On February 15, an asteroid half the size of a football field will fly past Earth, only 17,200 miles above our planet’s surface.

This is the first time an object this large has been seen so close to Earth since NEO sky surveys began in the 1990’s.

Asteroid 2012 DA14 was discovered by amateur astronomers at the La Sagra Observatory in Spain on February 22, 2012. Orbital calculations show there’s no danger of 2012 DA14 actually hitting Earth, but it’s a pity we don’t have a quick-reaction sortie vehicle or tug that could get into position for a close look as it whizzes by. Such a vehicle would have a wide range commercial and military applications; the occassional rare science opportunity like this would be just an added bonus.

The Virtual Telescope Project will be holding a live coverage event starting at 22:00 Universal Time (5:00 PM EST, 2:00 PM PST) on February 15.

Written by Astro1 on January 28th, 2013 , Astronomy, Planetary Defense

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COMMENTS
    Chris Landau commented

    What about spectroscopic analysis. Is there any certainty that Asteroid 2012 DA14 will be a stony asteroid, a carbon chondrite, a nickel iron or a stony iron.
    It really will be a close shave. Passing above the Earth at only 17200 miles on February 15, 2013. That is not nearly enough time to mount a fully fledged doomsday marketing campaign.

    Chris Landau January 28,2013

    Reply
    January 28, 2013 at 10:23 pm
    james edwards commented

    I think that science and specifically space research has made incredible inroads to NEO’s and a better understanding overall about asteroids and space… I hope as we develop greater technology that our passion for space research, especially in our solar system increases significantly. Not only will these triumphs give us a better understand of what surrounds our planet, but create enthusiasm which many amateur astronomers have witnessed and involved themselves with enhancing this hobby and to that mankinds oldest known science. Kodoo’s La Sagra , seguir mirando hacia el cielo amigos!!!

    Reply
    February 1, 2013 at 11:56 am