Death from Above!

150 Years ago, an archaeologist discovered a clay tablet in the ruins of Nineveh, which contained a constellation diagram, and what may be the impact trajectory of a massive asteroid. The tablet is dated 700BC, but is a copy of a chart believed to be from 29 June 3123 BC. Using an astronomical simulation to determine the trajectory and impact location of the object, two aerospace engineers believe the object was >1.3 km in diameter, and felled a glancing blow on Austria. “The astronomers made an accurate note of its trajectory relative to the stars, which to an error better than one degree is consistent with an impact at Köfels.”  Köfels is the site of some curious geological feature, like a far reaching landslide.  They state that this could be the basis for the Sodom and Gomorrah story, as that a fire plume could have extended all the way to the Mediterranean.  All the details are in a book which is for sale for 13 quid, but the researchers home page is pretty informative.

Calculated trajectory of Köfels Asteroid.

Picture Credit: Alan Bond and Mark Hempsell, http://www.bris.ac.uk/aerospace/research/dynamicsandsystems/kofels/trajectory.html

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