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Asteroid 2012 DA14 Approaches 94

Today at about 19:25 UTC (2:25 PM EST), Asteroid 2012 DA14 will make its closest approach to Earth, passing a mere 27,650 kilometers above the surface — closer than our satellites in geosynchronous orbit. NASA is broadcasting a live-steam showing the asteroid from an Observatory, and will have coverage on NASA TV starting about a half-hour before closest approach. The Planetary Society will be broadcasting a live webcast, and Phil Plait will be hosting a Google+ Hangout. NASA has also compiled a nice post filled with information about the asteroid, including trajectory diagrams, animated videos of the path, and answers to question about 2012 DA14. You can also watch it move at 50x actual speed through a telescope. They take pains to note that there is no danger of the asteroid striking the planet today, or any time in the forseeable future. Its next notably close approach in 2046 will only bring it about a million kilometers away. What makes 2012 DA14 significant is that it's rather large — it's 45 meters across and weighs about 130,000 metric tons. It's also moving about 7.8 kilometers per second relative to Earth. "To view the asteroid, you will need a good pair of binoculars, or even better, a moderately powered telescope. During the closest approach, and dependant on local weather, the asteroid will be visible from parts of Europe, Africa and Asia. The asteroid will appear to be moving relatively quickly as it crosses the sky from the south to the north." NASA says this morning's meteor event in Russia was unrelated.
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Asteroid 2012 DA14 Approaches

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  • the news broadcast will be this detailed when the BIG ONE is actually about to hit?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Has anyone noticed these fast grow plants? I dont remenber planting them, but my memory

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Just launch a triangular ship and shoot at it in two dimensions. When you get in trouble try hyperspace.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I have a very small, rather shameful hope that this thing will actually start braking, get into orbit and start broadcasting.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 15, 2013 @02:17PM (#42913061)
      • by dywolf ( 2673597 ) on Friday February 15, 2013 @02:41PM (#42913381)

        -OK Nathan, here's the setup. You, Morena, Jewel, Gina, and Summer are all in the ship. And someone releases a love drug. And next thing, all 5 of you are going to town.
        -You sure this isn't some fanboy's fantasy?
        -Possibly, but he's got a giant rock hanging over LA and demanding that we do this.
        -Well sure. I mean...*eyeing fellow cast members*...anything to save the Earth.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I'll be in my bunk...

  • by ElizabethGreene ( 1185405 ) on Friday February 15, 2013 @02:22PM (#42913137)

    I wonder how much delta-V it would take to circularize it's orbit? Surely there is something useful we could do with it?

  • I think it would be a much cooler event if the Russian meteor this morning WAS related.
  • wouldn't it be possible that for every rock we see in space there are some smaller rocks held in loose gravitational formation?

    these things have been out there for a very very long time. plenty of time to pick up loose junk

    i mean look at pluto: every time we look at it we find a new pebble moon. pluto is not exactly a gravitational power house. it's just that the neighborhood is full of a lot of flotsam and jetsam

    i wouldn't be surprised that deep space objects, no matter the size, are often loose agglomerations of stuff

    i think it is very possible that this meteor very much is (was) associated with DA14

    • by wbr1 ( 2538558 )
      While your theory makes sense, I would hope the experts also took into consideration things such as speed and direction of travel. Even more could be told if/when fragments are found. The type of meteorite can be determined and see if it is a close match for what DA14 is expected to be, and certain geological signs can tell its history, and possibly even the speed of entry (frictional heating can cause various chemical reactions, all leaving their mark).

      While it is a strange coincidence that this happen

      • the experts weren't even looking for the russian rock. there's no data on it except for the moment of impact

        if the loose gravitational agglomeration is large enough, it's possible for the smaller rock to pass by on the other side of the earth, swinging around and appearing to come from another direction

        • by cusco ( 717999 )
          This isn't "another direction", it's track was 90 degrees removed from DA14. There are no known natural forced that would make an object's path change in that way. Sorry.
    • "On the cosmological scale, it's all relative" - Septimus Signus

      Sorry, just picked up Skyrim again after almost a year. But, if your point is that at one point in time, very far off, these two 'hunks of rock' may have been attached then I suppose you're correct. I mean, if the Big Bang was an explosion of matter in space (at one point in time), these hunks of rock may have been very close to the matter that makes up yours or my body at one point. However, I'll trust NASA if they say that for our purposes,

    • ...except for its completely different orbital path, direction of entry into Earth's atmosphere, and timing of the encounter with Earth, all of which definitively prove that it is not related to 2012 DA14 [].

  • Over 300,000 watching the live feed from Ustream right now. Come on Slashdot, we can break 'em!

    On another note, it's funny that the asteroid shows as a streak on camera. Most of astronomy is about long exposures, so the camera at the Gingin Observatory apparently isn't very fast at all. This particular event is radically faster than most of what astronomy observes. If the watching of large rocks becomes a world-wide pastime, observatories are going to start wanting budgets to add a high speed camera.

    • If the watching of large rocks becomes a world-wide pastime, observatories are going to start wanting budgets to add a high speed camera.

      Sadly, I doubt there is much reason to fear that.

  • How can w be sure this is not Ming from Flash Gordon (1980 movie) that sent it since Flash stopped him the last time?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    This asteroid won't do squat. Even if it was coming directly at us. Seriously. Don't panic, don't freak out, don't lose any sleep over a 45m asteroid barreling towards earth at a "break-neck" 7.8 km/s. If someone is screaming "THE END IS NIGH!!! THE ASTEROID WILL KILL US ALL!!!!" point at them and laugh in their face.

    The following is backed by SCIENCE:

    If we assume that the asteroid is made of pure freaking iron, comes in head on, is moving at 11 km/s, smacks into crystallin

    • Cool tool. Can you summarize the important assumptions being made?

      • I'd be interested to know if anyone can spot something that would make this simulation invalid in the case of 2012 DA14. I just searched through and copy-pasted excerpts containing the word assumption for effect, but have no idea how important any of these are:

        "To implement such a program, it is necessary to make some simplifying assumptions that limit the accuracy of any predictions." []

        assuming that the meteoroid is approximately spherical


    • While some religious nuts are over-playing this, you are seriously under-playing it. We would not "all die", but you would certainly not want to be standing 1 km from the [projected] impact point. It would be like a 1-2 Megaton bomb going off more-or-less over your head (from the Purdue link - which I ran and found the results rather ambiguous btw). The Hiroshima bomb (also an air blast) was only about 1% of that energy and took out the centre of a city to a radius of about 2 km.

      Asteroid 2012-DA14 is
  • by huntes ( 533085 ) on Friday February 15, 2013 @03:02PM (#42913729)
    We put together a blog post with a video and interactive WebGL demos that will let you see the path of the asteroid in relation to the satellites in orbit: []
  • I sure hope the NASA video includes the sound the asteroid makes as it goes by.
  • I hope the mainstream media gives more attention to this instead of some celebrity bullshit. People might start gaining an interest in this stuff and maybe give this subject matter the attention it deserves.
  • Not that I'm hoping that it squishes innocent people or anything. I was just thinking that an impact with an object of DA14's size could be a great way to get some funding back into the sciences. All without that pesky nuclear winter that a more Apophis sized object would bring. Maybe a collision could give mankind a common enemy.... SPACE!

"There is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress." -- Mark Twain