NASA Television will provide commentary starting at 2 p.m. EST (11 a.m. PST) on Friday, Feb. 15, during the close, but safe, flyby of a small near-Earth asteroid named 2012 DA14. NASA places a high priority on tracking asteroids and protecting our home planet from them. This flyby will provide a unique opportunity for researchers to study a near-Earth object up close.

The half-hour broadcast from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., will incorporate real-time animation to show the location of the asteroid in relation to Earth, along with live or near real-time views of the asteroid from observatories in Australia, weather permitting.

At the time of its closest approach to Earth at approximately 2:25 p.m. EST (11:25 a.m. PST/ 19:25 UTC), the asteroid will be about 17,150 miles (27,600 kilometers) above Earth’s surface.

The commentary will be available via NASA TV and streamed live online at:

http://www.nasa.gov/ntv

and

http://www.ustream.tv/nasajpl2

In addition to the commentary, near real-time imagery of the asteroid’s flyby before and after closest approach, made available to NASA by astronomers in Australia and Europe, weather permitting, will be streamed beginning at about noon EST (9 a.m. PST) and continuing through the afternoon at the following website:

http://www.ustream.tv/nasajpl2

A Ustream feed of the flyby from a telescope at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., will be streamed for three hours starting at 9 p.m. EST (8 p.m. CST). To view the feed and ask researchers questions about the flyby via Twitter, visit:

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/nasa-msfc

As the NLSI expands to include the study of Near Earth Objects, we are taking particular interest in events such as these transpiring today. Tonight, members of NLSI will be at Foothill College Observatory along with our partners at the Peninsula Astronomical Society to observe and record asteroid 2012 DA14. Members of the media are welcome to join us between 7PM and 9PM PST for our primary observational run. We should be able to provide a video feed from the telescope to news crews coming with RCA or S-Video connectors. From 9-11 PM the observatory will be open for public viewing.

Here is our 2012DA14 video taken from the Foothill College Observatory, at 7:45 PM PST, moving past SAO2486.

The NASA Near Earth Objects (NEO) Program at the agency’s headquarters in Washington, manages and funds the search, study, and monitoring of NEOs, or asteroids and comets, whose orbits periodically bring them close to the Earth. NASA’s study of NEOs provides important clues to understanding the origin of our solar system. The objects also are a repository of natural resources and could become waystations for future exploration. In collaboration with other external organizations, one of the program’s key goals is to search and hopefully mitigate potential NEO impacts on Earth. JPL conducts the NEO program’s technical and scientific activities.

For more information, including graphics and animations showing the flyby of 2012 DA14, visit:

www.nasa.gov/asteroidflyby

For more information about asteroids and near-Earth objects, visit:

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/asteroidwatch

Posted by: Soderman/NLSI Staff
Source: NASA

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