Current predictions indicate that on its next flyby, due on Feb. 15, 2013, it will pass Earth at just 24 000 km – closer than many commercial satellites.
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Threading the Satellite Needle: Asteroid 2012 DA14
This graphic is an illustration of how the asteroid 2012 DA14 will fly between Earth and the constellation of geosynchronous satellites on Feb. 15, 2013, when the asteroid flies within 17,200 miles of the planet.
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Asteroid 2012 DA14 Size vs. Shuttle
This NASA graphic shows the size of asteroid 2012 DA14 as it compares to a NASA space shuttle. The asteroid is about 164 feet (50 meters) across.
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Size of Asteroid 2012 DA14
This NASA graphic depicts the size of asteroid 2012 DA14, a 164-foot (50 meters) space rock. It will fly extremely close to Earth on Feb. 15, 2013, coming within 17,200 miles of the planet.
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Orbit Diagram for Asteroid 2012 DA14
Credit: NASA/JPL Near-Earth Object Program Office
In this oblique view, the path of near-Earth asteroid 2012 DA14 is seen passing close to Earth on Feb. 15, 2013.
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Asteroid 2012 DA14 Close Approach
Graphic depicts the trajectory of asteroid 2012 DA14 during its close approach, as seen edge-on to Earth's equatorial plane. The graphic demonstrates why the asteroid is invisible to northern hemisphere observers until just before close approach: it is approaching from "underneath" our planet. On the other hand, after close approach it will be favorably placed for observers in the northern hemisphere.
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Asteroid 2012 DA14 Viewing: Europe and Asia
This NASA map shows the locations in Eastern Europe, Asia and Australia, where the asteroid 2012 DA14 may be visible in telescopes during its close Earth flyby on Feb. 15, 2013.
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Asteroid 2012 DA14 Viewing Maps: U.S.
This still from a NASA video depicts the area of North America where asteroid 2012 DA14 may be visible in amateur astronomers' telescopes at 7 p.m. EST and 10 p.m. EST on Feb. 15, 2013. The asteroid will be faint and fast, making it hard to spot for even veteran stargazers.
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Asteroid 2012 DA14: S-Type Space Rock
Asteroid 2012 DA14 is about half the size of a football field and is an S-type asteroid, meaning it is made of silicate material.
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Asteroid 2012 DA14 Brightness
This NASA chart shows how bright asteroid 2012 DA14 will appear, as compared to other night sky objects, when it zooms within 17,200 miles of Earth on Feb. 15, 2013.
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Trajectory of Asteroid 2012 DA14 on Feb 15, 2013
Graphic depicts the trajectory of asteroid 2012 DA14 on Feb 15, 2013. In this view, we are looking down from above Earth's north pole.
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Asteroid and Earth Orbits Intersect
In this plot, the asteroid is the yellow dot, and Earth is green; the two orbits intersect twice per year. A preliminary orbit calculation shows that 2012 DA14 has a very Earth-like orbit with a period of 366.24 days, just one more day than our terrestrial year, and it ‘jumps’ inside and outside of the path of Earth two times per year.
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Asteroid 2012 DA14 Flyby Timing
This NASA chart depicts asteroid 2012 DA14's position and times during its Feb. 15, 2013 flyby of Earth. The asteroid will approach within 17,200 miles of Earth.
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Yarkovsky Effect Diagram
Credit: Alexandra Bolling, NRAO/AUI/NSF
This diagram shows how the Yarkovsky Effect slows an asteroid's orbital motion; opposite rotation direction would speed up the orbital motion. Astronomers around the world are preparing to study the close approach of asteroid 2012 DA14 on Feb. 15, 2013.
Tariq joined TechMediaNetwork's SPACE.com team in 2001 as a staff writer, and later editor, covering human spaceflight, exploration and space science. He became SPACE.com's Managing Editor in 2009. Before joining SPACE.com, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Tariq on Google+.