The Truth About the “September 2015 Asteroid Impact”

Maybe you have seen one of the alarming videos or emails circulating around the internet claiming that the End is Nigh. The claim is that an enormous dinosaur-killer of an asteroid is going to smash into the Earth sometime between 15-28 September 2015. The scary predictions say that the asteroid will come down in the Atlantic Ocean near Puerto Rico, causing a “300ft tsunami” and a “Magnitude 12” earthquake which will lay waste to the eastern seaboards of the USA, Mexico and central and southern American nations (European nations will be devastated, specifically Spain, Holland and England, too). Thirty million lives will be lost in the month after the impact, and 40 million more are destined to die from plagues and in civil disorder in the following seven months. Is this terrifying vision of the future going to happen? Unsurprisingly the answer is absolutely no. This prediction is false.

(UPDATE: As nothing happened in September some people are now claiming that an asteroid will impact the Earth in December 2015. This new prediction is also false.)



Radar imagery of asteroid Toutatis taken by NASA's Goldstone Solar System Radar in December 2012. The orbit of Toutatis is well understood. An analysis indicates there is zero possibility of an Earth impact over the entire interval over which its motion can be accurately computed, which is about the next four centuries. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Radar imagery of the near Earth asteroid Toutatis taken by NASA’s Goldstone Solar System Radar in December 2012. Thanks to studies like this the orbit of Toutatis is well understood. There is zero possibility of this asteroid hitting Earth over the entire interval over which its motion can be accurately computed, which is about the next four centuries. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)


This prediction is not based on science. No known asteroid or comet is on a collision course with Earth. I am only writing about this nonsensical claim because over the years I have learned that there are people who become genuinely distressed and anxious by false predictions of disaster like this. (If you are very worried by this false story and in live in the UK, why not call AnxietyUK on 08444 775774 to discuss your concerns with a sympathetic listener? Similarly if you live in the USA, there are resources listed on the ADAA website that you may find helpful.)

The claim that this doomsday asteroid is heading our way apparently originated from one Reverend Efrain Rodriguez who has since 2010 promoted in videos and interviews his belief that this forthcoming disaster has been divinely revealed to him. Rodriguez does not claim to have discovered the asteroid or to have calculated its orbit, contending instead that its approach was supernaturally announced to him. He says

God showed me a large rock, an Asteroid, entering the airspace of the town of Arecibo in Puerto Rico, and exiting Mayagüez, heading to the ocean. This will be at 2am. This rock will be making impact in the sea between the island of Mona and Mayagüez. It will hit an active earthquake fault found in that area of the Caribbean, causing a very strong 12 point earthquake that has never been seen. 12 degrees means the Presence of God on the Earth.

He sent NASA a letter in November 2012 outlining his bleak view of the future but received no response. I imagine it was filed under “G” for Garbage.  Rodriguez says that world governments are aware of the approaching menace but are cynically going to evacuate their leaderships to safety without warning the general populace because a population reduction suits their globalist political agenda. However Rodriguez also disapprovingly says that the USA is planning to try to avert disaster:

They are preparing spacecrafts to receive and destroy the asteroid upon arrival to Earth. Also, Obama sent about 40 missiles to PR [Puerto Rico], to try to destroy the asteroid in the sky, so that it may fall on Puerto Rico, and not at sea. The prophet of God Efrain warned them not to press the Buttons “Do No do it!”  he said. “Do Not interfere with the plans of the Lord.”

In reality, no such spacecraft or missiles exist. His belief that even attempting to save millions of  human lives is wrong says much about Rev. Rodriguez and his theology. He seems to preach a grim gospel of despair, offering no future but misery to his congregations.

To be fair to Rodriguez, he seem to have disassociated himself from the September 2015 dates, but these are being promoted by his followers notably someone operating under the name “Light of Mary”. Rodriquez professes that the impact is definitely coming but he cannot say exactly when (except that the impact will occur at 2am and there will be a full Moon in the sky). A lunar eclipse (which is not called a “blood moon”) will be visible over the Americas and western Europe on 28 September 2015  (for more on this amazing spectacle- you should go outside and watch it- see our article The Truth About the Blood Moon Tetrad) and some disaster hoax proponents declare this to be ominous but this is, like all prophesies of doom linked to eclipses, merely superstitious nonsense.

