Nasa to chronicle close Earth flyby of asteroid

Diagram depicting the passage of asteroid 2012 DA14 through the Earth-Moon system on 15 February 2013.
Image credit: Nasa/JPL-Caltech
Date:14 February 2013 Tags:, ,

Nasa Television will provide commentary starting at 9 pm in South Africa (2 pm EST) on Friday, 15 February, during the close, but safe, flyby of a small near-Earth asteroid named 2012 DA14. This flyby will provide a unique opportunity for researchers to study a near-Earth object up close.

The half-hour broadcast from Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory will incorporate real-time animation to show the location of the asteroid in relation to Earth, along with live or near real-time views of the asteroid from observatories in Australia, weather permitting.

At the time of its closest approach to Earth at approximately 9:25 pm in South Africa (2:25 pm EST), the asteroid will be about 27 600 kilometres above Earth’s surface over Indonesia.

The commentary will be available via Nasa TV and streamed live online at www.nasa.gov/ntv and www.ustream.tv/nasajpl2

In addition to the commentary, near real-time imagery of the asteroid’s flyby before and after closest approach, made available to Nasa by astronomers in Australia and Europe, weather permitting, will be streamed beginning at about 7 pm in South Africa (noon EST) at the following website: www.ustream.tv/nasajpl2

A Ustream feed of the flyby from a telescope at Nasa’s Marshall Space Flight Centre will be streamed for three hours starting at 4 am on 16 February in South Africa (9 pm EST). To view the feed and ask researchers questions about the flyby via Twitter, visit: www.ustream.tv/channel/nasa-msfc