Tonight 7:30pm GMT, ‘2012 DA14’ asteroid will pass near earth!

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Tonight at 19:30 Britain will have a rare opportunity to watch a asteroid pass closely to earth, the body will be close enough to see with the naked eye and is big enough to destroy London and wreck havoc on earth if it were to collide.

Scientists insist there is no chance that the 150ft-wide space rock will hit the planet, but it will be as close as 17,200 miles so as Ray (Samuel L Jackson) say in Jurassic Park… “Hold on to your buts!”…

So if we have a clear sky (wait this is Britain so don't hold your breath), we should be able to track the oversized-pebble climbing in the north-eastern sky from anywhere in the United Kingdom. It will take 2 hours to travel between the constellations of Leo and Plough (from 8pm – 10pm).

Robin Scagell, vice-president of the Society for Popular Astronomy, said: “It will be possible to see it if you know where to look, but just waving your binoculars in the right general direction isn’t going to work.

“The asteroid will be a faint dot of light moving at a steady rate between the stars. It’ll be thousands of times fainter than Jupiter and 250 times fainter than the stars of the Plough.

“The trick will be to find the area in advance and wait for it to come through. You can use the star maps to find exactly the right part of the sky. If you hold your binoculars steady you will see this tiny point of light crawling across your field of view in about seven or eight minutes.

“It’s not easy, but you will have the thrill of knowing you are seeing a little object in space the size of an office block.”

DA14 will climb steeply from a point just below Leo, growing fainter as it travels across the sky. At the point it reaches the handle of the Plough, it will be 35 degrees above the horizon – equivalent to three stacked fists an arm’s length away.

Author: Dean Williams

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