David Neuenschwander </li></ul>
    16. 16. Historical Impacts You Haven’t Heard Of <ul><li>“ Clovis Comet” 12.9 ka (http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/abstract/0706977104v1) </li></ul><ul><li>Tunguska-like event, but much larger, over northeastern North America </li></ul><ul><li>partially destabilized Laurentide Ice Sheet, triggering Younger Dryas cooling; shockwave, thermal pulse, “extensive biomass burning” </li></ul><ul><li>at least 17 species of megafauna went extinct </li></ul><ul><li>Clovis culture disappeared; possible death of 2/3 of North American population </li></ul>
    17. 17. <ul><li>Tasman Sea, ~1500 AD (http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20040306/bob8.asp) </li></ul><ul><li>tsunami left deposits 130 m above sea level in eastern Australia, 150-220 m above sea level on Stewart Island/Rakiura, NZ </li></ul><ul><li>20 km dia, 150 m deep seafloor crater SW of NZ </li></ul><ul><li>1-km-wide asteroid impact </li></ul>Historical Impacts You Haven’t Heard Of
    18. 18. <ul><li>Great Chicago Fire, 10/8/1871 (http://pdf.aiaa.org/preview/CDReadyMPDC04_865/PV2004_1419.pdf) </li></ul><ul><li>fragments of Comet 3D/Biela </li></ul><ul><li>also Peshtigo Fire (4,850 km², 1,200-2,500 deaths) and Port Huron Fire (similar size, 50 deaths) </li></ul>Historical Impacts You Haven’t Heard Of http://www.cedu.niu.edu/~henning/ChicagoFireWebQuest/fire2.jpg http://www.angelfire.com/mi2/gfmeteor/images/peshtigo1871.jpg http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d5/CometBiela.jpg
    19. 19. Historical Impacts You Haven’t Heard Of <ul><li>Kusaie (Kosrae) , 1 Feb 1994 (“Satellites Detect Record Meteor,” Sky & Telescope , June 1994) </li></ul><ul><li>rocky body 15 meters in diameter traveling 15 km sec -1 </li></ul><ul><li>110-kT explosion at 20 km altitude; visual magnitude -25 </li></ul><ul><li>pinpointed by 6 early-warning satellites to 164.1°E, 2.7°N; also seen by two fishermen </li></ul><ul><li>events this size occur about once per decade somewhere on Earth </li></ul><ul><li>Most NEOs produce airbursts </li></ul><ul><li>volatile cometary material evaporates </li></ul><ul><li>asteroids/meteoroids are often “rubble piles” </li></ul><ul><li>Apollo asteroid 25143 Itokawa </li></ul><ul><li>(from Hayabusa probe) </li></ul>(http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/australia/oceania_ref_2007.pdf)
    20. 20. <ul><li>Chicago, 26 March 2003 (source: http://www-news.uchicago.edu/releases/04/040414.parkforest.shtml) </li></ul><ul><li>estimated mass 900 kg; velocity 18 km sec -1 </li></ul><ul><li>fireball visible from Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Missouri </li></ul><ul><li>hundreds of fragments recovered from Chicago’s south suburbs </li></ul><ul><li>K E = ½ mv 2 indicates 36,000 kg TNT equivalent </li></ul>Historical Impacts You Haven’t Heard Of
    21. 21. Historical Impacts You Haven’t Heard Of BBC headline,19 December 2004: “ Jakarta shaken by ‘meteor blast’” <ul><li>occurred during a terror alert and heightened security (“Operation Candle”) </li></ul><ul><li>audible 60 km away (source: Townsville [Australia] Bulletin/Sun , URL not available) </li></ul>(source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4108697.stm)
    22. 22. Historical Impacts You Haven’t Heard Of http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/bigphotos/52624256.html Photograph by Miguel Carrasco/La Razon/Reuters <ul><li>Carangas, Peru, 16 September 2007 (source: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/09/070921-meteor-peru.html) </li></ul><ul><li>crater 13 meters across, 3 meters deep </li></ul><ul><li>ejecta thrown 250 meters </li></ul>
    23. 23. This Month’s Near-Miss (source: http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/ca/) <ul><li>asteroid 2009 TU </li></ul><ul><li>flew by at 0.002 AU = 0.8 LD shortly before 7 PM CDT on Thu 8 Oct </li></ul><ul><li>H = +27.3; M v = +13.8; D ≈ 9.1–20m; v = 15.25 km sec -1 </li></ul><ul><li>airburst energy would have been ~300 kT (source: http://www.lpl.arizona.edu/impacteffects/) </li></ul>