It is significant that Rodriguez has in the past stated precise dates for his apocalypse (in 2013 and 2014) but these have passed by without incident. Rodriguez has also predicted other events, notably the death of one his critics, but none of these have happened either. Rev. Rodriguez is unsure of the disaster’s timing but is certain of its location. According to him Puerto Rico is to be devastated because of its (in his view) uniquely sinful society. In his own words:

Puerto Rico will be the epicenter of Jehovah’s wrath. The island is polluted with sin, adulterers parade in churches, pastors just want tithes and offerings

The day the dinosaurs died. (Image credit: Don Davis/NASA)

An artist’s depiction of the impact 65 million years ago which ended the reign of the non-avian dinosaurs. Nothing like this is predicted for the near future. (Image credit: Don Davis/NASA)


Despite his hopeless message and failed prophesies, Rodriguez has many followers worldwide who have proclaimed him to be a prophet and compare him to Noah and Abraham. Rev. Rodriguez makes no secret of his strong political opinions (he seems to intensely dislike President Obama) which are heavily featured in his proclamations. Thanks to the currently remarkably toxic and irrational political climate in the USA this has meant his views have been even more widely circulated by people who may not believe in his apocalyptic visions but want to promote his paranoid-seeming current affairs agenda.

Among many unusual declarations from Rodriguez are his support for claims that guillotines have been procured for future executions of those who criticise President Obama and that thousands of French, German, Russian and Chinese soldiers are already stationed in Puerto Rico with the intention of seizing control from the local authorities after the disaster (surely if Rodriguez is correct about the impact zone, Puerto Rico would be among the worst places to base this invasion force…) Ridiculous as these may sound, unfortunately thousands of people seem to take these seriously. Deliberately adding to the confusion were other lying emails and YouTube videos alleging that “Jade Helm“, a US military exercise scheduled for 15 July to 15 September 2015, was really a cover for disaster preparations. The military finished and packed up their gear on 15 September without incident.


Arecibo Observatory radar images of asteroid 1992 UY4, which has a diameter of 2 kilometers, made from four days’ observation in August 2005. (Image credit: Lance Benner/Jet Propulsion Laboratory)

The giant radio telescope at Arecibo Observatory  in Puerto Rico has an important role in studying near Earth objects. Here are radar images of  2km wide asteroid 1992 UY4  made from four days’ observation from  Arecibo in August 2005. (Image credit: Lance Benner/Jet Propulsion Laboratory)


Of course there is a very, very small chance that in the near future a dangerous impact could occur. Astronomers around the world know of 1593 Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) at the time of writing. This may sound an alarming large number but the criteria to be put on the list is very wide. PHAs are broadly defined as all asteroids 150 m (500 ft) or more in diameter which could come within 0.05 au (about 7.5 million km or 4.65 million miles) of Earth. This distance is about twenty times the distance from the Earth to the Moon.

Objects on the PHA list are monitored and the details of their orbits refined to predict the possibility of close approaches to Earth. One asteroid  on the PHA list, 2014 UR116, has been linked by some parties to Rodriguez’s false prediction. Discovered by Russian scientists, asteroid 2014 UR116 poses no impact threat to Earth (or any other planet) for at least the next 150 years.

Other asteroids, 2012 TT5 and 2015 GA14,  have been untruthfully named by some websites and newspapers (whose editors should be ashamed of themselves) as possible impacting objects in September 2015. Again these tales are incorrect, on 23 September 2015 GA14 will pass about 0.2 au (1au=93 million miles or 150 million km) of Earth, so it will miss Earth by 30 million km! On 24 September 2015 2012 TT5 will come to about 0.055 au of Earth, so it is going to miss Earth by 5 million miles! During this “close approach” 2012 TT5 will be twenty times further than the Moon from the Earth. Sadly one website which I refuse to link to or publicize has claimed that NASA has marked 2012 TT5 as 6 on the Torino Impact Hazard Scale . This is false, all known objects (as of early September 2015) are rated at o on the Torino Scale (=”the likelihood of a collision is zero, or is so low as to be effectively zero”) .

No comets or asteroids are currently known to be on orbits which will ever cause them to collide with Earth.

Compared with other natural disasters such as earthquakes and severe storms, the hazard from asteroid or comet impacts is small.

Reverend Rodriguez has no known scientific qualifications or connections. His prophesy of disaster is nonsense and appears largely based on his religious and political prejudices. Science has not predicted that a giant asteroid or comet is going to devastate Earth this September. If anyone sends you an email or a link to a video about this foolishness read or watch them if you really want but please do not take them seriously. The people who spread this sort of stuff ought to be ashamed of themselves.

(UPDATE: As nothing happened in September some of the supporters of Reverend Rodriguez are now claiming that an asteroid will impact the Earth in December 2015. Once again this new prediction is false.)

You might also find this video interesting.


You may also be interested in our other articles covering false predictions of comet disasters. Just read the comments to see how afraid or angry some people were about these back then, yet nothing happened and we are still here:

10 Things You Need to Know About Comet ISON

10 Facts You Need to Know About Comet Elenin


(Article by Colin Johnston, Science Education Director. Updated 9 November 2015. Quotes from Rev. Rodriguez used above found at )



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