Why Are We Suddenly Getting Hit By So Many Space Rocks?
By Phil Plait
Posted Monday, Feb. 18, 2013, at 7:45 AM
I suspect Photoshop.
The sky is falling!
At least, that’s what I’m hearing on the news and on social media. A lot of people are scared about asteroid impacts right now, and it’s hard to blame them. When you have a near-miss by an asteroid the size of an office building just hours after a monster meteor rocks Russia which happened just a day before a fireball blazed over California which was just days after reports of a similar event over Cuba…well, it really does seem like the Universe is trying to kill us.
Are we under attack? Are all these rocks from the skies related?
In a word: nope. It’s coincidence.
Kick in the posteriori
No, really! Of all the things I’ve been explaining since the Chelyabinsk meteor on Friday, this is the one that people have the hardest time with. I completely sympathize; you can go your whole life without hearing about a major meteor event, and then to get so many at the same time…the feeling that they must be related is overwhelming.
A lot of that is due to human nature. Our brains love to connect events that happen around the same time, even if they’re unrelated. The proper name for this is post hoc, ergo propter hoc, which means “after this, therefore because of this”. In other words, something happens, then something else happens, and we think the two are related. You find a penny on the ground, and then you meet the love of your life. It’s a lucky penny! Or it’s a coincidence, and your brain links them together.http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2013/02/18/asteroids_and_meteors_why_are_we_suddenly_seeing_so_many.html