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Is an asteroid really going to wipe us out in September?

Artist’s impression of an Armageddon asteroid. Credit: Getty  Images
Artist’s impression of an Armageddon asteroid. Credit: Getty Images

NASA has busted the world's scariest rumour confirming there is no asteroid heading towards Earth which would end humankind.

Rumours abound on the internet about Armageddon and have done so for years.

"I've seen several blog and social media posts this week claiming an asteroid will impact Earth sometime between September 15 and 28," said Dave Reneke, astronomy writer for Australasian Science magazine. 

The rumours state the impact will be near Puerto Rico causing wanton destruction to the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States and Mexico, as well as Central and South America.

Australia too they say is in the firing line.

Don't worry, it isn't going to happen. NASA said if anything that dangerous was out there we'd know about it long before now.

On top of that comes the great Mars hoax.

"A reader's letter alerted me to the fact an email is circulating saying Mars will be as big as the full moon this week, causing havoc, and saying nobody alive will ever see this again," Dave said.

"Don't believe it, every year this rumour returns and reaches more and more people."

The closest Mars could get to Earth was about 50 million kilometres, but to the naked eye it would still only look marginally brighter and bigger than a star.

The rumour started in 2003 when Mars was a little closer for observation and each year the same press release seems to be resurrected with grater intensity.

Ok, warmer weather says it's time to scan the skies again.

Saturn is almost overhead, shining in the western sky at nightfall and staying out until late evening in late August. Saturn is the planet with the WOW factor.

"There's no more dazzling sight in the solar system than that of the ringed planet, even city lights can't diminish the beauty of this tiny but picturesque crowd pleaser," said Dave.

"First timers glimpsing Saturn through a telescope sometimes check the front of the scope in disbelief to see if there isn't a picture of the ringed planet dangling there."

How could an object so far away in space appear so perfectly clear and sharp?

That's the utter coolness of Saturn.  "Every time I show people Saturn through a telescope they turn and say, "Wow, it really is there!" Dave said.

  Such is the magic of the 'Lord of the Rings.'

To find Saturn tonight gaze straight up and look for a yellowish 'starlike' object. The rings are wide open and come up well even in small telescopes.

Go Look, you'll love it!

Topics:  armageddon editors picks nasa rumours


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