Asteroid 'near-miss' with Earth

An asteroid big enough to flatten London has 'narrowly' missed the Earth on Friday night. Experts say it came as close as 17,200 miles to us.

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Approaching asteroid can be seen from Earth

The asteroid is the higher of the two bright white spots at the bottom of the picture Credit: NASA

An image of the 2012 DA14 asteroid shows its approach to Earth, as it was seen yesterday, at 465,000 miles (728,000 kilometers).

The image was created by observations from the Faulkes Telescope South in Siding Springs, Australia.

Factfile: Asteroid 2012 DA14

  • The asteroid 2012 DA14 is approximately 150 feet (45 meters) in diameter
  • There is no chance the asteroid will collide with the Earth, yet it will be passing closer than ever before
  • It will be 7.30pm (GMT) tonight at the time of its closest approach
  • At this time, it will be over the eastern Indian Ocean, off Sumatra
  • It will be 17,200 miles from Earth at the time of passing, the close approach distance is one tenth the distance between the Earth and moon

Source: NASA

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Scientists will study asteroid to prevent future threats

Scientists will use a radar to study the 2012 DA14 asteroid, as it flies past the Earth tonight, to learn about its structure and composition.

They hope to use the information to help them plan in the event of another incoming space rock.

Video source: NASA

Scientists are looking at ways to 'nudge' an asteroid if it was a threat to Earth, as blowing it up would only result in debris falling to Earth, they said.

Tonight an asteroid will approach Earth, passing closer than ever before.

'Possible' to see the asteroid between the stars

Scientists have said it will be possible to see the asteroid as it flies past the Earth tonight.

It will appear as a faint dot of light, moving at a "steady rate" between the stars.

It'll be thousands of times fainter than Jupiter and 250 times fainter than the stars of the Plough.

The trick will be to find the area in advance and wait for it to come through. You can use the star maps to find exactly the right part of the sky. If you hold your binoculars steady you will see this tiny point of light crawling across your field of view in about seven or eight minutes.

It's not easy, but you will have the thrill of knowing you are seeing a little object in space the size of an office block.

– Robin Scagell, vice-president of the Society for Popular Astronomy

Asteroid will approach from 'underneath' the Earth

An asteroid will fly past the Earth tonight, entering the orbit of telecommunication and weather satellites.

The trajectory of the asteroid 2012 DA14 on 15th February 2013 Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

This image shows the asteroid's movements, looking down from above Earth's north pole.

Trajectory of asteroid 2012 DA14 during its close approach Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

This image shows why the asteroid will not be visible to the northern hemisphere's observers, until very close to the Earth, because it is approaching from "underneath" the planet.

Asteroid to narrowly miss hitting the Earth

An asteroid big enough to destroy London will narrowly miss the Earth as it flies past tonight, according to NASA.

The 150ft-wide rock has no chance of hitting the Earth scientists say, but it will enter the orbits of more than 100 telecommunication and weather satellites, just over 17,000 miles away from the planet.

The passage of asteroid 2012 DA14 through the Earth-moon system Credit: Reuters/NASA

It is thought it will reach its nearest point to Earth at 7.30pm (GMT) tonight.

The asteroid, 2012 DA14, was discovered by a spanish observatory a year ago.

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