    24. 24. This Month’s Near-Miss (source: http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/sbdb.cgi?sstr=2009%20TU;orb=1)
    25. 25. Effects on Human History <ul><li>mass extinctions </li></ul><ul><li>North American charismatic megafauna </li></ul><ul><li>North American native culture/population </li></ul><ul><li>Younger Dryas origin of diabetes? </li></ul>
    26. 26. The Black Swan <ul><li>definition </li></ul><ul><li>the Fourth Quadrant </li></ul><ul><li>complexity of failure </li></ul><ul><li>geopolitical risk </li></ul>
    27. 27. The Black Swan <ul><li>Definition: “… a large-impact, hard-to-predict, and rare event beyond the realm of normal expectations.” </li></ul><ul><li>(source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_swan_theory) </li></ul><ul><li>Short version: </li></ul><ul><li>low-probability, high-effect events </li></ul>
    28. 28. The Fourth Quadrant (adapted from http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/taleb08/taleb08_index.html) thick-tailed (power law) probability structure thin-tailed (Gaussian) probability structure application domain Quadrant 2 quite robust to Black Swans Quadrant 1 extremely robust to Black Swans simple (yes/no) payoffs Quadrant 4 LIMITS OF STATISTICS ; extreme fragility to Black Swans Quadrant 3 quite robust to Black Swans complex (magnitude of effect) payoffs
    29. 29. The Complexity of Failure http://www.santafe.edu/research/publications/workingpapers/00-12-062.pdf http://www.nasa.gov/columbia/home/CAIB_Vol1.html
    30. 30. The Fourth Quadrant in Action (source: http://pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/86785/) http://tipstrategies.com/archive/geography-of-jobs/
    31. 31. Geopolitical Risk , or The Meaning of It All (with posthumous apologies to Richard Feynman) <ul><li>Asteroid size distribution and composition combine with terrestrial realities such that: </li></ul><ul><li>rare larger impacts mean frequent smaller impacts </li></ul><ul><li>smaller impact ranges are in the tens of kilotons and are usually airbursts, but … </li></ul><ul><li>so are nuclear weapons, and the explosions look exactly the same, in a world of … </li></ul><ul><li>“ hostile capabilit[ies] among various actors with whom we have conflicting interests” (source: http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/archives/2008/04/iran_war_drums_beating/) </li></ul>
    32. 32. Global Catastrophic Risk: Taxonomy/Organization Nature Unintended Consequences Hostile Acts
    33. 33. Global Catastrophic Risk: Observation Selection Effects (modified from Global Catastrophic Risks , Table 6.1, page 125) Beware of anthropic overconfidence bias! Distribution of near-Earth objects and Earth-crossing comets A Priori Distribution Distribution of impact craters, shock glasses, and so on Empirical ( A Posteriori ) Distribution
    34. 34. Global Catastrophic Risk: Observation Selection Effects Human history affected : North American survivors, diabetics, etc Distribution of impact craters, shock glasses, and so on Empirical ( A Posteriori ) Distribution Human history ended ? Distribution of near-Earth objects and Earth-crossing comets A Priori Distribution
    35. 35. How to Save Civilization <ul><li>Think Globally </li></ul><ul><ul><li>detection </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>prediction </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>mitigation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Act Locally </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Powell Observatory </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>asteroid imaging </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>orbit refinement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>asteroid discovery </li></ul></ul>
    36. 36. How to Save Civilization: what not to do “ We should act incrementally as prudent risk minimizers and pursue any effective no-regrets options. We do not have to wait for the formulation and acceptance of grand strategies, for the emergence of global consensual understanding, or for the universal adoption of more rational approaches.”
