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In Two Weeks This 50-Meter Asteroid Will Buzz Our Planet

2012DA14

 Asteroid 2012-DA14 will pass Earth closely on Feb. 15, 2013 (NASA)

On February 15 a chunk of rock about 50 meters wide will whiz by Earth at nearly 8 km/s, coming within 27,680 km of our planet’s surface — closer than many weather and communications satellites.

For those of you more comfortable with imperial units, that’s 165 feet wide traveling 17,800 mph coming within 17,200 miles. But regardless whether you prefer meters or miles, in astronomy that’s what’s called a close call.

Scientists stress that there’s no danger of an impact by this incoming asteroid, designated 2012-DA14, but it’s yet another reminder that in our neck of the Solar System we are definitely not alone.

“2012-DA14 will definitely not hit Earth,” says JPL’s near-Earth object specialist Don Yeomans. “The orbit of the asteroid is known well enough to rule out an impact.”

But with 2012-DA14’s upcoming February flyby Yeomans notes, “this is a record-setting close approach.”

The rocky asteroid will come within about 4 Earth radii, which is well within the orbits of geosynchronous satellites. During its closest approach at 19:26 UTC it should be visible in the sky to amateur telescopes (but not the naked eye), becoming as bright as an 7th- or 8th-magnitude star.

2012da14_s

Radar observatories will be watching 2012-DA14 during the days leading up to and following its approach in an attempt to better determine its size, shape and trajectory. NASA’s Goldstone facility will have an eye — er, dish — on DA14, but it won’t be visible to Arecibo. Stay tuned for more info!

Read more about 2012-DA14 on the JPL Near-Earth Object Program page here.

About 

A graphic designer in Rhode Island, Jason writes about space exploration on his blog Lights In The Dark, Discovery News, and, of course, here on Universe Today. Ad astra!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • rob krol January 30, 2013, 1:22 AM

    he dont hit earth but if he can colide with satelite ?and in efect change orbit to more dangerous ??

    • Jason Major January 30, 2013, 1:45 AM

      There are no satellites in the region where DA14 will be transiting.

    • lcrowell January 30, 2013, 12:53 PM

      Even if the asteroid impacted a satellite that would change the orbit about as much as your car’s velocity changes because you hit a bug.

      LC

  • zkank January 30, 2013, 2:06 AM

    Here’s a fun application for determining your chances…

    http://www.purdue.edu/impactearth

  • Louis Poulas January 30, 2013, 4:14 AM

    When did they discover DA14?

  • Dampe January 30, 2013, 7:53 AM

    if one of these where to collide with the Earth, could scientists accurately predict where it would hit on the surface? So if it where to hit a city like New York, people could evacuate the city in time?

    • Amanda Ross Chaussey January 30, 2013, 2:29 PM

      If something like this hit the Earth, it wouldn’t matter where it hit. Guess why the dinosaurs aren’t here anymore.

      • DinSel1 January 30, 2013, 3:08 PM

        No it would matter. Watch the video fully mate. It explains how much damage it can do.

        Its 50 meters wide. Not 10000 meters (like the one that is supposed to have wiped out asteroids).

        • Skipdallas January 30, 2013, 4:11 PM

          (like the one that is supposed to have wiped out asteroids). Dinosaurs?

          • DinSel1 January 30, 2013, 11:39 PM

            LoL yes, it was very late at night and I was tired.

          • Skipdallas January 30, 2013, 11:41 PM

            Snertle! Just jerking your chain! I knew it was a mind bubble!

    • DinSel1 January 30, 2013, 3:16 PM

      Yes they can predict where on Earth it would fall…. but the problem is the prediction may not be very precise…. until too late….

      The more the Asteroid is being watched, the more of its orbit becomes clear and then calculations become more accurate….

      At first you could tell that it would strike somewhere in North America, then after some time you could narrow it down to East USA, and then you could even narrow it down to what City (or near it) it would hit…..

      If it was on its way to New York? Could NASA find that out in time? How much is “on time” anyway? How many days or weeks does it take to evacuate a City of 20 million??

      Not an easy question to answer.

      • Skipdallas January 30, 2013, 4:09 PM

        Worst case: What could an object this size do to Earth? Would the effects be local, regional, national or global? I really would like to hear the science.

        • DinSel1 January 30, 2013, 11:42 PM

          Well watch the video to the full mate. They do explain it in there. Watch it from 1.39 to 2.24

  • bugzzz January 30, 2013, 9:02 AM

    That’s remarkably close. Amazing how the potential end of humans might just be floating out there somewhere.

  • VenkyORG January 30, 2013, 10:13 AM

    So what are the “GLOBO-COPS” up to? Are they training their super guns already, to minimize if not obliterate the projectile size before it reaches us, ricocheting off a hapless satellite!

  • canderson January 30, 2013, 5:13 PM

    Slightly misleading graphic and headline (“…this 50-meter asteroid…”). The image shown is an artist’s rendering only. We’ve never imaged this thing up close.

  • Brad Forschner January 30, 2013, 8:20 PM

    I’m looking forward to working on the radar assignments with this asteroid.

  • Adam Lenz January 30, 2013, 9:44 PM

    any chance its visible to the naked eye or what part of the world could see it, anyone know a website that might have this information?

    • Jason Major January 31, 2013, 4:33 AM

      It will not be visible without a telescope.

  • Janne Piiroinen January 31, 2013, 12:22 AM

    I wonder if they have ruled out a collision with the moon aswell…

  • Paul Felix Schott January 31, 2013, 11:37 PM

    ALL THAT EVER LIVED ON EARTH WILL SOON HAVE THEIR EYES TO THE HEAVENS

    ALL Should Look Up “2012 DA14″.

