Tag Archives: asteroid

The Asteroid That Is Coming Really Close To Earth

In February, Asteroid 2012 DA 14 will come so close to earth that it will be nearer to our planet than many satellites are. This asteroid, which really should get a new name, is about half the size of a football field. Its orbit is similar to that of the Earth itself, in size and shape, but at an angle to the Earth’s plane, so it’s like the asteroid and the earth are driving in circles on two oval tracks that intersect at two points but there is no red light.

Asteroid 2012 DA 14 was discovered with gear provided to an observatory with a grant from the Planetary Society. Which makes me want to join the Planetary Society.

This asteroid is not going to hit the earth now or during any of the next few decades, but eventually it may well do so. We need to keep an eye on it.

The closest approach will be on Feb 15th, when it will be a mere 27,330 kilometers from the surface of the earth. You would be able to see it with binoculars or a telescope. You’ll be able to spot it, conditions and optics permitting, in Europe, Asia and Africa.

(For reference, the International Space Station skims at about 350 kilometers; a geostationary orbit is 35,786 kilometers.)

The following video from the Interplanetary Society has all the details: