Perseid meteor shower: Comet could smash into Earth and wipe out humanity

Written by priyadarshinee

Published on : August 12, 2018 10:12




A timelapse image showing shooting stars lighting the sky during the Perseid shower
A timelapse image showing shooting stars lighting the sky during the Perseid shower

This weekend the night sky is set to dazzle with up to 150 shooting stars per hour as Comet Swift-Tuttle orbits.

But experts are warning the rock will come “perilously close” to our planet releasing the equivalent of 20,000,000 hydrogen bombs exploding.

It could mean the end of the world as we know it.

A top stargazer has claimed the 16-mile-wide object may plough into Earth and hit us with an impact 30 times greater than the asteroid strike which killed the dinosaurs.

It would bring the worst mass extinction Earth has seen in hundreds of millions of years.

Science writer and space expert Ethan Siegel said: “If Swift-Tuttle were to strike Earth, it would release more than one billion megatons of energy: the energy equivalent of 20,000,000 hydrogen bombs exploding all at once.

“Without a doubt, the comet that gives rise to the Perseids is far and away the single most dangerous object known to humanity.

“There’s a chance that, just like the Perseid stream was thrust into Earth’s orbital path this year, someday in the future, this comet will achieve a collision course with Earth.”

The space rock completes its orbit around the sun every 133 years.

 Comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle completes its orbit around the sun every 133 years
Comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle completes its orbit around the sun every 133 years

According to Siegal, the comet hasn’t crossed into the inner solar system since 1991, and isn’t set to do so again until 2126.

It will be a gravitational nudge from Jupiter that could push it off its course, resulting in a number of possible scenarios.

It could be sent hurtling into the sun, or even be ejected from the solar system, Siegel explains.

Or, it could end up plunging toward Earth.

“One tiny, almost imperceptible gravitational tug could be the end of the era of the mammals,” Siegel concludes.

“After tens of millions of years of relative peace within our galaxy, one errant comet could do us all in.”

But don’t worry – the threat isn’t quite imminent.

Comet Swift is due to speed perilously close to Earth in the year 4479, which is 2,462 years away.

And it’s believed there’s a 99.9999% chance we’ll be safe.

A previous asteroid impact caused this crater in Arizona
A previous asteroid impact caused this crater in Arizona

This is not the only space lump on a collision course with Earth.

The enormous asteroid Bennu is said to be the size of the Empire State Building, and would have devastating effects on civilization as we know it if it were to crash with Earth in 2135.

It is estimated that “101955 Bennu” would unleash 1,200 megatons of energy – which is 80,000 times more than the Hiroshima bomb.

The fabled planet Nibiru – or Planet X – is also said to be on a collision course with out planet.



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