Asteroid 2012 DA14’s Friday Flyby: A Stargazer’s Guide

by Joe Rao,

Scientists and amateur observers alike are eagerly awaiting Friday’s historic flyby of asteroid 2012 DA14, which will zoom inside Earth’s ring of geosynchronous satellites.

At its nearest approach Friday (Feb. 15), the 150-foot-wide (45 meters) asteroid 2012 DA14 will be just 17,200 miles (27,000 kilometers) from Earth — the closest encounter with such a large space rock that researchers have ever known about in advance.

Astronomers will take full advantage of the flyby, tracking the near-Earth asteroid with a variety of instruments to learn more about it and space rocks in general. And some well-placed skywatchers may be able to follow 2012 DA12 ‘s path across the heavens Friday as well, weather permitting.

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