Update 2/15/13 – Asteroid 2012 DA14 has safely passed Earth and is now moving away from us. The asteroid close approach was 17,500 miles as predicted. This asteroid was not related to the Russian Meteor that fell in Russia today. You can read more about the Russian Meteor here.
Post updated 2/13/13 – Asteroid 2012 is closing in and will have a close approach on the 15th of February. This is a well tracked object and were in no danger but it will indeed pass very close…closer than some of our own orbiting satellites. There has been a lot of press on this one but worry not…the sun will rise on the 16th and all will be well.
NASA Television will provide commentary starting at 11 a.m. PST (2 p.m. EST) on Friday, Feb. 15, during the close, but safe, flyby.
The half-hour broadcast from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., will incorporate real-time animation to show the location of the asteroid in relation to Earth, along with live or near real-time views of the asteroid from observatories in Australia, weather permitting.
In addition to the commentary, near real-time imagery of the asteroid’s flyby before and after closest approach, made available to NASA by astronomers in Australia and Europe, weather permitting, will be streamed beginning at about 9 a.m. PST (noon EST) and continuing through the afternoon at the following website: http://www.ustream.tv/nasajpl2
A Ustream feed of the flyby from a telescope at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., will be streamed for three hours starting at 6 p.m. PST (8 p.m. CST / 9 p.m. EST). To view the feed and ask researchers questions about the flyby via Twitter, visit: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/nasa-msfc
Discovered by the LaSagra observatory in southern Spain, the small asteroid 2012 DA14 will pass within about 3.5 Earth radii of the Earth’s surface on February 15, 2013. Although its size is not well determined, this near-Earth asteroid is thought to be about 45 meters in diameter. Asteroid 2012 DA14 will pass inside the geosynchronous satellite ring, located about 35,800 km above the equator. Its orbit about the sun can bring it no closer to the Earth’s surface than 3.2 Earth radii on February 15, 2013. On this date, the asteroid will travel rapidly from the southern evening sky into the northern morning sky with its closest Earth approach occurring about 19:26 UTC when it will achieve a magnitude of less than seven, which is somewhat fainter than naked eye visibility. About 4 minutes after its Earth close approach, there is a good chance it will pass into the Earth’s shadow for about 18 minutes or so before reappearing from the eclipse. When traveling rapidly into the northern morning sky, 2012 DA14 will quickly fade in brightness.