Asteroid Passes Earth

February 17, 2013 by  

Asteroid Passes Earth, At 19:25 UTC today (2:25 p.m. Eastern US time), the asteroid 2012 DA14 will be at its closest approach to Earth. At that time, it will be about 27,000 kilometers (17,000 miles) above the surface of the Earth, give or take a few clicks. At 50 meters in diameter the asteroid will be dim even at that distance, only visible via binoculars or a telescope…and even then, you have to be on the right side of the Earth to even get a chance! That means eastern Europe, Australia, and Asia. It won’t be visible until nighttime in the US (of course), long after closest approach, but big ‘scopes will still get a view.

Happily, though, several observatories will be broadcasting live shots of the asteroid as it passes. I have a list below. But first, I want to reiterate that this rock will miss us, it poses no threat now or in the near-to-middling future, and that in fact this is a good thing. We get practice observing a small rock and getting a better orbit characterization for it, and it also raises public awareness that these suckers are out there and a potential threat.

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