(ABC News)–Asteroid 2012 DA14
makes its closest approach to Earth at 2:25 p.m. ET Friday, and the
world's astronomers have been on the lookout for it.
These pictures (see attached) were taken when the asteroid was still about 465,000
miles away from us. Most of the dots in these very enlarged images are
stars in the distant background; the asteroid stands out because it is
moving in front of them. NASA says the animation was created by
astronomers at the Remanzacco Observatory in Italy.
The asteroid is on a gently curving path that will take it from south
to north, best seen Friday from Asia, Australia and parts of Europe.
It will conveniently be passing over the night side of Earth (the
Eastern hemisphere; the U.S. will be in daylight) when it's closest.
Bob Berman, an astronomer who writes a column for Astronomy magazine and also works with Slooh.com,
a space website, said the asteroid will still be a dot, slightly too
dim to be seen with the naked eye, when it comes closest — about 17,220
miles away — on Friday. Like most scientists, he's not worried about
this one, though it's a useful reminder that the Earth does get hit by
asteroids every now and then.
“But, hey,” he said, “a miss is a miss.”
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