An Early Look At The Record-Breaking Asteroid Nearing Earth

On Friday, Feb. 15, a 150-foot wide asteroid is expected come within 17,200 miles of Earth’s surface, the closet known approach for a space rock of this size. 

Asteroid 2012 DA14 will be visible through binoculars or a telescope to people in parts of Europe, Asia and Africa, as it flies over Indonesia at the time of its closest approach, around 2:25 p.m. on the East Coast. 

The animated image above, provided by NASA, shows asteroid 2012 DA12 as it was seen from from the Faulkes Telescope South in Siding Springs, Australia, on Feb. 14. The asteroid  appears as a white line that passes through the stars in the background. It was 465,000 miles away at this point. 

The image below, an an overlay of 12 one-minute exposures, caught a glimpse of the space debris a day earlier on Feb. 13 in Australia (the morning of Feb. 12 in the States), when it was was 770,000 miles above Earth’s surface.

The picture shows asteroid 2012 DA12 as a tiny dot in the centre of the photo. The white streaks are stars that look streaked because the camera was following the asteroid.


Photo: NASA

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