Tag Archives: 2012 DA14

Scientists have released some results from their look at asteroid 2012 DA14 during its fly-by last week.

Scientists have released some results, including video, from their look at asteroid 2012 DA14 during its fly-by last week. Key quote:

The asteroid’s path was perturbed by Earth’s gravitational field in such a way that it won’t come as close in the foreseeable future.

The video, which I have embeded below the fold, was produced from radar data. It clearly shows the asteroid’s rotation.
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Asteroid 2012 DA14 might experience seismic activity when it zips pass the Earth tomorrow.

Asteroid 2012 DA14 might experience seismic activity, an asteroid quake, when it zips pass the Earth tomorrow.

[MIT scientist Richard] Binzel imagines what an astronaut floating alongside such an asteroid might see: “The surface could slowly sway or rock by a few centimeters. Other things to look for would be puffs of asteroid-dust rising from the surface and gentle avalanches on the steepest slopes of craters.” In rare cases, “rubble pile” asteroids might break apart during the encounter and then re-form as Earth recedes into the distance.

A 150 foot wide asteroid will buzz the Earth tomorrow at a distance of only 17,000 miles.

Chicken Little report: A 150 foot wide asteroid will buzz the Earth tomorrow at a distance of only 17,000 miles.

There have been numerous news articles about this fly-by for the last two weeks, all hyping the dangers of an impact that in this case simply won’t happen. A threat of an impact from an asteroid is real and should be dealt with, but the reporting here has at times been somewhat silly. Asteroid 2012 DA14 is not going to hit us as it goes by. All that will happen is that scientists will have take advantage of this opportunity to look at it.

A house-sized asteroid will zip past the Earth in February at a distance less than 14,000 miles.

Chicken Little report: A house-sized asteroid will zip past the Earth in February at a distance less than 14,000 miles.

The asteroid, referred to as 2012 DA14, has a diameter of approximately 45m and an estimated mass of 130,000 tonnes. It was discovered at the start of 2012 and is set to travel between the Earth and our geostationary communication satellites on 15 February 2013. At a distance of just 22,500km this will be the closest asteroid ‘fly by’ in recorded history. Asteroid and comet researchers will be gathering at the University of Central Florida (UCF) in Orlando, U.S., to watch the event, but experts say there is no chance of a collision – this time.

The claim that this is the closest “fly by” in recorded history sounds bogus to me, but because of the size of this asteroid the fly-by will nonetheless be quite interesting. Scientists should be able to get a very good look at 2012 DA14 as it goes by.

The orbit of a 150 foot wide asteroid that zipped past the Earth in February, has an orbit so much like the Earth’s that astronomer’s expect it back next year.

Duck! The orbit of a 150 foot wide asteroid that zipped past the Earth in February, has an orbit that will bring it past the Earth again on February 15, 2013 by less than 15,000 miles.

The team use several automated telescopes to scan the sky, and the discovery came somewhat serendipitously after they decided to search areas of the sky where asteroids are not usually seen. “A preliminary orbit calculation shows that 2012 DA14 has a very Earth-like orbit with a period of 366.24 days, just one more day than our terrestrial year, and it ‘jumps’ inside and outside of the path of Earth two times per year,” says Jaime.

While an impact with Earth has been ruled out on the asteroid’s next visit, astronomers will use that close approach for more studies and calculate the Earth and Moon’s gravitational effects on it.

Because this newly discovered asteroid passes so close and frequently to both the Earth and Moon, astronomers will need a lot more data before they can pin down its orbit precisely, and thus predict the chances of a collision in the near future.