# Very highest velocity asteroids?

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#### ianke

##### Guest
How fast can say a rogue asteroid from the depths of space reach relative to earth? Can rogue travelers reach perhaps 100 kilometers / second? 1000 kps? what is the limit when measured compared to earth?

edit: What is the fastest object recorded relative to us?

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#### nimbus

##### Guest
There was a distant massive blob of matter (like solar system mass, or something) spotted that was estimated as speeding relativistically.. Was discussed on these forums, but I don't recall any specifics. As far as asteroid sized objects relative to earth, with no other criteria (e.g. something out in interstellar or intergalactic space could qualify), keep in mind that it's all relative. Something going "slow" to andromedans might be record-breaking from our POV.

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#### MeteorWayne

##### Guest
The fastest objects are not asteroids, but comets in retrograde orbits, such as Tempel-Tuttle (source of the Leonid meteor shower) and Swift-Tuttle (source of the Perseid meteor shower). The asteroids are (97%) traveling around the sun in the same direction as the earth does, so approach us at much slower speeds. The minimum speed (for an object traveling at zero speed relative to earth, and only being accelerated by the earth's gravity) is 11.2 km/sec.

If an object is part of the solar system, the maximum velocity is ~ 72 km/sec (including the effects of the earth's gravity)

These are the fastest objects ever recorded.

In theory, an object from outside the solar system could approach at almost any speed, but no such objects or particles have ever been reliably detected. A few may have been at higher speeds, but the error bars made it just as likely they were part of the solar system and obeyed that 72 km/sec limit.

So ~ 72 km/sec is the highest recorded velocity relative to the earth.

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#### MeteorWayne

##### Guest
nimbus":24gy49fe said:
There was a distant massive blob of matter (like solar system mass, or something) spotted that was estimated as speeding relativistically.. Was discussed on these forums, but I don't recall any specifics. As far as asteroid sized objects relative to earth, with no other criteria (e.g. something out in interstellar or intergalactic space could qualify), keep in mind that it's all relative. Something going "slow" to andromedans might be record-breaking from our POV.

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#### ianke

##### Guest
Thanks folks. I figures that actual solarsystem objects would have reached a limit. I was considereing the relativistic velosity of a sort of cosmic traveler type of asteroid. I guess it is an assumption on my part, but I would think that perhaps even very large asteroids could travel deep space. If so then it could be possible for one to (relative to us hereon earth) zip passed us at very high velocities.

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#### silylene

##### Guest
Comet Shoemaker Levy fragments hit Jupiter at 60 km/sec.

I assume some of the many comets which 'collided' with the sun were going even faster than that (relative to the sun) before they got vaporized.

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#### MeteorWayne

##### Guest
Yes, the numbers I gave were the maximum velocities at earth's orbital distance of 1 AU. Closer to the sun, both asteroids and planets would be moving faster, so the highest possible impact velocity for a retrograde solar system asteroid on Mercury is higher...I believe I calculated it in one of the asteroid threads.

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#### nimbus

##### Guest
Here's a quick & dirty find on google.. Not sure if this is what came up here back on uplink.
(SPACE.com) -- If you're light, it's fairly easy to travel at your own speed -- that is to say 186,282 miles per second or 299,800 kilometers per second.

But if you are matter, then it's another matter altogether.

Nothing we know of zips along more quickly than light. Einstein, nearly 100 years ago, said it's not possible. For us, the speed limit makes strange sense: Go faster than light, and you could return before you've left, become your own grandpa, or other perform other leaps of cosmic logic.

Fast forward a century. Astronomers are now measuring stuff -- material, matter, things -- that moves at so close to the speed of light you might think it'd make Einstein a bit nervous. His theory of relativity appears not to be endangered by the blazing speeds, though.

Among thee speed demons of the universe are Jupiter-sized blobs of hot gas embedded in streams of material ejected from hyperactive galaxies known as blazars. Last week at a meeting here of the American Astronomical Society, scientists announced they had measured blobs in blazar jets screaming through space at 99.9 percent of light-speed.

"This tells us that the physical processes at the cores of these galaxies ... are extremely energetic and are capable of propelling matter very close to the absolute cosmic speed limit," said Glenn Piner of Whittier College in Whittier, California.

Ponder the power of the fast moving superheated gas, known as plasma:

"To accelerate a bowling ball to the speed newly measured in these blazars would require all the energy produced in the world for an entire week," Piner said. "And the blobs of plasma in these jets are at least as massive as a large planet."

The blazar jets are running around the universe in some fast company. Slightly faster, in fact.

In another study presented at the meeting, ultra high-energy cosmic rays thought to originate in a collision of galaxy clusters are slamming into Earth's atmosphere at more than 99.9 percent of the speed of light. Measurements put the number at 99.9 followed by 19 more nines -- about as close to light-speed as you can get without splitting hairs.

The particles are not light, but actual matter. They are tiny, thought to be mostly protons, but the energy that motivates them is similarly fantastic, and the mechanisms may be intertwined.

Scientists still don't know the exact mechanisms involved in accelerating matter to such high speeds, however. In the case of a blazars, it appears a black hole is involved. Anchoring an active galaxy, a supermassive black hole draws gas inward. Some is swallowed, yet some is simply accelerated and then ejected in high-speed jets along the galaxy's axis of rotation. Intense, twisted magnetic fields may play a role.

Some ultra high-energy cosmic rays might originate in blazar jets, Piner told SPACE.com. But other phenomena may serve as particle accelerators in space, such as merging galaxies or colliding black holes.

Piner and his colleagues observed three blazars, known from previous observations to be super speedy, using the National Science Foundation's Very Long Baseline Array radio observatory.

The results confirm the previous work and pin down the speeds with greater accuracy. The phenomenal pace of the plasma blobs looks to have reached a limit.

"All the results from blazar jet observations are in agreement with Einstein's Theory of Special Relativity," Piner said. "The jets are accelerated right up to the edge of the speed-of-light barrier but not beyond, even though these are some of the most efficient accelerators in the universe."
http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/blazing_speed_050118.html
And some discussion over same article, on this thread at Physicsforums

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