Thursday, February 14, 2013

2012 DA14 Flies By 2-15-13

Hey Space Placers!!

The historic day is here! You can read my earlier blogs on 2012 DA 14 for background.

Asteroid 2012 DA14 will fly by our planet, going from south to north, and passing within 17,150 miles of our planet's surface. That Space Placers is a record for the largest space rock discovered passing closest to our planet since we started looking for these solar system interlopers in the 1990's. This baby will be BELOW our geosynchronous satellites that we use for communications and earth observation!

There is a slight risk to satellites but none are expected to be in the way of this cosmic zinger.

It will be difficult enough for professional astronomers to track the asteroid because it is so close and therefore moving rapidly across the sky but they are geared up to do so using optical and radio telescopes. WIth the observations made we should get a pretty good idea as to the size, shape, spin, brightness, and orbit of this asteroid. We might also get an idea as to the composition of the space rock when all is said and done.

Closest approach will be at 2:25 p.m., EST. NASA will start providing commentary starting at 2:00 p.m. EST and live or near live views of 2012 DA14 at noon EST. NASA will also stream telescopic images of the space rock starting at 9 p.m EST for about three hours. You can get more information and the web links here

This flyby is once again giving us a reminder that we and our civilization are at risk from an impact involving one of these asteroids or comets. We have proof of the damage that can be caused by such impacts from Meteor Crater in Arizona which hit about 50,000 years ago and the
Tunguska Event which took place on June 30, 1908 over Siberia. Tunguska lost 80 million trees over a 2,000 square kilometer area due to an airburst of 2-20 megatons caused by an exploding asteroid the size of 2012 DA 14 -

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We as a species have to come up with a planetary defense plan - this is not science fiction, it is the long term survival of us! I'll have more on this Saturday.

I hope you will follow the day's events. I will be on Fox 5 WTTG at 6:45am EST and will have radio interviews at 8:40 am EST on WBAL and 9:20 am EST on WTOP. I will try and get links of these segments available when they are up.

It will be cloudy here in VA Friday night but I plan on tuning in to NASA and watch history as it flies by. I hope you will too as history zips on by.

Sky Guy in VA

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