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Off The Beaten Path

With Jack Armistead


If you’re reading this column after Dec. 16, we will be just fine.

With a diameter of about 3 miles, the asteroid 3200 Phaethon will be the third largest “potentially hazardous” and will pass 6.4 million miles away from earth on Dec. 16, according to the Minor Planet Center. NASA said it will be a strong radar imaging target and the “best opportunity to date for radar observations of this asteroid.” NASA also said the images obtained should be excellent for obtaining a detailed 3D model.

The asteroid, discovered in October of 1983 by NASA’s Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS), will be visible with even a small telescope for experienced observers at sites with dark skies. Phaethon is named for the Greek mythological son of Helios (the Sun god)

Don’t worry. It’s not supposed to pass this close to earth again until 2093 when it will pass from 1.8 million miles away. Many of us here on earth now will probably be dancing with the stars by then.

Some weird Christmas traditions --

Germans hide a pickle in the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve. The first child to discover it in the morning receives a small gift.

In Ukraine, Ukrainians forego tinsel and baubles and decorate their trees with an artificial spider and web.

In Estonia on Christmas Eve, Estonian families traditionally head to the sauna together.

In Japan, thanks to an ad campaign in 1974, many Japanese families eat at KFC on Christmas Eve.

Regardless of what you and your family do on Christmas Eve, I wish you a very Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah , and a Happy and Healthy New Year. Be good. Spread the love.

Peace!


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