Gravely’s Comet

On September 19, 2014, astronomers in Australia went back through their library and identified a dark and dense Near-Earth Object roughly 48 meters across.

This was tragic.

They found it because they knew where to look. The object has a low Bond albedo and was almost undetectable.

On August 3, 2014, Gravely’s Comet came within a kilometer of this object. Like square dancers, each swung its partner by the hand – Gravely moving a fraction, the smaller black body tossed out to join Jove’s train.

On August 7, astronomers following Gravely frantically began to check their calculations.

On August 9, Gravely arrived on Earth’s doorstep. Late.

(At 3:00 p.m. GMT , on a private island near the equator, a sonic boom overhead flattened trees and damaged the roof and windows of a mansion. A butler, who had stayed with the owner to the end, thought of a cellar full of glass and roofing materials.)

An hour later, in a beautiful mountain valley, the city of Caracas and 3.6 million people ceased to exist.

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