Massive Asteroid to pass close the earth in 2 weeks
By Sayed Jawad - Thu Jan 31, 11:37 am
According to reports Asteroid 2012 DA14 will pass inside the geosynchronous satellite ring, located about 35,800 km above the equator. Its orbit about the sun can bring it no closer to the Earth’s surface than 3.2 Earth radii on February 15, 2013.
Given the radius of the Earth, it will be about 28,000 km from the earth’s surface, a small distance in terms of astronomical figures.
The asteroid discovered by amateur astronomer Gary Hug was first noticed on the west edge on the field of vision provided by the camera he had attached to his telescope.
The massive asteroid weighs approximately 143,000 tons and measures 148 feet long. That means that the asteroid is roughly half the size of a football field. According to scientists Don Yeoman this massive asteroid is similar to the one believed to have leveled hundreds of square miles of Siberian forest back in 1908.
“This is a record-setting close approach,” says Don Yeomans of NASA’s Near Earth Object Program at JPL. “Since regular sky surveys began in the 1990s, we’ve never seen an object this big get so close to Earth.”
In the meantime astronomer Gary Hug who has been studying asteroids for the past 15 years and has been credited with discovering hundreds of main belt asteroids said “It was traveling too slow for most satellites but moving about 10 times faster than main belt asteroids, Within 15 minutes, this asteroid was listed on the NEOCP at the Minor Planet Center.”
That massive impact is called the “Tunguska Event.” According to NASA, this particular asteroid will pass harmlessly by the Earth. However, on a cosmic scale it is passing quite close to our planet.
Nasa’s Goldstone radar in the Mojave Desert is scheduled to ping 2012 DA14 almost every day from Feb. 16th through 20th, and it is expected to brighten to the point of looking like an 8th degree star according to Nasa.
The next close approach will be on February 16, 2046 when it will pass no closer than 60,000 km, from the centre of the earth.