Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Close asteroid encounter this Friday

Asteroids have been coming close to earth many times in the past - but we've never seen an object this big get so close to Earth. Get ready for Friday's rendezvous with asteroid 2012 DA14.

(Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

On this Friday, just a day after the romantic Valentine day, sky watchers in Eastern Europe, Asia, and Australia will get a chance to see one big rock hurtling through the heavens - One very big rock. 

Compared with other asteroids traveling through space, this one may seem a relative pebble - at half the size of a football field - but for Earth, it will make for a relatively close call.

The asteroid, known as "2012 DA14," will pass inside the ring of Earth's geosynchronous weather and communications satellites this week, coming within just 17,200 miles of the Earth's surface at around 12:30 p.m. PT.

However, there is nothing to worry about, reassures NASA.  Though the impact of an object this size would not be a global catastrophic event, it would surely cause massive and widespread devastation on a regional scale. On June 30, 1908, an asteroid similar to 2012 DA14 did in fact impact Earth, leveling trees for 820 square miles in Tunguska, Russia. These asteroids are serious business and could easily take out an entire city.

via C|net
You may also read: Asteroid 2012 DA14 to intrude inside earth's communication satellite orbit
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