Feeds

Sky watchers prep for early 2013 asteroid fly-bys

No ‘Lucifer’s Hammer’ this time

Seven Steps to Software Security

NASA asteroid-watchers are eagerly awaiting a January 9 fly-by of the maybe-dangerous-one-day 99942 Apophis to improve their understanding of its orbit.

Named after an ancient Egyptian god of evil and darkness, the asteroid was first detected in 2004. While the earliest observations suggested a possible collision with Earth in 2029, that threat was downgraded as more observations were collected.

However, since NASA still thinks there’s a “tiny chance of an impact” in April 2036, they’re looking forward to this week’s pass, when 99942 Apophis will pass 14.5 million kilometers away from Earth.

The JPL’s Lance Benner told AFP (via Phys.org) the agency will be measuring “the asteroid’s distance and line-of-sight velocity” to improve its ability to predict the comet’s motion.

In particular, NASA wants to try to measure the impact of the Yarkovsky effect on 99942 Apophis. This is the name given to the alternating heating and cooling of the asteroid as it rotates, which can impart a small momentum to the object and skew its motion.

Yet another close encounter is set for February 15, when the 57-meter 2012 DA14 will come closer to Earth than our cloud of geostationary satellites. Its fly-by will skim just 34,500 kilometers away from us.

That will be close enough for amateurs with decent instruments to catch it briefly, if it’s not in Earth’s shadow during the pass.

2012 DA14 is quite the regular companion of Earth, passing us twice a year. ®

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Beancounters tell NASA it's too poor to fly planned mega-rocket
Space Launch System would need another $400m and a lot of time
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
World Solar Challenge contender claims new speed record
One charge sees Sunswift travel 500kms at over 100 km/h
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.