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Maybe they'll get fired for taking Thursday off.
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Is this the "Big One"? Astronomers Say No
"Significant" Meteor Shower Headed for US
"We do expect at least minor damage."
Yourtown---- (NOTICE: Any names of towns, locations, people, institutions, etc., used in these sample fake newspaper stories, are purely fictional, chosen at random, and are not meant to portray or represent any real person, place or deed. Remember that no matter what name a writer chooses to use in any fictional story, there is a real person (or many persons) SOMEWHERE who have that exact name.)
Scientists are unanimous: This is not the big one. So say observers and astronomers at the Lowell Observatory outside of Flagstaff, Arizona.
"We're in for a 'significant' event," admits Jane Armstrong, NASA spokesperson. "This is not the end of the world; we certainly need to stress that. It's possible that this event will come and pass almost unnoticed. But it's also possible that we'll see some considerable damage if they (meteors) strike in populated areas."
The whole thing started nearly a week ago when observers around the world began tracking a batch of "rogue" meteors on a collision course with Earth.
"The fact that we spotted them at all is just luck," explained Ms. Armstrong. "This particular batch is too small to be 'looked for'. But many of these objects are certainly large enough to be a bona fide threat to human safety in the impact areas."
Current estimates put the number of projectiles at "several hundred", ranging in size from dust, which won't even make it through the atmosphere, to pebble-size pieces of rock, to basket-ball sized chunks.
"People tend not to be afraid of something the size of a basketball," said Eric Steiner, NASA astronomer. "But even very small pieces, traveling at extreme velocities, say, 40 miles per second, bring with them the energy of much larger artifacts. For instance, you might compare the impact of a golf ball sized rock at very high velocities, to a rock the size of an apartment building, traveling at the speed of a modern jet."
Astronomers around the world are calculating furiously to pinpoint the areas of impact. Estimates may vary slightly in the next few days, but at present the impact area includes about 50 square miles roughly ten miles southeast of Seattle. This would include the city of Renton, and possibly Kent.
The meteors are expected to impact between 3:30 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. on Thursday.
Radio and television will broadcast upgraded estimates as they become available.
Evacuation of the affected areas will be mandatory, and will be enforced by the local Sheriff's offices, WSP, and the United States National Guard.
See Kecksburg Sighting Page D-5
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