Feeds

Colossal dead black neo-sphere approaching Earth

Aircraft-carrier size ball to pass inside Moon on Tuesday

SANS - Survey on application security programs

A gigantic, spinning, dead black spherical object dubbed YU55 and approximately of the same bulk as a nuclear aircraft carrier is expected to make a close pass by planet Earth on Tuesday night, coming well inside the orbit of the Moon.

NEO YU55 imaged by the Arecibo radar telescope. Credit: NASA

Looks a bit like that thing from The Fifth Element

NASA boffins have been tracking YU55 for some time using telescopes and the mighty Arecibo and Goldstone space radars, and they offer the following description of it:

Arecibo radar observations ... show it to be approximately spherical in shape. It is slowly spinning, with a rotation period of about 18 hours. The asteroid's surface is darker than charcoal at optical wavelengths.

YU55, due to the fact it will pass close by, is classified by NASA as a Near Earth Object, or NEO. The space agency's current assessment of its orbit is that it is such as to regularly bring YU55 close to Earth: however it is won't crash into the mother planet this century at least. More detailed observations set to made during the upcoming close pass will allow a much more detailed forecast to be made.

Or as NASA puts it:

Although classified as a potentially hazardous object, 2005 YU55 poses no threat of an Earth collision over at least the next 100 years. However, this will be the closest approach to date by an object this large that we know about in advance and an event of this type will not happen again until 2028 when asteroid (153814) 2001 WN5 will pass to within 0.6 lunar distances.

The titanic cosmic eight-ball is our first visitor in its weight class since 1978, apparently. According to NASA: "Scientists are treating the flyby of YU55 as a science target of opportunity – allowing instruments on 'spacecraft Earth' to scan it during the close pass." ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Fancy joining Reg hack on quid-a-day challenge?
Recruiting now for charity starvation diet
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.