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Bruce BettsFebruary 4, 2013

Guide to Asteroid 2012 DA14 Super Close Approach

Asteroid 2012 DA14 is coming extremely close to Earth on Feb. 15, 2013, passing closer than our geosynchronous satellites, which include satellite TV and other satellites.  No, it won't hit us, but at 45 meters in diameter, this is the largest asteroid that has come so close since humans have been making great efforts to track such things.  Our Planetary Society members and donors truly made this happen: the discovery of this asteroid was made possible by a camera provided to La Sagra Observatory in Spain through the Planetary Society Shoemaker Near Earth Object (NEO) grant program that allowed detection of a fast moving object missed by the professional surveys. We get to point the world's telescopes at this 2013 close flyby and learn more about this asteroid and its orbit because of you.

Here is information on resources we at The Planetary Society have put together to get you up to speed on this event ranging from video, to radio, to an FAQ:

Here is a 5 minute video to introduce you to 2012 DA14 and its close approach:

Video guide to the February 15, 2013 Close Pass by Asteroid 2012 DA14

Planetary Society Director of Projects Bruce Betts reassures us in this brief and fascinating explanation of what will happen--and what WON'T happen--when this big asteroid comes closer to Earth than many satellites.  For more information after watching this, see our Guide to 2012 DA14 close approach and links therein.

For more information about the asteroid, the close approach, the impact risk, and the discovery of the asteroid, check out our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page.

You can read a blog about the discovery from one of the La Sagra observers, Jaime Nomen, as well as find discovery images there.  You can listen to the Feb. 4, 2013 Planetary Radio interview with Jaime, and listen to a 2012 Planetary Radio interview with him.

There is another listing of our resources at our 2012 DA14 web page.

Bill Nye and I did a (one hour) webcast including guest JPL's Paul Chodas, guru of deterimining asteroid orbits.  

You can also check out JPL's detailed pages on NEOs, and JPL's gory details of orbits and orbit simulations.

Thank you for supporting The Planetary Society's efforts to help prevent the only preventable natural disaster.  Though this is a reminder we live in a cosmic shooting gallery, 2012 DA14 won't hit, so we can just enjoy this amazing astronomical event!

Read more: explaining science, Planetary Society Projects, planetary defense and Mirror Bees, Shoemaker NEO Grants, near-Earth asteroids

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Bruce Betts

Director of Science and Technology / LightSail Program Manager for The Planetary Society
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