Posted: Feb 5, 2013 10:08 AM by Meteorologist Matt Elwell
Updated: Feb 5, 2013 10:14 AM
What may seem like a storyline to a Hollywood movie, NASA has been tracking an asteroid that will pass between the Earth and the moon on February 15th, 2013. Discovered by astronomers at Spain's La Sagra Sky Survey in February of 2012, asteroid ‘2012 DA14' will pass within 17,200 miles of the Earth and through the paths of several geostationary satellites in orbit around the Earth.
Scientists aren't worried about the asteroid striking the Earth, although the 150 foot wide space rock does have scientists calculating and re-checking the orbit paths of their satellites during the asteroid's passing. Astronomers say that the asteroid is moving through space at about 17,400 mph.
Sky watchers will be carefully observing the asteroid through telescopes and binoculars. Unfortunately for those of us in America, the areas likely to spot ‘2012 DA14' will be in Eastern Europe, Asia and Australia according to NASA. By the time the asteroid comes into view in the United States, it will have faded considerably in the sky.
While this asteroid won't hit the Earth, you only have to go a little over a century ago to know the impact of an asteroid of similar magnitude has when it strikes the Earth. In 1908, an asteroid roughly the same size exploded near Siberia's Podkamennaya Tunguska River and flattened nearly 800 square miles of forest. Astronomers say that asteroids this size pass close to the Earth every 40 years, and actually strike the Earth roughly every 1200 years.
For more information on the asteroid, you can go to the NASA website.