Asteroid to reach nearest point to Earth at 7.30pm

The asteroid, given the not so catchy name of 2012 DA14, has been closely tracked since its discovery by a Spanish observatory a year ago. It is predicted to reach its nearest point to Earth at around 7.30pm tonight UK time.

Sky watchers have been told that given clear skies they should be able to track the rock climbing in the north-eastern sky from anywhere in the UK.

It will be possible to see it if you know where to look, but just waving your binoculars in the right general direction isn't going to work.

The asteroid will be 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

You can track the asteroid's latest progress here on NASA TV.

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