Earth to have close encounter with asteroid

Last Updated: Mon, Feb 04, 2013 14:10 hrs

London, Feb 4 (IANS) An asteroid called "2012 DA14" will miss the Earth by just around 30,000 km, a very near miss in space terms, when it passes by the planet Feb 14.

The asteroid, about 150-feet across, will come closer to Earth than the ring of geosynchronous satellites, which are in orbit about 35,000 km above the Earth, the Daily Mail reported.

The space rock would whizz past the Earth at a speed of around 28,000 km per hour.

Although the asteroid is small, if it were on a collision course with the Earth, it would produce the equivalent of 2.5 mega tonnes of TNT.

Scientists, however, say that is not enough to wipe out life on the Earth. But that it could wipe out a city.

NASA says the asteroid will not be seen with the naked eye, but that a good pair of binoculars or a telescope should be able to pick it out.

The best view for astronomers will be from Indonesia, says NASA.

The asteroid was discovered last year by astronomers in Spain.

Its orbital period around the Sun is 368 days.

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