Watch asteroid 2012 DA14 come closer to Earth than any other asteroid of its size on record.
The asteroid is about half the size of a football field with a diameter of 150 feet. At its closest approach to our planet, on Friday at 11:25 a.m. PST, it will be just 17,150 miles above the Earth’s surface – putting it closer to Earth than the moon, and many communications satellites.
Still, no one will be able to see the asteroid with the naked eye; it is too dim.
The real-time and near real-time imagery of the asteroid in the NASA Ustream above is provided by observatories in Australia.
NASA will stream imagery of the asteroid from observatories in the U.S. later in the day, but the agency will have to wait until it is dark enough for their telescopes to see anything.
The asteroid entered the moon-Earth system on Thursday at 7 p.m. PST and will leave on Saturday at about 4 a.m. PST.
And if you are wondering whether this asteroid has anything to do with the meteor that streaked above Russia on Friday morning, the answer from NASA is no.
The agency has posted the following statement to its website:
“According to NASA scientists, the trajectory of the Russian meteorite was significantly different than the trajectory of the asteroid 2012 DA14, making it a completely unrelated object. Information is still being collected about the Russian meteorite and analysis is preliminary at this point. In videos of the meteor, it is seen to pass from left to right in front of the rising sun, which means it was traveling from north to south. Asteroid DA14’s trajectory is in the opposite direction, from south to north.”