comScore The Universe's Christmas Gift (Spoilers: It's an Asteroid) | The Mary Sue

The Universe Has a Gift for Us This Christmas (Spoilers: It’s an Asteroid)

pickle asteroid

It seems that Earth is the place to be for the holidays, because right after our visit from “Spooky” the Halloween “asteroid” (which was actually a dead comet), we now have Asteroid 2003 SD220, AKA asteroid 163899 on its way to pay us a Christmas visit. That may have sounded more ominous than I intended. I apologize.

The asteroid will make its closest approach to Earth on Christmas Eve of all days, which would make it a fun holiday gift for the amateur (or professional!) astronomer in your life. It clocks in at about 1.25 miles long, and is travelling at about 17.5 miles/second.

What strikes me the most about this asteroid is its shape; Gizmodo referred to it as a pickle or a chicken finger. Personally, I find that I agree with the “chicken finger” assessment. But if we’re staying with holiday-themed names, then it totally looks like a certain, uh… holiday character from a popular television show.

How long ’til you think they make that joke?

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Jessica Lachenal is a writer who doesn’t talk about herself a lot, so she isn’t quite sure how biographical info panels should work. But here we go anyway. She's the Weekend Editor for The Mary Sue, a Contributing Writer for The Bold Italic (thebolditalic.com), and a Staff Writer for Spinning Platters (spinningplatters.com). She's also been featured in Model View Culture and Frontiers LA magazine, and on Autostraddle. She hopes this has been as awkward for you as it has been for her.