Torino scale

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The Torino Scale is a method for categorizing the impact hazard associated with near-Earth objects (NEOs) such as asteroids and comets. It is intended as a communication tool for astronomers and the public to assess the seriousness of collision predictions, by combining probability statistics and known kinetic damage potentials into a single threat value. The Palermo Technical Impact Hazard Scale is a similar, but more complex scale.

Overview[edit]

Torino Scale. The scale in metres is the approximate diameter of an asteroid with a typical collision velocity.

The Torino Scale uses an integer scale from 0 to 10. A 0 indicates an object has a negligibly small chance of collision with the Earth, compared with the usual "background noise" of collision events, or is too small to penetrate Earth's atmosphere intact. A 10 indicates that a collision is certain, and the impacting object is large enough to precipitate a global disaster.

An object is assigned a 0 to 10 value based on its collision probability and the kinetic energy (expressed in megatons of TNT) of the possible collision.

The Torino Scale is defined only for potential impacts less than 100 years in the future.

"For an object with multiple potential collisions on a set of dates, a Torino Scale value should be determined for each date. It may be convenient to summarize such an object by the greatest Torino Scale value within the set."[1]

History and naming[edit]

The Torino Scale was created by Professor Richard P. Binzel in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The first version, called "A Near-Earth Object Hazard Index", was presented at a United Nations conference in 1995 and was published by Binzel in the subsequent conference proceedings (Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, volume 822, 1997.)

A revised version of the "Hazard Index" was presented at a June 1999 international conference on NEOs held in Torino (Turin), Italy. The conference participants voted to adopt the revised version, where the bestowed name "Torino Scale" recognizes the spirit of international cooperation displayed at that conference toward research efforts to understand the hazards posed by NEOs. ("Torino Scale" is the proper usage, not "Turin Scale.")[1]

Due to exaggerated press coverage of Level 1 asteroids, a rewording of the Torino Scale was published in 2005, adding more details and renaming the categories: in particular, Level 1 was changed from "Events meriting careful monitoring" to "Normal".

Current Torino Scale[edit]

The Torino Scale also uses a color code scale: white, green, yellow, orange, red. Each color code has an overall meaning:[2]

NO HAZARD (white)
0. The likelihood of a collision is zero, or is so low as to be effectively zero. Also applies to small objects such as meteors and bodies that burn up in the atmosphere as well as infrequent meteorite falls that rarely cause damage.
NORMAL (green)
1. A routine discovery in which a pass near Earth is predicted that poses no unusual level of danger. Current calculations show the chance of collision is extremely unlikely with no cause for public attention or public concern. New telescopic observations very likely will lead to reassignment to Level 0.
MERITING ATTENTION BY ASTRONOMERS (yellow)
2. A discovery, which may become routine with expanded searches, of an object making a somewhat close but not highly unusual pass near Earth. While meriting attention by astronomers, there is no cause for public attention or public concern as an actual collision is very unlikely. New telescopic observations very likely will lead to reassignment to Level 0.
3. A close encounter, meriting attention by astronomers. Current calculations give a 1% or greater chance of collision capable of localized destruction. Most likely, new telescopic observations will lead to reassignment to Level 0. Attention by public and by public officials is merited if the encounter is less than a decade away.
4. A close encounter, meriting attention by astronomers. Current calculations give a 1% or greater chance of collision capable of regional devastation. Most likely, new telescopic observations will lead to reassignment to Level 0. Attention by public and by public officials is merited if the encounter is less than a decade away.
THREATENING (orange)
5. A close encounter posing a serious, but still uncertain threat of regional devastation. Critical attention by astronomers is needed to determine conclusively whether a collision will occur. If the encounter is less than a decade away, governmental contingency planning may be warranted.
6. A close encounter by a large object posing a serious but still uncertain threat of a global catastrophe. Critical attention by astronomers is needed to determine conclusively whether a collision will occur. If the encounter is less than three decades away, governmental contingency planning may be warranted.
7. A very close encounter by a large object, which if occurring this century, poses an unprecedented but still uncertain threat of a global catastrophe. For such a threat in this century, international contingency planning is warranted, especially to determine urgently and conclusively whether a collision will occur.
CERTAIN COLLISIONS (red)
8. A collision is certain, capable of causing localized destruction for an impact over land or possibly a tsunami if close offshore. Such events occur on average between once per 50 years and once per several thousand years.
9. A collision is certain, capable of causing unprecedented regional devastation for a land impact or the threat of a major tsunami for an ocean impact. Such events occur on average between once per 10,000 years and once per 100,000 years.
10. A collision is certain, capable of causing global climatic catastrophe that may threaten the future of civilization as we know it, whether impacting land or ocean. Such events occur on average once per 100,000 years, or less often.

No object has ever been rated above level 4; Currently all objects are rated level 0 (see below).

