Thursday, January 31, 2013

Might Be Worth Getting Binoculars Out To Watch

It's going to be close.  From January 31, 2013 Fox News:
An asteroid about half the size of a football field will zoom past Earth on Feb. 15, closer than the man-made satellites that power GPS, says NASA....

At its closest point, the asteroid will only be 17,200 miles above our planet’s surface.
It should be 8th magnitude, and moving fast -- " traveling at a speed equal to twice the width of a full moon every minute."

1 comment:

Dave said...

The article gets one important fact wrong. GPS satellites are not in geosynchronous orbit like DirecTV and Dish Network satellites are. They are in an orbit 12,600 miles above earth. So the asteroid will not be closer to the earth than the GPS satellites. The asteroid will pass closer than the DirecTV and Dish Network satellites though.

In all fairness, I didn't realize the GPS satellites were that far from the earth. I knew they weren't geosynchronous, but I didn't know that they were up that high. I was concerned about an asteroid passing that close until I realized the satellites are that far out and the asteroid isn't going to be that close.