First of all, I want to say, that I hope everyone had a lovely Valentine's Day, yesterday! My day was very, VERY nice, and, for the first time in years, I enjoyed the day, with someone that I enjoy spending real time with. Not everyone has someone to enjoy it with, and therefor, it's a day that I am not so very pleased about, in general. I know very well, how it can be, being alone on "V-Day". But, with all my sincere warm feelings, I hope you all got thru it, in a good way...
Now, as "V-Day" is over, a rare phenomenon is on our doorsteps! I am a person who is pretty astronomy, and space-interested. I used to work as a show-host for a radio station in Norway, and, during those years, I had many interview's by phone with NASA, their astronomy-department, and also their space program-department. I can definitely say, that my interest still hasn't faded. So, tonight I will pull my telescope out into my yard, and stay ready.
We will have a "fly-by", or, if you'd like, a "Shave", by an asteroid, that will be as close as any has ever whizzed by earth, in modern times, with out being in any danger hitting the ground, or disintegrate in the atmosphere close enough to make any damage. Still, it will be so close, it will whizz inside the area of where our satellites are orbiting in space. Even tho it is so small that it will be difficult to spot in the sky, you may still be lucky enough to have a glimpse of this very rare object. Named as "Asteroid 2012 DA14", it will be closest to Earth this Friday, at about 11:24 a.m. PST, which is 2:24 p.m. EST and 1924 UTC. It will fly by at a general distance of about 27,700 kilometers, or 17,200 miles, above Earth's surface. Still, it will be above the International Space Station (ISS), and the major amount of our satellites, it is considerably close. When it is at it's closest, the asteroid will be only about 1/13th of the distance to the moon. Also, the asteroid will fly by our planet quite rapidly, at a speed of about 17,400 mph, or 7.8 kilometers per second, and it will go in a south-to-north direction with respect to Earth. NASA's website has a lot of nice information about this, and you can read about it, in more and better details here. (nasa.gov web-link).
|illustration of the close "fly-by" tonight, by NASA. (picture courtesy of nasa.gov).|
Now, you may have seen all the news about the meteorite that made damages in a part of Russia this very early a.m - don't worry about anything similar happening with this asteroid. Those are two completely different phenomenons. First of all, the damages in Russia, was made by a different meteorite - not this asteroid. It's a big difference.
Tonight will just be a real interesting phenomenon. Something that doesn't happen often. No matter if you will try spotting it tonight, or not - I wish you the best of luck, and an interesting evening. I will be bundling up in "Michelin-Man" size, again. Gazing up at the sky. Who knows when something like this will happen again - a safe "shave" of an asteroid, passing us. I can't wait. I, for one, am ready...
|gaze at the skies, and stars tonight. maybe you will be lucky enough, to make a wish.|
|horrible bad phone-picture, but, my telescope is ready - so is my stormtrooper :)|
Til next time!