Asteroid 2012 DA14 set for record-breaking Earth pass

An asteroid as large as an Olympic swimming pool will race past the Earth on Friday at a distance of just 27,700km (17,200mi) – the closest ever predicted for an object of that size.

It will pass closer even than the geosynchronous satellites that orbit the Earth, but there is no risk of impacts or collisions.

Its closest approach will be 19:25 GMT.

For regions in darkness around that time, it will be visible using good binoculars or a telescope.

Asteroid path infographicThe asteroid’s arrival was preceded by a damaging meteor event in Russia on Friday – but indications from the meteor’s path suggest that the two events are entirely unrelated – just a “cosmic coincidence”, as Alan Fitzsimmons of Queens University Belfast told BBC News.

The asteroid orbits the Sun in 368 days – a period similar to Earth’s year – but it does not orbit in the same plane as the Earth.

As it passes – at 7.8km/s (17,450 mi/hr) – it will come from “under” the Earth and return back toward the Sun from “above”.

It will pass over directly over the eastern Indian Ocean, making for the best viewing in Eastern Europe, Asia and Australia.

But keen viewers anywhere can find one of several live streams of the event on the internet, including a feed from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Nasa, available from 19:00 GMT.


BBC has the full article

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