Asteroid encounter available on NASA television

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Moscow, Feb 15: While Earth awaits a fly past by Asteroid 2012 DA14 tonight (12:55 am IST), nearly 400 people were injured when a meteorite shot across the sky in central Russia on Friday sending fireballs crashing to Earth, smashing windows and setting off car alarms.

One can watch Nasa Television broadcast which will be live webcast during closest approach on Friday night, featuring commentary and images from telescopes around the world as Asteroid 2012 DA14 though close and relatively large (about half the length of a football field), it is not going to become bright enough to be seen with the naked eye. Sky watchers can catch a glimpse of it using binoculars. The telecast will start at 19:00 GMT.

Asteroid 2012 DA14 has generated so much interest that Google has made a doodle for Earth's close shave with the asteroid. The doodle shows the second 'G' in the company's logo moving aside in a seemingly alarming manner as an asteroid passes by its spot.

The meteorite shower that hit three regions of Russia and Kazakhstan could be connected to the passing of Asteroid 2012 DA14.

The newly-discovered asteroid will pass nearer to Earth at about 27,520km (17,200 miles) above the planet, bringing it nearer than the networks of television and weather satellites that ring the planet. They fly about 800 km from the Earth. The astronomical body will travel at a speed of 13km (8 miles) per second. The non-profit Space Data Association tracking satellites for potential collisions says that no spacecraft would be in its way.

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