Asteroid to whizz past Earth tomorrow night


An asteroid, about half the size of a football field, will pass in close proximity to Earth, closer than the orbits of some geosynchronous satellites, tomorrow night.

The asteroid called "2012 DA14" will flyby earth at a distance of 27,700 km on February 16 at 00:10 AM, Secretary and Director of Planetary Society of India N Sri Raghunandan Kumar said.

The 45-metre wide space rock is moving at a speed of 7.8 km/sec. This is the closest approach by any asteroid in recorded history to buzz past our planet, NASA scientists have said. This asteroid was discovered on February 23, 2012 in Spain.

It will pass within the moon's distance from Earth and closer than the orbits of some geosynchronous satellites, which provide weather data and telecommunications. However, the space rock poses no danger of impacting the Earth.

The next time it will have closest approach to Earth on February 15, 2019 when it be at 6,91,64,078 km. The last time it came close was on 16th February 2012 and was at 26,06,840 km. On the day of its closest approach, it will shine at 8 Magnitude. The space rock is not visible to the naked eye but can be spotted with the help of telescopes.

The best viewing location for the closest approach will be Indonesia. Eastern Europe, Asia and Australia are also well situated to see the asteroid, he said. Meanwhile, another space rock called "Asteroid 1999 YK5" will flyby Earth at distance of 1,88,87,632 km on February 15 at 3.48 PM. Its travelling at the rate of 20 km/sec.

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