Thursday, February 7, 2013

Valentine's Day +1 Surprise = Asteroid

NASA says that an asteroid half the size of a football field will pass by the earth very closely -- the day after Valentine's Day.  The asteroid is not expected to hit the earth, but will pass closer to our planet than the moon -- and some satellites!

The asteroid 2012 DA14 will fly by Earth on Feb. 15 and zip within 17,200 miles of the planet during the cosmic close encounter. The asteroid will approach much closer to Earth than the moon, and well inside the paths of navigation and communications satellites.

"This is a record-setting close approach," Don Yeomans, the head of NASA's asteroid-tracking program, said in a statement. "Since regular sky surveys began in the 1990s, we've never seen an object this big get so close to Earth."

Asteroid 2012 DA14 was discovered last year by an amateur team of stargazers at the La Sagra Sky Survey observatory in Spain. Yeomans  stressed that, while the asteroid's approach bring it closer than the geosynchronous satellites  orbiting 22,245 miles above Earth, 2012 DA14 poses no threat of a deadly collision with the planet.

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