Actual impacts and impact energy comparisons[edit]

The Chicxulub impact, believed by many to be a significant factor in the extinction of the dinosaurs, has been estimated at 100 million (108) megatons, or Torino Scale 10. The impact which created the Barringer Crater, and the Tunguska event in 1908 are both estimated to be in the 3–10 megaton range,[3] corresponding to Torino Scale 8. The 2013 Chelyabinsk meteor had a total kinetic energy prior to impact of about 0.4 megatons, corresponding to Torino Scale 0. Between 2000 and 2013, 26 asteroid impacts with energy of 1-600 kiloton were detected.[4]

The biggest hydrogen bomb ever exploded, the Tsar Bomba, was around 50 megatons. The 1883 eruption of Krakatoa was the equivalent of roughly 200 megatons.

The comet C/2013 A1, which will pass close to Mars in 2014, is estimated to have a potential impact energy of 5 million to 24 billion Mt, and in March 2013 was estimated to have an impact probability of ~1:1250, corresponding to the Martian analogue of Torino Scale 6.[5] The impact probability was reduced to ~1:120000 in April 2013, corresponding to Torino Scale 1 or 2.[6]

Objects with non-zero Torino ratings[edit]

Currently non-zero[edit]

Since March 2014, there have been no objects rated at a Torino Scale level greater than zero.

Downgraded to zero[edit]

This is a partial list of near-Earth asteroids that have been listed with a Torino Scale rating of 1+ and been lowered to 0 or been removed from the Sentry Risk Table altogether. Most objects that reach a Torino Scale of 1 have a short observation arc of less than 2 weeks and are quickly removed as the observation arc gets longer and more accurate.

