It is a pretty sunset, but my eyes are focused on a different part of the sky. PL-88335 Pollyanna is due to make its entrance any minute now, roughly above where the Sun had risen earlier today. Discovered a mere few months ago, the astronomers estimated it to weigh in at about one sixty-eth of the Moon. As asteroids on a collision course with Earth go, that is rather large. It was also quite speedy, clocking a respectable (even though, only estimated) 50km/s relative to the Earth surface at the moment of impact.
And there it is! Like a little moonlet in the eastern sky. Wow, 50km/s is a slug's pace when viewed from seven thousand kilometers away. This will take some time apparently. I turn back for a while to enjoy the sunset.
Back to the asteroid again. It's definitely closer now. It's unbelivable how slowly it sinks towards the horizon, but if I really squint I can see it move and ...
Whoa, it light up! It's going so fast even the rarefied upper atmosphere is setting it on fire! There's now a Sun setting in the West, and another doing the same in the East; it's all rather poetic. I never really liked poetry much, but maybe it is excusable when the world is coming to end.
It's under the horizon. Any second now ... and the column of first black, then brownish red then reddish orange smoke and dust confirms it. The impact has occured. I brace myself as a wave of dust and fire higher than the heavens and wide as the horizon is moving toward me.
Somehow something else gets here first. The ground seems to lose all solidity and waves and buckles and everything is thrown in the air and away from the wave of fire. I am in the air ...
Mere moments later, the noise arrives. Surely my eardrums were shot in the first microsecond but I hear this noise. The deaf can hear this noise, the dead can hear it. You don't need ears, it makes your brain slosh all over inside your bone-box. I went to a few concerts where the amps went to 11, this was definitely an 11.5. Point five, at least.
You know how loud sounds tend to be rather samey, but this one is so loud you can't help but hear every nuance. It is like a crunching, smashing, syrupy symphony the texture of which I am not likely to experience ever again.
I wish you were here. You probably don't, but that's your loss, really.
I am a bit out of control, what with the winds and debris narrowly missing me all around, but somehow I manage to steady myself and look at the Moon. It looks red, and somehow burning. Of course, that's just minute particles of dust playing tricks on me. The Moon is fine; it should be happy, it's getting a baby sister.
The stars, to the degree that I can see them anymore, are still there. They are probably enjoying the spectacle of us bopping each other's heads in the crusades, but wait till they get a load of this! And is that- oh my God I daresay I am freaking out right now!
In the Eastern sky- you can tell, that's where most of the fire is- there are several large fragments that look like shards of an eggshell. Just majestically spinning in the sky. Look, that one must have been Tuva, a land well renowned for its colourful traditions and history. And you just know that Tuva really shouldn't be floating in the sky like that. Nonetheless, there it is!
There seem to be shell fragments everywhere around that I look now- that one could have been our neighbouring country. I wave friendly-like in their general direction. Damn, should have packed a telescope in case somebody waved back.
Being of a light frame I seem to be flying a lot higher up than most of the ground around me, and there's quite the view to savour. Too bad the lighting conditions are inadequate for pictures to be taken. A damn shame, such things don't happen in several billions of years. You really should have been here.
There's clumps of amorphic red blobs floating between the shell shards. That one might have been responsible for the earthquakes in the Pacific. Bet it's all red with shame now that it's met a real pro.
The wave of dirt and fire seems to be all over the place now, but there's suddenly so many more places for dust to be that it doesn't upset vision much. Shards of stone floating and spinning in the sky, magma oceans raging below, the burning red sky and the amber, former Earth leave me with few words to describe this.
The Moon seems rather bigger now. I wonder about horizons, and whether the idea of them makes any more sense when the whole place is smashed.
You might be wondering, how is it that I can write all this. I wonder the same.
I thought the oxygen would run out in five minutes tops.