It Came From Outer Space


Here’s something to look forward to in the New Year: the Halloween asteroid is back!

On October 31st, 2015, an asteroid passed close to earth, just a little further from us than the moon.  The reflectivity of this astroid is about 5%, which means it’s very dark and about as reflective as charcoal.  Its scientific name is 2015TB145, but it came to be known as the Halloween asteroid.  After it was sensed by a Pan-STARSS telescope in Hawaii, teams of astronomers, including NASA in West Virginia and the NAIC in Puerto Rico singled their sights in on the dark asteroid to get a better visual. 

It’s shaped like a human skull.

Asteroids are fairly rare.  The Halloween asteroid was the first to pass at such a close distance since 2006.  The human skull is a symmetrical but idiosyncratic shape, with cheekbones, teeth, a chin, two crater-like eye sockets, and a nasal cavity that looks like an upside-down  heart.  Halloween is a holiday invented by humans in the last few hundred years.  And yet, in 2015, chance had it that a skull zoomed by the planet on All Hallow’s Eve.

Then again, maybe it’s a sign from our alien overlords that they know we’re here and want to kill us.  Or it could be definitive proof that the world is a simulation, and for some reason the program grabbed the file for “human skull” and got it mixed up with the file for “inert rocky mass in outer space.”

Anyways.  If you missed it last time, the skull’s coming back sometime in November 2018.  It will slide through the night sky and whisper in an ancient tongue, telling you to vote in the midterm elections.


-Rachel Hsu