  • 2002
    • (163132) 2002 CU11 was rated level 1 on 20 March 2002,[7] and completely removed from the Sentry Risk Table on 26 April 2002.[8]
  • 2003
    • (177049) 2003 EE16 was rated level 1 on 2 April 2003,[9] and removed from the risk table on 28 May 2003.[8]
    • (387746) 2003 MH4 was rated level 1 on 7 July 2003 with an observation arc of 10 days.[10] There was roughly an estimated 1 in 19,000 chance of impact on 9 June 2077.[10] It was removed from the risk table on 29 July 2003.[8]
    • (143649) 2003 QQ47 was rated level 1 on 30 August 2003[11] and removed from the Sentry Risk Table on 14 September 2003.[8]
    • (143651) 2003 QO104 was rated level 1 in early October 2003,[12] and removed on 13 October 2003.[8]
    • (164121) 2003 YT1 was rated level 1 on 27 December 2003 with an observation arc of 8.7 days.[12] It was removed from the risk table on 29 December 2003.[8]
  • 2004
    • (144332) 2004 DV24 was rated level 1 on 1 March 2004 with an observation arc of 7.8 days.[13] It was removed on 5 March 2004.[8]
    • 2004 FU4 was rated level 1 on 27 March 2004 with an observation arc of 6.9 days.[14] It was lowered to 0 on 2 April 2004. It was removed on 13 April 2004.[8]
    • (99942) Apophis (a ≈350 m near-Earth asteroid) became the first object rated level 2 on 23 December 2004,[15] and was subsequently upgraded to level 4 — the current record for highest Torino rating.[15] It will pass quite close to Earth on 13 April 2029 without an impact. It retained a rating of level 1 for a 2036 encounter due to the orbital uncertainties introduced by the gravitational deflection until August 2006, when Apophis was downgraded to 0.
  • 2006
    • (144898) 2004 VD17 (using an observation arc of 475 days) was upgraded to level 2 in February 2006 for a possible 2102 encounter, making it the second asteroid rated above level 1.[16] It was downgraded to 0 after further observations. It was removed from the Sentry Risk Table on 14 February 2008.[8]
    • 1997 XR2 was a lost asteroid from December 1997 that had an observation arc of 27 days.[17] From early 2002 until 24 February 2006 it was estimated to have a 1 in 10,000 chance of impacting Earth on June 1, 2101.[17] It was removed from the risk table on 24 February 2006 when it was serendipitously rediscovered.[8]
    • (292220) 2006 SU49 (with an observation arc of 7 days) showed a 1 in 42000 chance of impacting Earth on 22 January 2029.[18] It was removed from the Sentry Risk Table on 23 November 2006.[8]
    • 2006 XG1 was rated level 1 on December 22, 2006, when it had an observation arc of 25 days,[19] but was removed from the Sentry Risk Table on February 7, 2007.[8]
  • 2007
    • 2007 CA19 was rated level 1[20] for one week ending 19 February 2007. The asteroid was estimated to be roughly 970 meters (3,180 ft) in diameter and had a virtual impactor listing a 1 in 625,000 chance of impact on 14 March 2012.[20] It was removed from the risk table on February 22.[8]
    • 2007 LQ19 was rated level 1 on 3 July 2007 with an observation arc of 19 days.[21] The asteroid was estimated to be 930 meters (3,050 ft) in diameter and there was a 1 in 556,000 chance of impact on 11 July 2082.[21] It was removed from the risk table on 15 July 2007.[8]
  • 2008
    • (332446) 2008 AF4 was rated level 1[22] until 14 February 2008. It was removed from the risk table on 19 December 2009.[8]
  • 2009
    • 2009 KK was rated level 1 after its discovery in May 2009 (with a 15 day observation arc),[23] and downgraded to 0 by 11 June 2009. It was removed 17 June 2009.[8]
    • 2009 WM1 was rated level 1 after its discovery on 17 November 2009,[24] and downgraded by the end of November. It was not removed from the risk table until 26 June 2013.[8]
    • (359369) 2009 YG was rated level 1 on 28 December 2009 (with an observation arc of 10 days).[25] It was downgraded to 0 by the end of December.
  • 2010
    • (308635) 2005 YU55 was rated level 1 in February 2010,[26] and downgraded to 0 on 9 April 2010. The chances of an actual collision with an asteroid like 2005 YU55 (~400 meters in diameter) is about 1 percent in the next thousand years.[27]
    • 2010 JU39 was rated level 1 on 18 May 2010 with an observation arc of 7 days.[28] There was roughly an estimated 1 in 77,000 chance of impact on 26 June 2058.[28] It was removed on 23 May 2010.[8]
    • 2010 XC25 was rated level 1 in December 2010, and downgraded to 0 on 2 January 2011.[29]
  • 2011
    • 2011 BM45 was rated level 1 on 13 February 2011 with an observation arc of 13.8 days.[30] There was a 1 in 24,000 chance of impact on 18 January 2086.[30] It was removed from the risk table on 10 March 2011.[8]
    • 2011 SM68 was rated level 1 on 28 September 2011 with an observation arc of 2.6 days and listed virtual impactors in 2016 and 2019.[31] But it was quickly downgraded to 0 a few days later and was removed from the risk table on 7 October 2011.[8]
    • (415029) 2011 UL21 is an asteroid with a diameter of 2.6 km, which was rated level 1 on October 27, 2011 (with an observation arc of 9.6 days.)[32] It was downgraded to 0 a few days later.
    • 2011 UW158 was rated level 1 on 4 November 2011 with an observation arc of 9 days.[33] There was a 1 in 56,000 chance of impact on 8 July 2079.[33] It was removed 17 November 2011.[8]
  • 2012
    • 2012 CA21 was rated level 1 on 21 February 2012 (with an observation arc of 8.9 days).[34] It was removed from the risk table on 3 March 2012.[8]
    • 2012 MU2 was rated at Torino scale 1 on 23 June 2012 with an observation arc of 4 days.[35] With an observation arc of only 6 days it showed a 1 in 7140 chance of impact on 1 June 2015. It was removed from the Sentry Risk Table on June 25.[8]
