Something to Say with Keith Newbery: Apparently, there are 981 ‘planet-killer’ objects orbiting Earth

Sadly, my gaze was not tilted heavenwards the other Saturday evening so I missed the display of celestial fireworks caused by a meteorite marking its glorious passage across the night sky.

Had I witnessed such cosmic coruscation, I would have resisted the temptation to do what hundreds did apparently – and phoned the police.

There are two reasons for this.

Firstly, I’m not sure what the best efforts of the local constabulary could have achieved, and secondly I would have flinched at the cynical barbs certain to have been aimed in my direction.

“What’s that you say sir? You’ve seen a bright light streaking across the sky over Hetton-le-Hole and you’d like me to find out what’s going on?

“Certainly sir. If you’ll just hold the line, I’ll jump into my space rocket and pop up for a look. Evenin’ all.”

It seems heavenly bodies (like people) prefer to make an exhibition of themselves on Saturday nights, because on February 15 next year a lump of rock - said to be half the size of a football pitch - is due to pass just 17,000 miles from Earth.

The orbit of the asteroid (or 2012 DA14 as it’s been catchily named) will take it beneath some communication satellites and with any luck could impair reception of Match of the Day.

On behalf of police forces everywhere, I’d like to issue a plea for people to remain calm if this happens, because seeing the smug faces of Messrs Lineker, Hansen and Shearer reduced to sizzling interference is a price well worth paying.

Apparently, there are more than 20,000 asteroids and comets within striking distance of Earth, and I’d like to know why none of them has been given a name.

We are quick enough to bestow cosy monikers upon hurricanes, yet their destructive capabilities are as nothing compared to the devastation which would be caused by a glancing blow from 2012 DA14 or one of its celestial siblings.

Asteroid Susan or Comet Nigel sounds far friendlier than an arbitrary and sinister string of numbers and letters – but it’s their big brothers and sisters we should be concerned about.

Apparently, there are 981 ‘planet-killer’ objects orbiting Earth – and Nasa has discovered only 911 of them.

It’s the other 70 I’m worried about...


Morrissey may be a pretentious little whinger, but he certainly knows how to work an audience.

While appearing in Buenos Aires, he got his band to wear ‘we hate William and Kate’ t-shirts – an incredibly grown-up thing to do.

And just for good measure, he told the crowd ‘we all know the Falklands are Argentina’s.’

I can’t wait for him to perform in Scotland, where ‘we luv Alex Salmond’ baseball caps will be the order of the day and haggises (or should that be haggii?) will be thrown into the audience.

Morrissey no doubt regards himself as something of a radical – but real rebels defy a baying crowd, they don’t go out of their way to pander to it.