Monday, January 28, 2013

Close shave?

Get asteroid about the size of half a football field,  will come close to us on February 15th.

How close you ask?
A mere 17,200 miles away. That's pretty close for an asteroid this big.

The best news...there's no impact danger.

Nonetheless NASA is excited about it. "This is a record-setting close approach," says Don Yeomans of NASA's Near Earth Object Program at JPL. "Since regular sky surveys began in the 1990s, we've never seen an object this big get so close to Earth."

NASA says this asteroid is your run of the mill near-Earth asteroid with the only difference being that is probably a big stone, as opposed to being made of metal or ice.  This kind of object flies past our planet once every 40 years while maybe one may hit us every 1200 years.

So will you be able to see it?

NASA says:
During the hours around closest approach, the asteroid will brighten until it resembles a star of 8th magnitude. Theoretically, that’s an easy target for backyard telescopes. The problem, is its speed. “The asteroid will be racing across the sky, moving almost a full degree (or twice the width of a full Moon) every minute.
Only the most experienced amateur astronomers are likely to succeed.
Those who do might experience a tiny chill when they look at their images. That really was a close shave.

Great NASA animation here

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