It’s February already and time for another Near Earth Asteroid flyby. We had asteroid 2012 DA14 fly by last year between the earth and the moon’s orbit. In an odd coincidence, fragments from another, unrelated meter hit the Earth on the same day, and its air-burst shockwave caused property damage in Chelyabinsk, Russia. See a previous post for more details: Meteor Explodes over the Ural Mountains in Russia.
This year’s February Flyby, designated 2000 EM26, is six times longer than last year’s, but it will give us more breathing room. It will only get as close as 8.8 times the distance from the earth to the moon.
Space.com will cover Asteroid 2000 EM26 will fly live at 9pm EST. The link is here.
Slooh will also have a webcast starting at 9 p.m. EST (0200 Feb. 18 GMT): Slooh website.
|This Year||Last Year|
|Designation:||2000 EM26||2012 DA14|
|When:||closest to Earth on Feb. 17, 2014 (starting at 6 pm PST / 9 pm EST / 02:00 UTC 2/18)||closest to Earth on Feb. 15, 2013|
|Size:||about three football fields (885 feet or 270 meters) long||about half a football field (98 feet or 30 meters) long|
|Speed:||traveling at approximately 27,000 mph (12.37 km/s)||traveling at approximately 32,000 mph (14.48 km/s) a speed equal to twice the width of a full moon every minute|
|Where:||8.8 lunar distances||
What would happen if 2012DA14 were not an asteroid, but a probe from another solar system? Of course, it isn’t, but this possibility is explored in my science fiction short story, A Taste of Earth (available free on Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and others).