## Let’s talk about Turin, Palermo and why it is almost impossible for asteroid 2009 JF1 to hit Earth

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News of asteroids approaching our planet are relatively frequent. The ones that one might hit the Earth are not so much, but in recent days they have been talking about that: how **maybe asteroid 2009 JF1 hits Earth**.

The truth is **that’s virtually impossible**. At least in the short term, because NASA, which has instruments like Sentry to track these celestial bodies, has made it clear that the probability is very low. Now it’s time to talk about Palermo and Turin. Not from the cities. Of the scales.

## Go home, there is nothing to see here

to humans **we seem morbid** that an asteroid hits the Earth. Maybe because that would give us a chance to show that ‘Armageddon’ wasn’t that crazy.

NASA has been tracking one called 2009 JF1 for a long time, and for months it made it clear that the probability of the impact of 2009 JF1 on Earth was then only 0.026%. That may not seem like such an unlikely figure, but **that’s where the stopovers from Turin and Palermo come in**.

The **palermo scale** (“Palermo Technical Impact Threat Scale” in its full name) is a logarithmic-type scale that measures the impact risk of a near-Earth object. The idea is to compare the possibility of the potential impact of the detected object with the average risk of another object of equal or greater size over the years.

In the Palermo scale, something more “scientific” works with continuous values: a value of -2 means that there is only a 1% average risk of impact. The value 0 would indicate that the probability of impact is at 50% with the probability of the average risk. **If that value is 2 we would be rigged**: the probability of impact would be 100 times higher than the average risk. And yet, we can be calm: an asteroid or comet has never been discovered that even comes close to the value 0.

The asteroid that had us most concerned was 99942 Apophiswhich when studied in December 2004 **posed a collision probability of 2.7% in 2029**. Subsequent observations ruled out impacts with the Earth and the Moon and lowered their rating on that scale, causing six other asteroids to have higher values and therefore (somewhat) higher risk of impact.

In recent years **only two asteroids have had a value above -2**. One is Bennu (-1.41) and the other is 1950 DA (-1.42). There are three others with values above -3, and up to 24 with values above -4.

None of them (except maybe those first two) are worrisome, and that’s important, because asteroid 2009 JF1 is even less so: according to the Sentry system **its Palermo scale value is -4.41**.

The **Turin scale** It makes things even easier for the layman. This method of classifying the impact hazard associated with NEO (Near Earth Objects) type objects simplifies the values and uses a scale from 0 to 10 and always integer values.

On this scale, a value of 0 reveals that the object has almost zero chance of colliding with Earth. **A value of 10 would imply a certain collision in the next 100 years.**and only from level 5 is the event considered a real threat.

guess what value corresponds to 2009 JF1 on the Turin scale. **Exactly. That value is 0 for this asteroid**. The latest data from Sentry in fact updated the probability of that 0.026% that was estimated months ago to a current 0.00074%. If it was already difficult for us to have short-term problems with that asteroid — things could change in the distant future — now it is even more so.

Not only that. 2009 JF1 is an asteroid about 10 meters in diameter and despite its speed (if it reached our planet, it would enter the atmosphere at a speed of 26.39 km/s) **most likely it would end up disintegrating** in the entry process.

News of asteroids approaching our planet are relatively frequent. The ones that one might hit the Earth are not so…

News of asteroids approaching our planet are relatively frequent. The ones that one might hit the Earth are not so…