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UPDATE: Close But Safe Flyby of Asteroid 2012 DA14 On Feb.15

14 February, 2013

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MessageToEagle.com - Like trailers for the coming attraction, new images show asteroid 2012 DA14 on its way to a record-close approach to Earth on Feb. 15.

The flyby of 2012 DA14 is the closest-ever predicted approach to Earth for an object this large.

One image, taken by amateur astronomer Dave Herald of Murrumbateman, Australia, on Feb. 13, shows the asteroid as a tiny white dot in the field of view. Another set of animated images, obtained by the Faulkes Telescope South in Siding Springs, Australia, on Feb. 14, and animated by the Remanzacco Observatory in Italy, shows the asteroid as a bright spot moving across the night sky.

These are some of many images that may be taken of the asteroid during its close - but safe - encounter with Earth. It will be observed by numerous optical observatories worldwide in an attempt to determine its rough shape, spin rate and composition.

NASA scientists will use NASA's Goldstone Solar System Radar, located in California's Mojave Desert, to take radar images of the asteroid to determine its precise size and shape on Feb. 16, 18, 19 and 20. The NASA Near Earth Object Observation (NEOO) Program will continue to track the asteroid and predict its future orbit.


This animated set of three images depicts asteroid 2012 DA14 as it was seen on Feb. 14, 2013, at a distance of 465,000 miles (748,000 kilometers). The animation was created by astronomers at the Remanzacco Observatory in Italy using observations obtained remotely from the Faulkes Telescope South in Siding Springs, Australia. Image Image credit: LCOGT/Faulkes



Click on image to enlarge

This image from D. Herald of Murrumbateman, Australia, shows the asteroid 2012 DA14 as a tiny speck in the center of the field of view. It was taken just past midnight on Feb. 13, 2013 in Australia (the morning of Feb. 12 in the U.S.), as it headed towards its closest approach to Earth on Feb. 15. Image credit: D. Herald


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Near-Earth asteroid 2012 DA14 - only about 45 meters (150 feet) across - will pass very close to Earth on February 15, so close that it will pass inside the ring of geosynchronous weather and communications satellites.

NASA's Near-Earth Object Program Office can accurately predict the asteroid's path with the observations obtained, and it is therefore known that there is no chance that the asteroid might be on a collision course with Earth.

NASA Television will provide commentary starting at 11 a.m. PST (2 p.m. EST) on Friday, Feb. 15, during the close, but safe, flyby of a small near-Earth asteroid named 2012 DA14. NASA places a high priority on tracking asteroids and protecting our home planet from them. This flyby will provide a unique opportunity for researchers to study a near-Earth object up close.



Click on image to enlarge

Diagram depicting the passage of asteroid 2012 DA14 through the Earth-moon system on Feb. 15, 2013. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech


The half-hour broadcast from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., will incorporate real-time animation to show the location of the asteroid in relation to Earth, along with live or near real-time views of the asteroid from observatories in Australia, weather permitting. At the time of its closest approach to Earth at approximately 11:25 a.m. PST (2:25 p.m. EST / 19:25 UTC), the asteroid will be about 17,150 miles (27,600 kilometers) above Earth's surface.


Record-Setting Asteroid Flyby


The commentary will be available via NASA TV and streamed live online at: http://www.nasa.gov/ntv and http://www.ustream.tv/nasajpl2.

These real-time simulations depict asteroid 2012 DA14 in its orbit around the sun and provide the asteroid's current distance from Earth. 2012 DA14 will have a close, but safe, pass by Earth on Feb. 15, 2013 at 2:25 p.m. EST (19:25 UTC). At that time, the asteroid will pass no closer than 17,000 miles above the surface of Earth over Indonesia.

The simulations, created with NASA's Eyes on the Solar System, refresh every two minutes.


Click on image to enlarge


Asteroid 2012 DA14 Flight Path

An animation depicting the trajectory of asteroid 2012 DA14 as it travels within the Earth-moon system on Feb. 15, 2013.


In addition to the commentary, near real-time imagery of the asteroid's flyby before and after closest approach, made available to NASA by astronomers in Australia and Europe, weather permitting, will be streamed beginning at about 9 a.m. PST (noon EST) and continuing through the afternoon at the following website: http://www.ustream.tv/nasajpl2.

A Ustream feed of the flyby from a telescope at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., will be streamed for three hours starting at 6 p.m. PST (8 p.m. CST / 9 p.m. EST). To view the feed and ask researchers questions about the flyby via Twitter, visit: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/nasa-msfc.

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See also:
Asteroid 2012 DA14 Passes Very Close To Earth On Feb. 15

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