Here’s the latest video of the fast approaching asteroid named 2012 DA14 that’s screeching towards our planet and set to give us all a very close shave this afternoon, shortly after 2 PM EST. NASA TV will provide Live coverage starting at 2 PM EST.
Australian astronomer Jonathan Bradshaw at the Samford Valley Observatory in Brisbane, Australia, imaged the asteroid earlier today as it streaked across the night sky at 12:59 UTC on Feb. 15 (7:59 a.m. EST, or 4:59 a.m. PST). The movie has been sped up 50 times.
The close approach follows closely on the heels of the totally unrelated and unexpected shocking meteor explosion in the atmosphere over Russia earlier today – read more here.
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The resulting shock wave from the air blast of the meteor injured over 1000 people, including 200 children from blown out windows and damaged buildings. There are unconfirmed reports that a few meteorite fragments hit the ground.
NASA says the Russian meteor was about 15 meters in diameter and may have been the biggest since the 1908 Tunguska event – but still to be determined.
NASA’s Planetary Science Division chief Jim Green says there is no chance that Asteroid 2012 DA14 will impact Earth today.
“The asteroid 2012 DA 14 cannot hit Earth”, says Don Yeomans, NASA’s foremost asteroid expert.
Watch this video:
At closest approach, the 45 meter (150 feet) wide Asteroid 2012 DA14 will zoom by within an altitude of 27,700 kilometers (17,200 miles). That is some 8000 km (5000 miles) inside the ring of geosynchronous weather and communication satellites.
That is only about 1/13th of the distance to the moon at its closest.
The asteroid passes will speed by at about 7.8 kilometers per second (17,400 MPH, 4.8 miiles per second) – or about 8 times the speed of a rifle bullet.
NASA is also providing a live Ustream video – here
Here is a list of FAQs about Asteroids, Comets and Meteors and more from NASA and NASA’s Near Earth Objects program office
Read my preview story – here
Best chance for observing in the night sky is from Eastern Europe, Asia and Australia where it might reach about 7.5 magnitude, somewhat fainter than naked eye visibility – and using binoculars or a small 2 inch or so telescope.