Live Blog: Asteroid 2012 DA14 approaches Earth
February 15th, 2013
01:42 PM ET

Live Blog: Asteroid 2012 DA14 approaches Earth

It's not going to crash here, but it's still exciting! An asteroid made its closest pass by Earth at around 2:24 p.m. ET, flying about 17,200 miles above Earth’s surface. It’s estimated to be about 150 feet (45 meters) across with an estimated mass of 130,000 metric tons.

The flyby was the closest ever predicted for an object this large, according to NASA.  The asteroid, called 2012 DA14, flew between Earth and the satellites that ring the planet 22,200 miles up.

Scientists think there may be 500,000 asteroids the size of 2012 DA14, but fewer than 1% have been located.

NASA says the asteroid is entirely unrelated to the meteor that exploded over Russia Friday.

Check back for live updates beginning at 2 p.m.

2:27 p.m. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory will continue to stream images at http://www.ustream.tv/nasajpl2. More information is available at http://www.nasa.gov/asteroidflyby.

2:25 p.m. We survived! The asteroid has passed its closest approach, and is now heading away from Earth.

2:24 p.m. Paul Chodas is back. He says the orbit will shrink a little. It could make a close approach again in the year 2046. We can predict its path through most of the 21st century, he says.

2:20 p.m. Lance Benner from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory talks about the Goldstone Solar System Radar, which is useful in measuring the size, shape, rotation state. Scientists want to better understand its motion.

The asteroid appears to rotate about once every six hours, he says. "It's conceivable that it could be somewhat larger or smaller" than the estimate of 150 feet. He'll be heading out in about an hour to get more data about this space rock.

2:14 p.m. A visualization tool called Eyes on the Solar System uses data on DA14 to track the asteroid in real time. You can visit this website to look around the entire solar system in an interactive way, including the asteroid.

2:10 p.m. Talking about the Russian meteor: The two events are unrelated. "It's simply a coincidence" that they happened to come near the Earth on the same day.

An amateur group in Spain spotted the 2012 DA14 asteroid. NASA-funded surveys have found 95% of near-Earth objects.

The Gingin observatory is observing the streaking of the asteroid. It's amazing how bright the asteroid is on its approach, says Paul Chodas of the Near Earth Object team. The reason it streaks: It moves during the time exposure of the telescope, he says.

Auriol Heary at the Gingin Observatory in Australia says there are very clear skies. "The Milky Way is so clear you can almost touch it."

2:04 p.m. If you're in Eastern Europe, Asia or Australia, you could see this object with binoculars or a telescope, says NASA's Don Yeomans, who gave CNN a Science Seat interview this week.

2 p.m. NASA says we know the closest approach of this asteroid will be about 2:25 p.m., but "closest approach" takes hours. From that point on, it will be flying away from the planet. NASA is showing images, both from hobbyists in Australia.

The Gingin Observatory, near the town of Perth, Australia, on the Western side, is capturing a great view of the asteroid moving.

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Filed under: In Space
soundoff (150 Responses)
  1. Owen

    this was pretty cool at the time, i see now NASA scientists are looking at the feasibility of harvesting astoeriods!
    the articel about it is on here http://newsmoves.com

    July 21, 2013 at 8:37 pm |
  2. katalog stron seo darmowy

    Sufficient for the day is the Car il y a dos lâches et des déserteurs dans.

    March 1, 2013 at 7:21 am |
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