Some time ago I wrote an article about space rock 2009 BD and it’s close pass to Earth on 2 June.
The article generated a lot of traffic from people searching for the end of the world on that date, so I thought I’d test if there were lots of people looking for the world to end on any given date or if there had been something special about 2 June 2011.
To do that I wrote an article questioning if the world would end on 2 July 2011 and then sat back to watch the traffic. The result:
It seems there was a special interest in June 2011 as a world ending time – and 2 June in particular; but
there are clearly also people looking for the end of the world on any given day.
So, to repeat, there are no reasons to believe world will end in July 2011 or July 2111 for that matter.
My experiment to see if there were lots of people out there thinking all the time that the end of the world was imminent – conceived after an article, titled “end of the world is nigh”, I wrote about how a 10 metre wide lump of rock called 2009 BD was to pass close to Earth on 2 June generated lots of traffic – seemed to be suggesting that actually the fear was really June 2011.
I have not had a single search-engine-generated hit on my dummy article claiming that the end of times had been postponed to 2 July 2011. Until today that is.
So, there are still three weeks to go – lets see if the traffic builds.
This end of the world thing is a gift that keeps on giving – as I have a story headlined “End of the world is nigh: 2 June 2011”, the site has had a surge of visitors coming from search engines looking to see if the world is going to end tomorrow (it’s not, in case you are worrying).
Is there a reason why 2 June has been chosen or is it the case that there are people looking every day for the prospect that the world will end tomorrow?
I will now write an article suggesting that, in fact the world won’t end on 2 July 2011 and see if that generates a whole shed load of traffic on 1 July…
Today is my eldest daughter’s 16th birthday. That means in April 2078 she will be a sprightly 82. I will, though, I am sure, be long gone at 112.
And, maybe she should be worried about 2009 BD, the 10 metre lump of rock that passes inside the Moon’s orbit this week – because on 29 April 2078 it is predicted to come very much closer – a mere 6000km or so.
And, then, in August 2087, when Eibhlin will be 92, it will come much closer still – about 2000km.
Of course these predictions are difficult to call accurate – as 2009 BD is so small and so close to both the Earth and Moon that its orbit is bound to be unstable. Eventually it is likely to collide with one of the two or be flung into a new orbit.
But perhaps that collision will come towards the end of this century. If it does it would not be a good idea to be under the rock – but on the other hand while the 7 kT (NASA’s JPL seems to have revised down its estimate from an earlier 18 kT) equivalent of TNT does bear comparison with a nuclear weapon it is a small one and one that would be “exploding” in the upper atmosphere most likely over an ocean.
My article on 2009 BD, the small rock which makes a near-Earth approach this week continues to be the most popular article on the site – because there are a lot of people out there searching for information about how the world is due to end in June 2011.
It won’t happen.
Nor will 2009 BD crash into us. In fact it won’t even come close enough to be seen without some pretty powerful telescopes.