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Posted at 02:15 PM ET, 02/15/2013

Asteroid sails past Earth


Live broadcast by Ustream

3:06 p.m.: You know an event is over when the hashtag for it starts to see more spambots than humans — we’re looking at you #2012DA14. So we’re going to shut down the blog for the day. Again, if you’re more concerned about the meteor that actually touched Earth than the asteroid that missed us, follow the live coverage on the WorldViews blog. We’ll leave the UStream live feed up for those interested in tuning in to watch 2012 DA14 float away. it’s pretty relaxing, actually.


The path of asteroid 2012 DA14's approach to earth is shown in this handout graphic from NASA obtained by Reuters February 8, 2013. (NASA - REUTERS)

2:48 p.m.: NASA will be hosting a news conference at 4 p.m. Eastern today to chronicle the meteor that lit up the sky over Russia. The event will include Bill Cooke and Paul Chodas. Cook is the lead for NASA’s Meteoroid Environments Office at the Marshall Space Flight Center and Chodas is a research scientist in the Near Earth Object Program Office at NASA’s JPL.

2:41 p.m.: Talk of the asteroid is fading fast, given the meteor news. But if watching 2012 DA14 travel away from Earth no longer holds any fascination for you, we recommend checking out Bad Astronomy blogger Phil Plait’s Google Hangout. He’s taking questions

Also, Indonesia was the closest to the asteroid, in case you were wondering.

2:32 pm: NASA will begin a video feed of the asteroid starting at 9 p.m. Eastern from the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. The stream will last for about three hours. The asteroid has safely passed Earth, reaching its nearest point to the planet, and is now traveling away from us. According to Bill Nye, if the Earth had been 15.5 minutes further along in its orbit or if the asteroid had been 15.5 minutes closer, than it would probably have destroyed a city.

“This is a warning shot for us humans to watch the sky,” says Nye in a CNN interview.

2:25 p.m.: And that’s it. The pass-by has happened! NASA is collecting data from astronomers around the world. Footage of the asteroid’s close encounter was broadcast from a number of observatories in Australia, including Gingin Observatory.

2:20 p.m.: We’re about five minutes out from the 2012 DA14 reaching its nearest point to Earth. All we’re going to see is a point of light tracking through black space

(And small note: Apologies to those experiencing technical difficulties with our embed. We’re working on resolving them.)

2:16 p.m.: NASA has observers all over the world watching the asteroid as it passes, and is offering a computer-simulated visualization developed at JPL, called “Eyes on the Solar System.” It allows the agency to track the asteroid in real-time. Kevin Hussey, manager of visualization technology at JPL is currently walking audience members through it. You can go to eyes.nasa.gov to get a bigger-screen view of not only the asteroid but other planets and objects in the solar system.

2:00 p.m. : NASA’s live feed has begun. The news, however, is being overshadowed by that of the meteor that blazed over the Ural Mountain region of Russia. For more on that, check out our live blog over on WorldViews. Unlike the asteroid event, the meteor event is a not only one for the record books, but in­cred­ibly serious, with nearly 1,000 people reportedly injured. The meteor is estimated by NASA to be about a third of the size of the asteroid set to pass Earth, and the two events are unrelated.

Observers in the Eastern hemisphere will be able to see the asteroid as it passes by with the help of binoculars or a telescope. It will be closest to the Earth at about 2:25 p.m. Eastern.

Over at Slate, Bad Astronomy’s Phil Plait is covering the event live, and participating in a live Google Hangout now as well. He also has a great list of the places you can catch a live feed of the passing of the asteroid.

From the original post:

Remember that asteroid that’s just going to miss Earth? Well, it’s zooming by Friday. And NASA is on it, showing just how on it they are with live video coverage of the event starting at 2 p.m. Eastern.

My colleague, Brian Vastag, has a great summary of what we here on Earth are and are not in for as asteroid 2012 DA14 draws near. And fellow colleague Joel Achenbach has a line that should leave you with chills — or the desire to contribute your skills to the creation of an asteroid shield: “Every time we look at the cold, gray, cratered moon, we see what might have been.”


This image provided by NASA/JPL-Caltech shows a simulation of asteroid 2012 DA14 approaching from the south as it passes through the Earth-moon system on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013. (Uncredited - AP)

The asteroid is on a path to miss Earth entirely, but that doesn’t end the fascination. Let us know, in the comments, your thoughts on this near-miss. Has it changed your perspective on astronomy? Or are you as (or more) disinterested as you were before?

Read more news and ideas on Innovations:

FORUM | How would you guard Earth against asteroids?

Why you’re not working on an asteroid field

Kids ask the darndest things

How about we go on a crazy blind date?

By  |  02:15 PM ET, 02/15/2013

 
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