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Asteroid sizeable but no need for alarm

Asteroid will not impact with the Earth.
Asteroid will not impact with the Earth. Don Stevenson

THIS Saturday Asteroid 2012 DA14 will come closer to earth than the distance of most communications satellites; the good news is Tweed residents will still have time to spoil their loved one for Valentine's Day.

Astronomers Phil Hood and Marie Whealing known as 'The cosmic couple' say although the asteroid is sizeable there is no need for alarm.

"The asteroid will cross around 6am in the morning on February 16," Ms Whealing said.

"It'll be travelling at roughly 28,000 km per hour, and its closest distance to the surface of the earth will be around 27,000 km, which is very close for an astronomical object.

"It's a pretty rare thing.

"It can not be seen with the naked eye, you will need binoculars or a telescope."

Associate Professor John O'Byrne of the Sydney Institute for Astronomy says although the asteroid will not hit earth, an object of this size would make a mess of a small city.

"The estimated size of the asteroid is 45 metres; this is based on how bright it appears and an estimate of how reflective its surface is" Mr O'Byrne said.

"The asteroid can be seen anywhere in Australia in the early morning hours although the problem for people in eastern Australia will be the rapidly brightening sky."



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