When 2012 DA14 skims closer to our planet than any other known asteroid on Friday, those who want to see it are going to need binoculars. As close as it will be, that massive flying chunk of space rock will still not be visible to the naked eye.
Of course, there is also another option.
If you don’t have binoculars, just watch the webcast. We have it right here for you on Opposing Views:
As noted by The Guardian, when 2012 DA14 zooms by Earth it will be closer to the planet’s surface than many artificial satellites. The asteroid, which is reportedly between 45-50 meters across, will be just 17,100 miles away. Even though there is no chance of a collision, when 2012 DA14 soars from the southern to northern hemisphere, it will set the record for the closest pass of any known asteroid since systematic surveys of the sky began in the mid-1990s.
According to Don Yeomans of NASA's Near-Earth Object Observation Program, an asteroid like 2012 DA14 flies this close on average only once every 40 years.
This could be 2012 DA14’s last close pass to our planet. The Earth's gravitational field will significantly alter the asteroid's orbit. The next time the asteroid draws near to us will not be until 2046. At the time, scientists believe it will only come to within about a million miles of our planet. That means that if you want to get a look at the asteroid, your best shot is today.
NASA Television will broadcast a live webcast during the asteroid’s closest approach on Friday, featuring commentary and images from telescopes around the world. That might be the best option for people in the U.S. who want to see 2012 DA14 because the best areas for viewing will be Australia, Asia and Europe. The asteroid will be travelling quite quickly for a celestial object, crossing an area of the sky as wide as the full moon roughly every 30 seconds.
Source: (The Guardian)