The flyby of asteroid 2012 DA14 on Feb. 15, 2013, will be the closest known approach to Earth for an object its size.


Asteroid 2012 DA 14 is an object about half the size of a football field in diameter that is going to pass very close to the Earth on Feb. 15th

Coming from the south to the north, to actually gets to within 17,200 miles of the Earth’s surface, and will pass interior to the geosynchronous satellites and the GPS satellites, but there’s really no chance of the asteroid hitting the Earth and very little change it will hit a satellite. Unfortunately the answer is no. It’s going to be brighter than most asteroids but still is not going to be a naked eye object.

The asteroid was discovered by a group of Spanish astronomers in La Sagra observatory in southern Spain. It’s going very fast It’ll be hard to track and you have to be located in Eastern Europe or in Asia or possibly Australia.

An object the size of DA 14 actually impacted the Earth on June 30th 1908. The so-called “Tunguska event.” An object about 30or 40 meters came down in the Earth’s atmosphere and exploded leveling trees for 820 square miles.

The close approach of this object 2012 DA 14 on Feb 15 is nothing to worry about. Its orbit is very well known. We know exactly where it’s going to go and it cannot hit the Earth.

20 years ago, you probably wouldn’t have found this object. But now NASA is observing the skies nightly and picking up these objects and we track them for a hundred years into the future and see if any of them make interesting close Earth approaches. Not only because of the threat issue but because these objects are important for science, they’re important for future resources, as well as threats.
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