    • (367789) 2011 AG5 was rated at Torino scale 1 from February 2011 to December 2012, for an impact on 5 February 2040.[36] It was downgraded thanks to observations collected in October 2012 with telescopes on Mauna Kea, Hawaii.
  • 2013
    • 2013 TV135 (a ≈450 m near-Earth asteroid) was rated level 1 on 16 October 2013 (with an observation arc of 7.3 days).[37] It was downgraded to 0 on 3 November 2013.[38] It was completely removed from the Sentry Risk Table on 8 November 2013 using JPL solution 32 with an observation arc of 27 days.[8]
  • 2014
    • 2014 DA with an estimated diameter of 100 meters was rated level 1 on 23 February 2014 with an observation arc of 5 days. It was estimated to have a 1 in 5,560 chance of impact on 2 February 2027.[39] It was lowered to Torino Scale 0 on the next day (24 February 2014).[40]
    • 2007 VK184 was listed on the Near Earth Object Risk List with a Torino Scale of Level 1[41] from after its discovery in November 2007 until recovered in March 2014. With an observation arc of 60 days, it had about a 1 in 1800 chance of impacting Earth on 3 June 2048; the probability went to effectively zero when the 2014 recovery observations were taken into account. The asteroid is estimated to have a diameter of 130 meters (430 ft), and travels through space with a speed of 15.6 km/s relative to Earth.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b http://impact.arc.nasa.gov/torino.cfm Torino Impact Scale (NASA Ames)
  2. ^ "The Torino Impact Hazard Scale". NASA/JPL Near-Earth Object Program Office. 13 Apr 2005. Retrieved 2011-11-05. 
  3. ^ "Sandia supercomputers offer new explanation of Tunguska disaster". Sandia National Laboratories. December 17, 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-29. The asteroid that caused the extensive damage was much smaller than we had thought,” says Sandia principal investigator Mark Boslough of the impact that occurred June 30, 1908. 
  4. ^ http://sentinelmission.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/B612_PR_042214.pdf
  5. ^ Elenin, Leonid (3 March 2013). "Close approach to Mars. Up-to-date analysis". SpaceObs.org blog (ISON-NM). Retrieved 2013-03-03. 
  6. ^ http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?release=2013-081
  7. ^ "Current Impact Risks (2002 CU11)". Near-Earth Object Program. NASA. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x "NEOs Removed from Impact Risks Tables". Near Earth Object Program. NASA. 
  9. ^ "Current Impact Risks (2003 EE16)". Near-Earth Object Program. NASA. 
  10. ^ a b "2003 MH4 Impact Risk". Near Earth Object Program. NASA. 
  11. ^ "Asteroid 2003 QQ47's Potential Earth Impact in 2014 Ruled Out". NASA/JPL Near-Earth Object Program Office. September 3, 2003. Retrieved 2011-11-06. 
  12. ^ a b "Major News about Minor Objects (2003 YT1)". hohmanntransfer. 2003-12-27. 
  13. ^ "Major News about Minor Objects (2004 DV24)". hohmanntransfer. 2004-03-01. 
  14. ^ "Major News about Minor Objects (2004 FU4)". hohmanntransfer. 2004-03-27. 
  15. ^ a b Don Yeomans, Steve Chesley and Paul Chodas (December 23, 2004). "Near-Earth Asteroid 2004 MN4 Reaches Highest Score To Date On Hazard Scale". NASA/JPL Near-Earth Object Program Office. 
  16. ^ David Morrison (March 1, 2006). "Asteroid 2004 VD17 classed as Torino Scale 2". Asteroid and Comet Impact Hazards (NASA). Retrieved 2011-11-06. 
  17. ^ a b "1997 XR2 Impact Risk". Near Earth Object Program. NASA. 
  18. ^ "2006 SU49 Impact Risk". Near Earth Object Program. NASA. 
  19. ^ "2006 XG1 Impact Risk". Near Earth Object Program. NASA. 
  20. ^ a b "2007 CA19 Impact Risk". Near Earth Object Program. NASA. 
  21. ^ a b "2007 LQ19 Impact Risk". Near Earth Object Program. NASA. 
  22. ^ "2008 AF4 Impact Risk". Near Earth Object Program. NASA. 
  23. ^ "2009 KK Impact Risk". Near Earth Object Program. NASA. 
  24. ^ "2009 WM1 Earth Impact Risk". Near Earth Object Program. NASA. Retrieved 2009-11-26. 
  25. ^ "Observations of small Solar-System bodies (2009 YG)". hohmanntransfer. 2009-12-28. 
  26. ^ "2005 YU55 Impact Risk". Near Earth Object Program. NASA. Retrieved 2010-02-25. 
  27. ^ Elizabeth K. Gardner (October 31, 2011). "Large asteroid to pass by Earth Nov. 8, but what if it didn't?". Purdue University. Retrieved 2011-11-07. 
  28. ^ a b "2010 JU39 Impact Risk". Near Earth Object Program. NASA. 
  29. ^ "2010 XC25 Impact Risk". Near Earth Object Program. NASA. [dead link]
  30. ^ a b "2011 BM45 Impact Risk". Near Earth Object Program. NASA. Retrieved 2011-02-25. 
  31. ^ "2011 SM68 Impact Risk". Near Earth Object Program. NASA. Retrieved 2011-09-29. 
  32. ^ "Observations of small Solar-System bodies (2011 UL21)". hohmanntransfer. 2011-10-27. 
  33. ^ a b "2011 UW158 Impact Risk". Near Earth Object Program. NASA. 
  34. ^ "Observations of small Solar-System bodies (2012 CA21)". hohmanntransfer. 2012-02-21. 
  35. ^ "Observations of small Solar-System bodies (2012 MU2)". hohmanntransfer. 2012-06-23. 
  36. ^ "2011 AG5 Impact Risk". Near Earth Object Program. NASA. Retrieved 2011-02-07. 
  37. ^ "Observations of small Solar-System bodies (2013 TV135)". hohmanntransfer. 2013-11-02. 
  38. ^ "2013 TV135 Impact Risk". Near Earth Object Program. JPL. Retrieved 2013-11-03. 
  39. ^ archive is/Wx0I3
  40. ^ "2014 DA Impact Risk". Near Earth Object Program. NASA. 
  41. ^ "2007 VK184 Impact Risk". Near Earth Object Program. NASA. Retrieved 2014-04-01.  (5.5e-04 = 1 in 1,820 chance)

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

External links[edit]