Sunday, February 10, 2013

Asteroid 2012 DA14 - A Meteoric Close Shave Predicted

Depiction of the trajectory of asteroid 2012 DA14 on Feb 15, 2013. In this view,
we are looking down from above Earth's north pole.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech


There is a 150ft wide rock headed for Earth.   Traveling between 12,427mph (20,000kph) and 18,641mph (30,000kph), asteroid 2012 DA14 is expected to fly by, even closer than the orbits of high geostationary telecommunications and weather satellites.   Some of those satellites are 22,000 miles (35,406km) above Earth.   However, experts calculate that on February 15, 2013, 2012 DA14 will skim by Earth at a distance of approximately 17,200 miles (27,681km).

Well, that's a relief!   A 330ft meteor is believed to have been the cause of the 1908 explosion over a remote region of Siberia, known as Tunguska.   Although that object exploded a short distance above the ground, it generated a blast that was 1000 times more destructive than the A-bomb dropped on Hiroshima.   The 1908 explosion completely flattened 830 square miles (2,150 sq km) of Tunguska forest.

Don't put off getting those flowers, chocolates, or other Valentine treats for your honey.   2012 DA14 is predicted to be at it closest approach at approximately 1:30 PM Friday (the 15th), Texas time.  

-Sunny Williams


NASA's Near Earth Object Program, 2012 DA14 Earth Impact Risk Summary

NASA 2012 DA14 Flyby with videos

Near-Earth Asteroid 2012 DA14 to make extremely close approach in February 2013   


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