Friday, January 19, 2018
News Roundup

NASA: Asteroid to traverse Earth's satellite zone

WASHINGTON — An asteroid half the size of a football field will dart between Earth and orbiting satellites next week, sparing the human race and putting on a show for sky gazers in Eastern Europe, Asia and Australia, NASA said.

The 150-foot diameter asteroid, named 2012 DA14, will pass 17,000 miles above Earth on Feb. 15 — lower than the orbits of some satellites — in the closest known approach of an object of its size. It will travel on a north-to-south trajectory at 17,400 miles an hour, or about eight times the speed of a rifle shot, NASA scientists said Thursday.

"No Earth impact is possible," Donald Yeomans, who manages the Near-Earth-Object office at Pasadena, Calif.- based Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said in a press conference.

The NASA unit monitors relatively small space objects such as DA14 to measure the risks they present to the Earth. Researchers said the asteroid's close trajectory will help NASA in preparing for an eventual encounter with a near-Earth object later this decade.

While a strike by an asteroid DA14's size would do "a lot of regional destruction," it wouldn't be catastrophic to the planet's population, said Lindley Johnson, program executive for NASA's Near-Earth Object observations program in Washington.

Yeomans said the damage from DA14 if it were to hit would rival an impact event in Russia in 1908 that leveled trees over an 820-square-mile territory. The asteroid that is thought to have wiped out the dinosaurs was more than 6 miles in diameter.

The NASA scientists said the asteroid would still pass above the orbits of most of the communications satellites circling Earth, and doesn't pose a threat to the International Space Station, which moves above the planet at about 250 miles.

Amateur astronomers will need a small telescope to see the asteroid, which would appear as a moving pinpoint in the night sky, said Timothy Spahr, the director of the Minor Planet Center in Cambridge, Mass. The best viewing location for DA14's closest approach is Indonesia, with sky gazers in Eastern Europe, Australia and Asia also getting good looks at the asteroid.

The NEO program office said that an object of similar size gets this close to Earth once every 40 years, and that an actual collision can be expected only once in 1,200 years.

Comments
On Jan. 18, 2018: Record cold in Tampa Bay. On Jan. 19, 1977: Snow.

On Jan. 18, 2018: Record cold in Tampa Bay. On Jan. 19, 1977: Snow.

One day. Just one day on a calendar separates an epic cold snap from what was arguably the most historic January weather event in Tampa Bay history.On Thursday, the region dealt with a brutal arctic blast produced record low temperatures that caused ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Five things Tampa Bay needs to know about bus rapid transit

Five things Tampa Bay needs to know about bus rapid transit

ST. PETERSBURG — Transportation planners are set to unveil a new transit vision for Tampa Bay leaders on Friday morning: Bus rapid transit. Also known as BRT, it has arisen as the leading option in an ongoing study to find the best regional tr...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Princess Pigtails' diary: the first 97 days of a foster mom and the little girl in her care

Princess Pigtails' diary: the first 97 days of a foster mom and the little girl in her care

Editor’s note: Shannon Colavecchio, a former Tampa Bay Times reporter now living in Tallahassee, decided in the summer of 2016 to begin the process of becoming a foster parent. Having been raised by her grandparents after her biological mother ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Forecast: One more chilly morning before a return to Florida weather

Forecast: One more chilly morning before a return to Florida weather

Tampa Bay can finally bid farewell to this week’s stretch of brutally cold conditions.10News WTSPFeels-like temperatures around the Tampa Bay area It will be a bit of a slow return to normal, as some residents are still waking up to frost and sub-fr...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Congress likely racing toward a government shutdown

Congress likely racing toward a government shutdown

WASHINGTON — A bitterly-divided Congress hurtled toward a government shutdown this weekend in a partisan stare-down over demands by Democrats for a solution on politically fraught legislation to protect about 700,000 younger immigrants from being dep...
Updated: 3 hours ago
The Daystarter: WWII veteran’s missing dog tags returned; can bus rapid transit solve Tampa Bay’s transit woes?; Lightning’s slide continues; tips for attending Gasparilla Children’s Parade

The Daystarter: WWII veteran’s missing dog tags returned; can bus rapid transit solve Tampa Bay’s transit woes?; Lightning’s slide continues; tips for attending Gasparilla Children’s Parade

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.• Thankfully, the cold snap is over. Today’s temperature will rise into the 60s, according to 10Weather WTSP. And the weekend will be beautiful: Saturday and Sunday will both b...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Daniel Ruth: If it’s time to move on from light rail, let’s move faster this time

Daniel Ruth: If it’s time to move on from light rail, let’s move faster this time

Perhaps it was that noted existentialist philosopher Kenny Rogers, or maybe it was the post-modernist French thinker Michel Foucault, who first said, "You need to know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em." But let’s not quibble.If you are one ...
Published: 01/19/18
Clearwater City Council candidate John Funk: City needs better planning

Clearwater City Council candidate John Funk: City needs better planning

CLEARWATER — Voters may not be too familiar with the name John Funk.So since launching his campaign for City Council Seat 5 against well-known incumbent Hoyt Hamilton, Funk said he has knocked on 2,000 doors to introduce himself. Before the March 13 ...
Published: 01/19/18
Clearwater City Council candidate Hoyt Hamilton: Experience is key for critical next term

Clearwater City Council candidate Hoyt Hamilton: Experience is key for critical next term

CLEARWATER — By asking voters to elect him into office a fifth time, Hoyt Hamilton knows he’s now considered part of the old-guard. Born and raised in Clearwater, his family roots stretch back here more than 100 years. Hamilton, 59, spent nearly his ...
Published: 01/19/18
New editor: Help me learn the Florida way

New editor: Help me learn the Florida way

It was one more reminder of how much I have to learn about this place.The reporter met me as I came back from lunch on one of the many cold days we’ve had recently. She’d received a tip about a snook kill in Hernando Beach. Did I think we should writ...
Updated: 12 minutes ago