Friday, February 15, 2013

Ready for the asteroid encounter today?

NASA Television on YouTube: ScienceCast: Record-Setting Asteroid Flyby

On Feb. 15th an asteroid about half the size of a football field will fly past Earth closer than many man-made satellites. Since regular sky surveys began in the 1990s, astronomers have never seen an object so big come so close to our planet. Asteroid to Give Earth Record-Setting Close Shave on Feb. 15
by Staff
Date: 01 February 2013 Time: 05:30 PM ET
An asteroid half the size of a football field will give Earth the ultimate close shave this month, passing closer than many satellites when it whizzes by, but it won't hit the planet, NASA scientists say.

The asteroid 2012 DA14 will fly by Earth on Feb. 15 and zip within 17,200 miles (27, 680 kilometers) of the planet during the cosmic close encounter. The asteroid will approach much closer to Earth than the moon, and well inside the paths of navigation and communications satellites.

"This is a record-setting close approach," Don Yeomans, the head of NASA's asteroid-tracking program, said in a statement. "Since regular sky surveys began in the 1990s, we've never seen an object this big get so close to Earth."
Even as close as it will come, it won't be visible with the naked eye.  Even if it were, it wouldn't be visible from North America; the asteroid will be passing over Australia and Asia.  However, NASA will be live-streaming video this afternoon at their page for the encounter.  Enjoy your remote view!

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