How to watch asteroid 2012 DA14's record breaking fly-by of earth
At its peak closeness, DA14 will come within 17,000 miles of our planet
17,000 miles sound a long way, but it’s nothing in astronomical terms. And when we’re talking about a rock “large enough to flatten London” zipping past our planet, it is well worth dusting off your binoculars for a better look.
But how best to view asteroid 2012 DA14?
At its peak closeness, DA14 will come within 27,000 km of earth, which works out at about a tenth of the distance between the earth and the moon. Thankfully, as NASA have made clear, there is no chance of the asteroid colliding with our planet.
27,000km is also well within the earth’s satellite zone, although Spaceref.com reported that the asteroid’s path suggests it will come no closer than 1000km to any space object, so again an impact is highly unlikely.
So we know its close, in fact it has broken all records for the closest earth approach by an object of its size, but will it be close enough to view with naked eye?
According to Discovery.com it won’t be. Even at its peak brightness, which will occur at about 7.24pm GMT this evening, the asteroid will only shine at magnitude 7.2, putting it just outside the visibility of the naked eye.
However, with a normal pair of binoculars or an amateur telescope, the asteroid should be perfectly visible zipping across the sky.
The best viewing locations will be in Australia and Asia, where DA14 will pass by shortly before dawn tomorrow morning, but European and African skywatchers will get their best glimpse shortly after 9PM GMT tonight.
Those wanting to see the asteroid from North or South America may struggle a little however, as DA14 reaches its peak brightness in the middle of the day tomorrow.
If you don’t trust your telescope to give you the best view, there are plenty of places the asteroid can be viewed up close online.
Nasa will begin a live video stream later this afternoon, which will come with live commentary from Nasa scientists. The video will be shot by telescopes in Australia and Europe and will last for several hours.
Israel’s Bareket Observatory will also be running images of the asteroid, which will update every 30-60 seconds, while the Virtual Telescope Project will stream live images and commentary from a telescope in Italy.
It’s also well worth checking out Wired.com for their live coverage, as they’ve promised to embed live feeds from several sources.
- 1 Frank Lampard's face drops when Holly Willoughby introduces him as a 'Man City legend'
- 2 'Do not give them a reason': Baltimore man divides police and rioters in hope of avoiding violence
- 3 X Factor in crisis as numbers of people auditioning plummets
- 4 Baltimore riots: Furious mother marches her son home live on TV
- 5 General Election 2015: Stephen Hawking says he will vote Labour
General Election 2015: Tories sack candidate who said she would never support 'the Jew' Ed Miliband
Bali Nine executions: Indonesia confirms killings of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran will go ahead
The four utterly contradictory polls that tell the story of this election and why it is pointless trying to predict the outcome
General Election 2015: Prospect of Labour-SNP coalition makes one in four voters less likely to support Ed Miliband, says survey
Baltimore riots: Furious mother marches her son home live on TV
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
EU exit would hit UK economy much harder than neighbouring countries, study finds
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Phantom of the Opera writer mocked after issuing a warning about Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon
General election 2015: Labour will toughen hate crimes legislation surrounding Islamophobia
£40000 - £48000 per annum + 10% bonus & benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Engin...
£20000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...
£11 per hour: Recruitment Genius: To join a team working with a female in her ...
£16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company has over 30 years ...