Asteroid 2012 DA 14

February 16, 2013

2012 DA 14

Photographer: Mohamed Laaifat
Summary Authors: Mohamed Laaifat; Jim Foster

The photo above showing Asteroid 2012 DA14 darting over Caen, France was captured yesterday (February 15) at approximately 22:30 CET (Central European Time). It was moving in a more or less south-north direction almost perpendicular to the star trails of Ursa Major (Big Dipper). This office building-size chunk of rock passed approximately 17,000 mi (28,000 km) above the Earth’s surface, inside the orbits of geosynchronous telecommunication satellites, orbiting at 22,000 mi (35,406 km) above the equator. Though 2012 DA14 never actually threatened our planet, there was a collective sigh of relief after it tumbled by, since only a few hours earlier a huge meteor (estimated to be about 55 ft or 17 m in diameter) shattered the early morning quiet of western Siberia. It appears that a number of fragments from this meteor struck the ground. Note that once a meteor contacts the surface it's referred to as a meteorite. Yesterday's impact, near Chelyabinsk, was perhaps the most significant on our planet (or just above its surface) since the Tunguska event of 1908, which flattened tens of thousands of acres of boreal forests in central Siberia.

Photo Details: Camera Model: NIKON D500; Lens and Focal Length: SIGMA 300mm.