Viewing the asteroid

  • NASA Television will stream commentary live online video starting at 11 p.m. Pacific Time on Feb. 15.
  • Clay Center Observatory will offer real-time high-definition video, weather permitting, at 3 p.m. Pacific Time on Feb. 15.
  • Bareket Observatory in Israel is offering a free live webcast of the close approach on Feb. 15 at 12:15 p.m. Pacific Time for about three hours.

    Source: EarthSky.org


  • Videos: NASA: Asteroid 2012 DA14 Flight Path | NASA: Record-Setting Asteroid Flyby

    Blog: EarthSky: Asteroid 2012 DA14


    You won't be able to see it from the Los Angeles area, so the best chance to track Friday's close shave with an asteroid will be online.

    NASA will host a live commentary from Jet Propulsion Laboratory as 2012 DA14, a 150-foot-wide chunk of space rock, passes within satellite range of Earth - 17,200 miles - at 11:25 a.m.

    The JPL feed will rely on real-time views from observatories in Australia, supplemented by animations to show how close the asteroid is to Earth.

    It will be available at www.nasa.gov/ntv, at 11 a.m.

    A separate channel at www.ustream.tv/nasajpl2 will provide images beginning about 9 a.m.

    Because the asteroid will pass by during daytime in North America, at a quick 7.8 kilometers per second, the best views will be from Australia and Asia.

    That means Griffith Observatory won't have any viewing events, though the lack of local options won't stop people from watching it.

    Some East Coast watchers might be able to use a telescope to get a faint view of the asteroid speeding away, according to a JPL podcast by Jane Houston Jones, who also runs the Pasadena star-watching group Old Town Sidewalk Astronomers.

    By then, 2012 DA14 will have an absolute magnitude of about 11, which indicates it will be very dim and difficult to spot.

    "Fascinated! I have seen 2 close flybys and they were super difficult," Jones said via Twitter.

    Graphic depicts the trajectory of asteroid 2012 DA14 on Feb 15, 2013. In this view, we are looking down from above Earth’s north pole.
    Graphic depicts the trajectory of asteroid 2012 DA14 on Feb 15, 2013. In this view, we are looking down from above Earth's north pole. (Courtesy image/NASA/JPL-Caltech)

    Israel's Bareket Observatory will have a free webcast of the flyby, transmitting static images every 30 to 90 seconds from 3 p.m. to 1 a.m., and the Virtual Telescope Project will provide live images and commentary from Italy at 2 p.m.

    In North America, the only good views of the asteroid will be as it's zooming away from Earth.

    NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., will provide a three-hour feed starting at 6 p.m.

    The Slooh Space Camera will also have a live feed and broadcast, and the Clay Center Observatory in Brookline, Mass., will provide a feed, both at 6 p.m.

    Although the asteroid's trajectory is very close, astronomers say there's no chance of an impact with Earth. It's also expected to miss the satellites in geostationary orbit, 22,200 miles above Earth.

    It's size is similar to the 1908 Tunguska asteroid that exploded about five miles above Russia's remote Siberian forest, destroying 800 square miles, according to JPL's Don Yeomans, who manages the near-Earth object office.


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