Waiting for asteroid 2012 DA14 close encounter next Feb.

2012DA14: path across the stars from late 15 Feb. 2013 to early Feb. 16

2012DA14: path across the stars from late 15 Feb. 2013 to early Feb. 16

As our visitors well know, the Virtual Telescope Project and its team reserve a special attention to those asteroids closely approaching our planet. This in true in two different ways: at one side, the Virtual Telescope is very active doing follow-up of near-Earth candidates, at their discovery time, so doing a precious scientific work; on the other side, we do a great effort as for public outreach on these themes. Since Sept. 2012, we hosted five live, online observing sessions of these close approaching rocks, with a tremendous feedback from the international audience.

But since Aug. 2012, we saved a very special date: 16 feb. 2013. That night, will be a great one. Between 15 and 16 Feb. asteroid 2012 DA14, about 50 meters large in diameter, will come very close to our planet, reaching a minimum distance of just 30.000 km! It is worth to underline that there is NOT any risk of collision with the Earth. Thanks to such very short distance, asteroid 2012 DA14 will be bright enough to be visible with very common instruments, like a simple pair of binoculars.

The Virtual Telescope planned a very special live, online observing session for Feb. 16, do not miss it!

While waiting for 2012 DA14 coming so close, we wanted to share the map above, showing the asteroid path as seen from the Virtual Telescope location, in Central Italy. It is incredible to see how much it will move in few hours. Times are local ones, that is UT+1.

We found so intriguing to see how 2012 DA14 will ideally connect the flag of the southern skies, the Southern Cross, with the symbol of the northern skies, the Big Dipper.

The star chart was plotted using TheSkySix Professional, by Software Bisque.


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