NASA says an asteroid close shave takes place on Feb.15 when DA14 makes a very close pass to Earth. In fact, astronomers say the space rock will whiz by even closer than the distance the moon orbits the planet. However, the threat of an asteroid impact is not likely. Even then, at only half the size of a football field, it wouldn’t cause catastrophic damage.
In a Feb. 1 report, NBCNews noted that DA14 will come within a distance of 17,200 miles from Earth. That makes it close enough to view with backyard telescopes. The only problem is keeping up with the fast-moving asteroid making a close shave.
View list: “Top 10 largest asteroids in space”
Scientists say the cosmic body will move about the width of a full moon every minute, but experienced stargazers will have no trouble charting its course.
Don Yeomans, the head of NASA’s asteroid-tracking program said, “This is a record-setting close approach.
“Since regular sky surveys began in the 1990s, we’ve never seen an object this big get so close to Earth.”
Yeoman went on to say that there is not threat of as deadly collision with the planet. And while it will pass Earth closer than most man-made satellites, an impact is remote as well.
Nonetheless, while an impact is not likely, recall another asteroid close shave that took place in 1908 in Tunguska, Russia. Back then, a rock in similar size to DA14 did not impact the surface, but exploded in the atmosphere. This led to hundreds of miles of forest being leveled. In fact, scientists are still studying the “Tunguska Even” for clues.
DA14 was discovered by — get this — amateur space enthusiasts, not the big boys at NASA. It makes you wonder: how is such a tiny rock found by a group not paid to do this for a living?
Hopefully, scientists are right about the asteroid close shave prediction.
Don’t miss it because rocks of this size only happen every 1,200 years.
Top ten largest asteroids in space
This begins your journey into deep space, where you’ll come to know the top ten largest asteroids orbiting Earth. One is so large that NASA has reclassified it into a dwarf planet. One even has more than one moon of its own. However, any one of the asteroids on the list could potentially obliterate life on Earth as we know it, should there ever be an impact.
Asteroid Ceres: Number 1
Asteroids are constantly cropping up in news and blog posts frequently. Topping the list of the largest asteroids in the word is Ceres. The rock-ice body, which was also classified as a dwarf-planet, spans 950 km or 590 miles across.
While orbiting space rocks are nothing new, the attention, like with UFOs, is increasing as NASA and astronomers use newer technology to chart paths. The mystery and myths of these galactic bodies are made popular by Hollywood, doomsday worshipers and the occasional discovery of a large asteroid that suddenly appeared.
With the approach of Asteroid DA14’s close shave with Earth on Feb. 15, topics about these potential planet-destroyers are trending on social media.
Thankfully, DA14’s size (half a football field) and path distance (17,200 miles from Earth) poses little or no threat to our planet, this according to NASA officials.
Still, the asteroid’s close shave is worth tracking.
Click through the list of the “Top 10 Killer Asteroids” scientists have discovered.
Asteroid Pallas: Number 2
Asteroid Pallas, like Vesta and Ceres, was discovered in the early 19th century. The large lumpy space rock measures 362 by 345 by 311 miles (582 by 556 by 500 kilometers). For comparison, it is about the size of the state of New Mexico.
While at a glimpse, Pallas looks like an eighth-magnitude star, if one views if over a few nights, it will move its position, while distant stars remain in place.
Asteroid Vesta: Number 3
Asteroid Vesta is believed to be remnants from the early days of the solar system. The large space rock, which spans 325 miles across, was likely halted from forming into a planet by Jupiter’s massive gravitational pull.
Recently, NASA discovered a crater basin on Vesta, likely from an 25-mile-wide asteroid impact. In fact, the resultant material that flew out could fill up 1000 Grand Canyons.
Asteroid Hygiea: Number 4
Asteroid Hygiea, discovered in 1849, has about 2.9 percent of the total mass of the asteroid belt. It has an oblong shape and spans 350-500 km in diameter or 217-311 miles. Additionally, it is among the most difficult to see from Earth due to its dark surface material. It is made up of a carbonaceous.
Asteroid Interamnia: Number 5
Asteroid Interamnia was discovered in 1910 and was given the Latin name from the city from which it was discovered, Teramo, Italy. Interamnia is the largest asteroid behind the “Big Four.” It spans 326 kilometers across or 202 miles and has a very dark and bulky surface. Due to its lack of light refraction, not much is known about its internal makeup. It takes nearly six years to orbit the sun.
Asteroid Europa: Number 6
Asteroid Europa is in the main belt and takes nearly six years to make one pass around the sun. The low density space rock is very porous, showing off evidence of many smaller asteroid impacts. It spans 301 kilometers across or 187 miles.
Of note: Europe takes its name from the legend of the asteroid. According to Greek mythology, Zeus was in love with Europa. Imagine that.
Asteroid Davida: Number 7
Asteroid Davida is a large floating body that was first discovered 100 years ago, but not seen with great detail until recently. It measures 289 kilometers in diameter or 186 miles. Scientists believe that the asteroid will make its next pass near Earth in 2030. However, at this time, it poses no threat.
Asteroid Sylvia: Number 8
Asteroid Sylvia is named after Rhea Sylvia, the mythical mother of the founders of Rome, according to UC Berkeley. And get this: Asteroid Sylvia is the first known space rock to have more than one moon. It’s a wonder NASA hasn’t reclassified it as a dwarf planet like Asteroid Ceres.
With the discovery that two moons orbited the asteroid, a university researcher proposed to name them both, Romulus and Remus.
Asteroid Cybele: Number 9
Asteroid Cybele comes in at number nine among the largest space rocks discovered by NASA and space scientists. It measures 273 kilometers or 169 miles across and is part of the outer asteroid belt. It’s actually part of the Cybele family of asteroids that roam outward from the sun towards Jupiter.
Asteroid Eunomia: Number 10
Asteroid Eunomia, is the largest stony asteroid among the top ten asteroids in space. Eunomia spans about 268 kilometers across, which is equivalent to 203 miles. And although it is the smallest among other space rocks, it’s size is still menacing and could cause catastrophic damage if there were an Earth impact or asteroid close shave.