How to observe asteroid 2012 DA14 this Friday.

At 150 feet (45 meters) wide, asteroid 2012 DA14 is about half the size of a football field. It’s also moving at a blistering 17,450 mph (28,100 km/h).  The asteroid will pass just 27,630 kilometers (17,168 miles) from the surface of the Earth.

Yes, it will pass in the ring of geosynchronous satellites around the Earth.  No, we won’t be hit (cue the Bruce Willis references).  But… how can I see it?
Actually, the best way you will be able to see it is here.  If you have a telescope, all you will be able to see, maybe, is some light.  A lot of astronomers, both amateur and professional will be taking images to get light curves.  A light curve is a graph of light intensity of a celestial object or region, as a function of time.
File:201 Penelope light curve.png
These light curves help determine a lot about asteroids from throughout the solar system.  Even though we cannot see the asteroid, using the light curves you can actually make a computer generated 3D model of the shape of the asteroid.
If you are near a radio telescope, you might see a couple of pixels, but in the end.  Watch on the web from the NASA site listed above.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities.  Connect with me on Google +


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