    This
    could take out one of more satellites and the junk and debris from the
    hit could end up taking out many more satellites very soon after that.
    All the satellite collision probability will go way up if even one is
    hit. The velocity that the parts would go to would make them missiles
    that would start targeting a chain reaction this would not be good.

    Most
    all will be watching this one and pray it goes by us without a hit.
    Every Scientist alive will be watching this event. Many will be in
    Florida for a very special viewing of the once in a Lifetime Event.
    Professors, Scientist, World Leaders, Ham Radio Operators and Every
    Astronomer will have its eyes on This Event, along with almost every TV
    set on Earth.

    “2012 DA14″ goes by Earth
    twice a
    year and there is no way anyone for sure, can tell how close the second
    pass will be till it passes by the Moon and Earth and the GRAVITATIONAL
    FORCE effect that it will have on this Asteroid.

    They may come
    close but this one is already coming very close to begin with. Too close
    this time or on its second or 3rd pass? Ad a Meteor Shower like the 13
    and 14 of December of 2012, it might go through or bump into one of
    them? Or all the other more then 20,00 pieces of orbital debris like
    Spent Rocket Boosters left in space that can no longer be moved by a
    control center on Earth. Or add a Solar Flare. Or a Comet ISON or its
    tail debris of millions of rocks of all sizes. Not to for get the
    30,000+ pieces of space junk left from China in 2007 from showing the
    world it could shoot a decommissioned weather satellite in Space. Now
    add Asteroid 2013 BV15 into this on the 13 &14 of Feb 2013..

    Feb will have 12
    of them from the 12 to the 16.

    If a big enough Asteroid were to slam into the moon in the night sky you would think the sun was coming up early only
    it would be 5 to 7 times as bright. From The Sun’s Rays Reflection on all the Debris Field.

    2012 XM16, 2012 XM55, 2012 XP55, THERE ARE OVER 25 found
    just in the year 2012 that are part of the Near Earth Object
    Program that will come close to Earth from now till 2012 DA14 comes, Feb 14 – 16, 2013.

    You do not want to know how many are on the “PLANETARY DEFENSE” list.
    The PLANETARY DEFENSE is not to protect Earth from men from Mars.
    It
    is for all mankind with most all Nation in on it to stop if can most
    all collision with EARTH from a ASTEROID IMPACT. It is if you will a
    AVOIDANCE SHIELD. “N.E.O.S. Near Earth Object Shield”.

    If only
    one were to hit or IMPACT EARTH on land get ready for a winter you will
    never forget. The winter from 1883 -1884 KRAKATOA you will think was a
    little pebble, and now the stone comes.

    A Shock Wave was felt in England from a
    Event about 7:15 to 7:20 A.M. Siberia time in the morning in June of
    the year 1908 high in the sky above the Forest in the remote wilderness
    of Tunguska Siberia heard an explosion that laid flat more than 800
    square miles of the forest with all the trees pointing away from the
    center of the blast with most all the trees laying on their side. Some
    trees that were right below the blast were still there looking like
    telephone poles with no bark or branches left on them. This Asteroid did not even hit the Ground and this is known by most as the TUNGUSKA EVENT. For all that lived there it was WORMWOOD Rev 8:11 the wood became full of worms and the rivers water no longer sweet and undrinkable.

    If a Meteor Shower is big enough you might think all the Stars are falling from Heaven.

    About one every 100 years makes it into the Earth’s Atmosphere big enough for all to take note. Some make it to the surface the signs are all over the Planet and moon from the ones that have.

    If you need a visual sign of a collided impact with a planet look to

    “SHOEMAKER – LEVY 9″ July 1994.

    You Need More Look up “PROJECT WORMWOOD” Revelations 8: 10 – 11 based on the “TUNGUSKA EVENT” 1908

    MOSCOW Russia is now saying it will use missiles to intercept Asteroid if need be.

    Better to be safe then sorry.

    GET READY

    Read your Bible
    While you still can,
    and May our Lord GOD Bless all that do so.
    John 14 : 6
    Luke 13 : 27
    Matthew 7 : 20 – 27

    Matthew 12:39

    Matthew 24:3 – 14

    The Lord’s Little Helper.
    Paul Felix Schott.

    December 2013 the Heavens above COMET “C/2012 S1″, “ISON”.

    The day will come when

    ALL
    ON EARTH WILL SEE THIS NO MATTER WHERE YOU ARE. the night side of earth
    will become day and and day will be blinding bright. The Bow Shock from
    the Photo Electric Effect from the Sun’s Solar Wind will really be
    something.

    Shortly there after you will think the stars are falling from the Heavens,

    REV 6:13,

    REV 16:21

    most will be between 60 to 80 pounds that will make it to the ground surface. Nonstop 12 to 14 hours at a time for two days.

    P.S.
    Help others in are Lord’s name Jesus Christ help bring all to know him while you still can.Three kings that were wise men once flowed a star with a long tail 2,000 years ago. That lead them to Jesus Christ wise
    men still look to and hear are Lord Jesus Christ.

  • Jennifer Lynn Nodine February 7, 2013, 11:19 PM

    Has anyone else taken note that on February 13th, both 2012 DA14 and 2013 BV15 will be at the exact same distance from Earth; .0096 AU? I know it’s a great big sky and that their proximity to Earth does not necessarily mean that they will be in the same location in space, but what are they odds that they might collide and send either one hurtling right at us?

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