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Video: Asteroid 2012 DA14′s Friday Flyby – A Stargazer’s Guide
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.
As in real estate, the key to viewing the flyby is location, location, location.
At the time of its closest approach on Friday — 2:24 p.m. EST (1924 GMT) – 2012 DA14 will be passing directly above the eastern Indian Ocean off the Indonesian island of Sumatra. That’s bad news if you live in the Western Hemisphere, Hawaii or New Zealand, where it will be daytime with no chance of seeing the asteroid. (But everyone can watch the flyby at SPACE.com, which will air footage from several telescopes around the world.) [Asteroid 2012 DA14;s Close Shave Explained (Infographic)]
But 2012 DA14 will be visible from parts of Europe, Africa, Asia and most of Australia (where it will be just before sunrise on Saturday morning).