Asteroid Buzzes By, World Spins On

It came within a relative whisker of 17K miles
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 15, 2013 1:46 PM CST
Asteroid Buzzes By, World Spins On
This image provided by NASA/JPL-Caltech shows a simulation of asteroid 2012 DA14 approaching from the south.   (AP Photo/NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The world is safe: That 150-foot cosmic rock astronomers were watching hurtled safely past Earth about 2:30pm Eastern. It was the closest known flyby for a rock of its size, passing within 17,500 miles, closer than some satellites. The asteroid was invisible to astronomers in the US at the time of its closest approach, but in Australia, observers used binoculars and telescopes to watch the point of light speed across the night sky. The flyby occurred just hours after smaller meteor exploded above Russia's Ural Mountains. Astronomers say the two events were coincidental. (More asteroid stories.)

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