Sound Off: Asteroid approach
What are the instructions for viewing the asteroid? Will it be visible with binoculars?
On Friday, Asteroid 2012 DA14 will make its closest approach to Earth, according to NASA. And Steven Hawley, a Kansas University astronomer and former astronaut, says that it will likely be quite difficult to spot. The asteroid is predicted to pass by Earth more closely (about 17,200 miles above the surface) than any other asteroid of its size ever has, but it will still be too small to see with the naked eye. But it also will be moving too fast to track easily with a telescope, said Hawley, a professor of physics and astronomy. That means binoculars would be your best bet, he said, but even that might be a stretch. The asteroid is set to be closest to Earth about 1:25 p.m. Central Time on Friday, and according to NASA it will be most visible in parts of Europe, Africa and Asia. NASA, though, promises to show a feed of the asteroid’s flyby online, making use of a telescope in Huntsville, Ala., from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, at ustream.tv/channel/nasa-msfc.