Mike's Astro Photos
Feb.16 2013

Asteroid 2012DA14 and Russian Meteor

by , under Comets & Meteors

Yesterday, February 15th, 2013 was an exciting day in the meteor world. Of course it started off with the the Russian Fireball that caused quite a stir (see American Meteor Society article on Russian Meteor)

Coincidentally, yesterday was also the day Near Earth Asteroid 2012DA14 passed by at 27,743 kilometers (17,239 mi) above Earth’s surface. I had wanted to image the asteroid last week, but due to it approaching from below the Earth, it was only visible from the southern hemisphere. By chance, I was up late last night doing some work on the scope and I had previously tagged the asteroid in the SkyX (telescope control program). I noticed it was out and realized that after its closest approach it was now moving away from northern hemisphere and thus I could see it nicely from California!

I shot the asteroid for about 2 hours. Here is a composite image of 20 2 minute frames. There is a short pause in between each frame. The asteroid appears to get brighter as it moves, but i think this is really just the effect of clouds / seeing in between the shots.

Near Earth Asteroid – 2012 DA14 – February 16th, 2013

Here is an animation of the same series of pictures.

Near Earth Asteroid – 2012 DA14 – February 16th, 2013

*The streak that appears towards the end of the animation above, I believe is a part of a satellite flare.

Also to note, the Asteroid 2012DA14 and the Russian meteor are NOT related. Below is a diagram of the orbits created by SETI which clearly shows how these two events could not be related to the same stream of meteoroids. See this graphic from SETI & Wired magazine, click graphic to read article.

Orbital trajectories and sizes of 2012 DA14 and the meteor that streaked across the Russian skies on Friday. Photo by: SETI Institute

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