    37. 37. Detection <ul><li>Automated searches - telescopes in 0.5-1 m size range w/CCD cameras: </li></ul><ul><li>Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) telescope at Socorro, NM </li></ul><ul><li>Near-Earth Asteroid Tracking (NEAT) telescope at Haleakala, Maui, Hawaii </li></ul><ul><li>Spacewatch telescope at Kitt Peak </li></ul><ul><li>Lowell Observatory Near-Earth Object Search (LONEOS) telescope at Flagstaff </li></ul><ul><li>Catalina Sky Survey 3 telescopes (2 in Tucson, 1 in Australia) </li></ul><ul><li>Japanese Spaceguard Association (JSGA) telescope in Japan </li></ul><ul><li>Asiago DLR Asteroid Survey (ADAS) telescope in Italy </li></ul>
    38. 38. Mitigation – Torino Scale (source: http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/torino_scale.html) 8 – 10 red zone certain collisions 5 – 7 orange zone threatening 2 – 4 yellow zone meriting attention by astronomers 1 green zone normal 0 white zone no hazard
    39. 39. Powell Observatory Lewis-Young Park, Louisburg, KS
    40. 40. Powell Observatory 30” Ruisinger Telescope <ul><li>Newtonian Reflector </li></ul><ul><ul><li>diameter of aluminized area of mirror = 737 mm </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>focal length = 3760 mm (f/5.1) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>magnifications 68x – 538x depending on eyepiece </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>details 500’ across on Moon </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Light grasp = 11,000 × human eye </li></ul><ul><ul><li>limiting visual magnitude = +17 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>20 times fainter than Pluto </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>> 100,000,000 stars; thousands of galaxies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sun at 8,000 light-years </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>activates cone cells in retina – color vision </li></ul></ul>
    41. 41. ASKC Astro Imaging Center Powell Observatory, Louisburg, KS; 38°38'46&quot; N, 94°41'59&quot;
    42. 42. Asteroid Imaging Camera
    43. 43. Asteroid 2004 QT24 PHA (Potentially Hazardous Asteroid); NEO (Near Earth Object) H = +18.27, diameter ~760 m, period 440 days Earth MOID = .0074617 AU = 1,116,300 km = 2.9 LD impact energy 23,400 MT (if solid rock at 17 km sec -1 ) (source: Dick Trentman, ASKC) (source: http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/sbdb.cgi?sstr=2004%20QT24;orb=1)
    44. 44. Asteroid 2004 QT24 tracking images taken from Powell Observatory AIC, 4/22/2005 (source: Dick Trentman, ASKC)
    45. 45. Asteroid 2004 QT24 tracking images taken from Powell Observatory AIC, 4/22/2005 (source: Dick Trentman, ASKC)
    46. 46. Asteroid 2004 QT24 tracking images taken from Powell Observatory AIC, 4/22/2005 (source: Dick Trentman, ASKC)
    47. 47. Asteroid 2004 QT24 tracking images taken from Powell Observatory AIC, 4/22/2005 (source: Dick Trentman, ASKC)
    48. 48. Saving Civilization the ASKC Way <ul><li>get nightly list of objects of high interest from MPC </li></ul><ul><li>take 10-100 images of that area of sky </li></ul><ul><li>digitally combine images into 3 groups, “blink” them </li></ul><ul><li>if something jumps, compare with known direction/speed </li></ul><ul><li>astrometric software does position and speed analysis </li></ul><ul><li>send data only (no images) back to MPC </li></ul><ul><li>they do computation to extend known segment of orbit </li></ul><ul><li>then rate object on Torino scale (0-10) </li></ul>(source: Mitch Glaze, ASKC)
