Summary of eRumor:
The impact of a doomsday asteroid hurtling toward Earth will cause catastrophic tsunamis, and potentially the end of civilization, in February 2017.
NASA had been monitoring an asteroid that will pass (somewhat) close to earth in February 2017 but concluded that the “doomsday asteroid” didn’t posed any threat to Earth whatsoever.
Fears about a doomsday asteroid striking earth in February 2017 were fueled by a report published by the Daily Mail, a U.K. tabloid, on January 26, 2017.
The report, which appeared under the headline “A Doomsday Asteroid Will Hit Earth Next Month and trigger Devastating Mega Tsunamis, Claims Conspiracy Theorist,” attributed those doomsday threats to a “self-proclaimed Russian astronomer” named Dr. Dyomin Damir Zakharovich:
‘The object they call WF9 left the Nibiru system in October when Nibiru began spinning counter clockwise around the sun,’ he said.
‘Since then, Nasa has known it will hit Earth. But they are only telling people now.’
If the asteroid hit Earth, he says, it could destroy cities or cause a tsunami. ‘We are all in peril.’
Zakharovich doesn’t have an online footprint outside of this report, which calls into question whether or not he’s actually a “Russian astronomer” or has any credibility at all. And the fact that his theory about the doomsday asteroid is based on Nibiru — an unidentified “9th planet” on the outer reaches of the solar system that’s the stuff of conspiracy theories — makes those claims even more questionable.
In reality, NASA confirmed that it detected the so-called doomsday asteroid, dubbed 2016 WF9, on November 27, 2016, and that it has deterimened the asteroid will pass safely by Earth on February 25, 2017:
2016 WF9 will approach Earth’s orbit on Feb. 25, 2017. At a distance of nearly 32 million miles (51 million kilometers) from Earth, this pass will not bring it particularly close. The trajectory of 2016 WF9 is well understood, and the object is not a threat to Earth for the foreseeable future.
A different object, discovered by NEOWISE a month earlier, is more clearly a comet, releasing dust as it nears the sun. This comet, C/2016 U1 NEOWISE, “has a good chance of becoming visible through a good pair of binoculars, although we can’t be sure because a comet’s brightness is notoriously unpredictable,” said Paul Chodas, manager of NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object (NEO) Studies at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
So, like most conspiracy theories, claims about a doomsday asteroid striking Earth in February 2017 have at least a kernel of truth. An asteroid (that might actually be a comet) will travel 32 million miles from Earth on February 25, 2017, posing no dangers whatsoever.
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