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Asteroid 2012 DA14 flies past the Earth

Posted on Saturday, 16 February, 2013 | Comment icon 57 comments | News tip by: 27vet

Image credit: NASA

The 50m asteroid passed closer to the Earth than any other large asteroid in recorded history.

The record-breaking close approach saw the rock pass within just 27,700km of the planet which is within the orbit of geosynchronous satellites. If it hit then it would have had enough destructive force to wipe out a city the size of London along with far-reaching environmental consequences, however as predicted it safely passed us by and is now heading back off in to space.

"When asteroids come this close, it's very important to try to learn about them - it's become so bright, so it's so easy to study," said Prof Alan Fitzsimmons of Queens University. "We get an additional insight into these small objects, which are the most likely impactors on Earth." Thousands of people around the world looked to the skies with binoculars, telescopes and the naked eye to try and catch a glimpse of the rock as it hurtled past.

"An asteroid as large as an Olympic swimming pool has raced past the Earth at a distance of just 27,700km (17,200mi) - the closest ever predicted for an object of that size."

  View: Full article |  Source: BBC News

  Discuss: View comments (57)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #48 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 16 February, 2013, 0:13
Observatory in Australia around the time of its closest approach, 11:24:42 a.m. PST (2:24:42 p.m. EST, or 19:24:24 UTC), Feb. 15, 2013. At that time, the asteroid was about 17,150 miles (27,600 kilometers) above Earth's surface. The asteroid appears streaked because the telescope was focused on the stars while the asteroid passed through the field of view. Images courtesy of Gingin Observatory/Tonello
Comment icon #49 Posted by AsteroidX on 16 February, 2013, 0:14
I thought it was cool they predicted 17,200miles and thats exactly how close it came.
Comment icon #50 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 16 February, 2013, 0:16
This set of images from the La Sagra Sky Survey, operated by the Astronomical Observatory of Mallorca in Spain, shows the passage of asteroid 2012 DA14 shortly after its closest – and safe -- approach to Earth. The images were taken around 12:59 p.m. PST (3:59 p.m. EST, or 20:59 UTC) on Feb. 15, 2013. The images have been sped up 10 times. In the last set of images, the fainter object that passes near the top of the field of view is a satellite or another asteroid. Images courtesy of La Sagra Sky Survey
Comment icon #51 Posted by the L on 16 February, 2013, 12:40
There is no major disasters on cosmic scales. Even stars have life time. From dust, yellow sun, red giant, red dwarf, pulsar or black hole. When our solar will come to end we will be devoured by the sun. Eaten then spit out and from our dust new planet or star will be formed. Its cycle. Humans will survive, imo. Even if we dont inhabit another world. Stars will create us in different part of cosmos and in different time. We are star stuff and we are solar powered-staff. Plants use solar power to convert it into chemical power. We are parasites on plants.
Comment icon #52 Posted by Sundew on 16 February, 2013, 13:43
It would have been a bigger deal had it enter our atmosphere and skipped off of it like a stone on water. A few space rocks have been caught on camera doing this, blazing a trail across the sky before returning to space. Now that would be a close encounter! Had this hit Russia like the meteorite, it might have been another Tunguska.
Comment icon #53 Posted by Sundew on 16 February, 2013, 13:56
[list] [*] [/list] Thomas Dolby - N.E.O., from Gate to the Mind's Eye.
Comment icon #54 Posted by stevewinn on 16 February, 2013, 15:09
well in work i had my work mates out on the roof all looking at the plough, to see if we could catch a glimpse of the asteroid, we didnt have binoculars or anything, so our chances were next to nil. but it go them talking about space, and asking questions about the other stars in the night sky. so the more of these events we have the better it will be to get more people involved in space/astronomy. when will this asteroid next pass by?
Comment icon #55 Posted by bison on 16 February, 2013, 15:43
The asteroid's encounter with Earth seems to have spoiled the synchronization of the two, which had them coming fairly close to each other each February. The next moderately close encounter will now be on Feb. 15th, 2046. That will amount to some 2,697,000 miles; not really close at all, by the standard set yesterday.
Comment icon #56 Posted by coolguy on 16 February, 2013, 20:13
I wish we could have seen this in north American.there was another comet caught om camera in California..
Comment icon #57 Posted by stevewinn on 17 February, 2013, 11:15
oh well, not that long to wait. we have the comet later in the year to look forward to, the one billed as the brightest comet for a century. ISON.

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