    49. 49. How is this saving civilization? <ul><li>With our data, the Minor Planet Center … </li></ul><ul><li>Updates its library of all known NEOs’ orbital and physical data. </li></ul><ul><li>Correlates new discoveries with “lost” asteroids. </li></ul><ul><li>Provides accurate predictions of future NEO orbital motion. </li></ul><ul><li>Identifies PHAs (potentially hazardous asteroids). </li></ul><ul><li>Monitors changes to NEO orbits due to various influences. </li></ul><ul><li>Major accomplishments … </li></ul><ul><li>Starting in 2001, Powell became the second most productive observatory in the world (official designation IAUC/MPC #649) for NEO confirmation and tracking. </li></ul><ul><li>In 2004, Powell was specifically requested by the MPC to image “killer asteroid” 2004 MN4, later known as 99942 Apophis, because of the large aperture (30”) Ruisinger telescope and the quality of its previous work. </li></ul><ul><li>Currently, Powell has over 9,300 NEO observations, second only to the federally-funded Lowell Observatory. </li></ul>(source: AJ Eaton, ASKC)
    50. 50. Also, We’ve Discovered A Few
    51. 51. … and here it is H = +13.3; M v = +16.9; diameter ~7.5 km; period 4 yrs 8 mos blackbody surface temperature 235 °K, –38 °C, –36 °F surface gravity ≈ 0.00035 g; 100 lb on Earth = 9/16 oz (source: http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/sbdb.cgi?sstr=2000%20VG38;orb=1;cov=0;log=0#orb)
    52. 52. Monday, October 6, 2008 Humanity’s first successful prediction of an asteroid impact! <ul><li>Asteroid 2008 TC3 </li></ul><ul><li>discovered ~20 hours before impact by Catalina Sky Survey 1.5m telescope on Mt Lemmon, AZ </li></ul><ul><li>1-5 meters in diameter traveling 12.8 km sec -1 ; entered atmosphere at 19° angle </li></ul><ul><li>1-2 kT explosion at 20 km altitude; visual magnitude -13; observed by KLM aircraft crew 1,400 km away; detected by infrasound array in Kenya </li></ul><ul><li>see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_TC3 and http://orbit.psi.edu/?q=node/22 </li></ul>
    53. 53. Impact Images (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:ELG_webcam_record_of_2008_TC3_frame_0005.png) 30 seconds before during 20 seconds after
    54. 54. Impact Animation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cxa2PUluqVU
    55. 55. 2008 TC3’s Final Orbit (source: http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/sbdb.cgi?sstr=2008%20TC3;orb=1 )
    56. 56. 2008 TC3’s Fragments Found! (source: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v458/n7237/full/nature07920.html ) <ul><li>exploded at 37 km altitude; no macroscopic fragments were expected to survive </li></ul><ul><li>but 47 meteorites found; total mass 3.95 kg </li></ul><ul><li>parent body named Almahata Sitta (“Station Six,” train station with eyewitnesses) </li></ul><ul><li>achondrite, a polymict ureilite, ultra-fine-grained and porous, with large carbonaceous grains </li></ul><ul><li>asteroid was F class, made of material so fragile it was not previously represented in meteorite collections </li></ul>(source: http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=asteroid-meteorite-sudan-fireball )
    57. 57. 2008 TC3’s Fragments Found! (source: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap090328.html )
    58. 58. Harry Turtledove, Call Your Office (source: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/reference_maps/pdf/physical_world.pdf ) actual path what if? what if? what if?
    59. 59. Join the ASKC! <ul><li>What We Do </li></ul><ul><li>Monthly meetings with great speakers and knowledgeable club members </li></ul><ul><li>Operate Powell Observatory – training is always available </li></ul><ul><li>Operate Warkoczewski Observatory at UMKC (Friday nights) </li></ul><ul><li>Heart of America Star Party every year at dark-sky site near Butler, MO </li></ul><ul><li>What You Get to Do </li></ul><ul><li>Members can use the “Louisburg Community Telescope” (actually 2 telescopes, 16” and 12½” reflectors) any time </li></ul><ul><li>Become a “keyholder” at Powell Observatory – training is always available </li></ul><ul><li>Get access to members-only “dark-sky site” </li></ul><ul><li>Help refine asteroid orbits – save civilization! </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.askc.org/ </li></ul>