Basic Astronomy

On 15th Feb 2013: An Asteroid will pass within 27,000 km of Earth

30 January 2013: A huge Asteroid is approaching towards Earth and on 15th February 2013 it will come as close as 27,680 km from Earth which is less than 3.5 Earth radius. The size of the rocky asteroid is approximately of a football ground (about 45m) and it will go at a speed of 8km/s near Earth. The name of the asteroid is 2012 DA14.

The distance 27,680 km is closer than geosynchronous satellite ring, located about 35,800 km above the equator which means the distance from Earth to the asteroid, at its closest approach, is less than many communication and weather satellites.

Scientists confirmed that the Earth is safe as there is no chance of an impact by this incoming asteroid.

The Asteroid will make its close approach from Earth at 19:26 UTC. It will NOT be visible by naked eye but it should be visible in the sky to amateur telescopes. The brightness of the asteroid should be as high as 7th or 8th magnitude star.

On 15th February, the asteroid will travel rapidly from the southern evening sky to the northern morning sky.

About 4 minutes after its Earth close approach, asteroid 2012 DA14 will pass into the Earth's shadow for about 18 minutes or so before reappearing from the eclipse. After reappearing, the asteroid will travel rapidly into the northern morning sky and will quickly fade in brightness.

The next close approach of 2012 DA14 will be on February 16, 2046 when it will pass no closer than 60,000 km, from the center of the Earth.

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