UK & World News
Asteroid Skims Past Earth In Record Near-Miss
A 150ft-long asteroid has skimmed harmlessly past the Earth - closer than any other near-miss on record.
The huge chunk of rock was travelling closer to the planet than many satellites when it reached its nearest point at 7.25pm, shooting across the sky at a speed of 17,640mph (28,388kph).
But while it may have been visible as a tiny white dot to those using binoculars - weather permitting - scientists had said there was no chance it would hit Earth.
It had been expected come as close as 17,200 miles (27,681km) away, a close shave in astronomical terms.
People gathered across the UK with binoculars and telescopes to catch a glimpse of the object, called 2012 DA14, which is now moving away from the planet.
The European Space Agency said the asteroid is not linked to the meteorite that hit Russia earlier on Friday, with scientists calling it a coincidence.
At 143,000 tons, the "city killer" DA14 is nowhere near as big as the six-mile-wide (10km) object widely believed to have brought about the extinction of the dinosaurs, but it is large enough to have wiped out an area the size of London had it struck.
Astronomers in the US were unable to see it at its closest approach, but colleagues in Australia watched the point of light speed across a clear night sky.
There was a remote possibility that it could collide with one of more than 100 telecommunication and weather satellites in fixed orbits. It was expected to have moved beyond Earth's ring of satellites within hours.
Experts have been closely tracking the asteroid since its discovery a year ago.
Astronomer and asteroid expert Dr Dan Brown, from Nottingham Trent University, said star-gazers would have seen it pass from the constellation Leo to roughly the Plough, "more or less from anywhere in the UK", and that it would have been bright for an hour.
DA14 belongs to a dangerous family of near-Earth objects (NEOs) that are small enough to be missed but large enough to cause serious damage.
It was detected in February last year by La Sagra Observatory in southern Spain as it fell under the spotlight of the Sun's rays.
Scientists at Nasa's Near-Earth Object programme at California's Jet Propulsion Laboratory estimate an object of this size makes a close approach such as this every 40 years.
Nasa live-streamed the flight path of the asteroid from various observatories and satellites on its website.
what do you think?
ASTEROIDS natures way of saying " hows that space program coming along?"
An asteroid coming close, meteors hitting earth and exploding, reptiles becoming extinct. Didnt this happen before in the long distant past.
I thought i had better pint out there was a news item on here earlier saying many of the worlds may become extinct.
I did see that shaun. Yet another prime example of the damage man does to the planet
Many of the worlds lizards may become extinct.my last comment was meant to say.
Yep Shaun your right must of been global warming that killed those big lizards all those years ago
global cooling killed those big lizards
Yes Shaun I remember that meteor hitting the earth, it killed my pet Dinosaur :(
I gotta say valerie i didnt think you went that far back.
Oh yes, and may I tell you it is very painful being hit in the asteroids
Any chance of getting on this lump of rock and going somewhere else in the galaxy after all. we are only marking time on our own lump of rock
Is Bruce Willis and team on standby?
heh, took the words out of my mouth.
David Cameron praying it will hit the Earth another good chance to bury bad news.
And you're not?
Hope the satalites are insured for such an event.could see the insurance companies not paying up.lol.
Would it be an act of god.
Insurance companies should be sued for claiming there is such an animal as a god. Unless they can prove such a creature as with unicorns, elves and leprechauns do exist!!!
It should be called an act of nature as there is no such thing as god just like there's no santa clause and no tooth fairy.
What a silly comment steve, no santa claus indeed.i dont know ,some people.
Incredible. Every single astronomical object is painted GREY by human "scientists" including the Moon. Anyone would think space was grey. Another ROCK story. I don't think there is an asteroid anywhere near Earth today but if there is, hopefully it will have the consistency of a sponge.
Why would you paint something made of cheese grey?
Looks like a job for wallace and gromit.
Well whatever blew those windows out in Russia was a hell of a plane
Not every single object is painted grey. The suns yellow, earth is blue brown green and white, mars is red, Neptune is blue. Betelgeuse(sp?)(the star in orions right shoulder) is red and will one day get very bright before vanishing from our view forever
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Ive just realized that asteroids like comets come back round again.if its this close now how close will it be the next time and when.this seriously could hit us in the future.and if it does when.
We should be alright shaun with this one. Its coming from bellow us and when it passes our gravity will fling it off at an angle into the depths of space
you will be stardust when it comes back
For those interested apothis this asteroid will come back in 2036 and many scientists believe it could hit earth.anyway google "apothis."
First good reason I've come across for being old. I'll miss that.
hope it comes on my birthday
Ooh - I'm off for a look!
Sounds like your do well to see it.
WELL! did you see anything movvi.
We're all doomed Captain
i saw a film about this and we all died so i am of to have one last horse meat sandwich bye bye world
Seriously today highlights how much of a messed up neighbourhood we live in and how sick mother natures sense of humour is. One minute everyones waiting to see a huge city killing lump of rock pass the earth when bang! Russia gets hit in the urals. This is why we need to carry on researching space and keeping one eye on the billions of tonnes of rock and ice that could really ruin our day. Even us normal folk can help out the big guns of NASA, ESA and ROSCOSMOS
Surely its a near hit, not a near miss?
"Bugg*r it...........missed!" - God.
due to it passing the sun and earth this time round its orbit ,apparently ,has been perturbed .......... ?? is it gonna hit next time , 2080 theyre saying , wont be around ,love to have seen it