Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


Asteroid makes near-earth flyby

Asteroid makes near-earth flyby

Astronomers at Auckland’s Stardome Observatory and Planetarium will watch with interest this week as a small asteroid whizzes closely past Earth, entering New Zealand skies very early on Saturday morning. It’s definitely not on a collision course, but is certainly of interest because astronomers have never observed such a narrow miss before of an object this size.

Discovered a year ago by astronomers at La Sagra Observatory in Spain, the 45 metre wide asteroid called “2012 DA14", will pass within 27,700 kilometres of the Earth's surface – closer than some telecommunications satellites – while travelling at a speed of around 8 km per second. However, it won’t be visible with the naked eye, binoculars or even most backyard telescopes when it passes through New Zealand skies.

Stardome astronomer Dr Grant Christie will be tracking the asteroid at Stardome from very early on Saturday morning. Through the computerised telescope at Stardome the object will be visible as a faint dot moving amongst a field of stars.

The time of closest approach is 8.25 am, several hours after sunrise, so from New Zealand we can only see it as it is still approaching Earth. The best place to be is Indonesia because it will still be night time there at the time of closest approach and bright enough to be seen in binoculars. Astronomers are also interested to see if its brightness is changing, indicating an irregularly shaped rotating body.

This is classed as a Near Earth Object (NEO) because it occasionally crosses the orbit of the Earth and has the potential to collide with us in the future. However, it is already known there is only minimal risk of this asteroid hitting Earth any time in the next century. Observations from Stardome and many other observatories world-wide are used to keep track of these objects and identify those that may present a danger in the future For those wanting to know where the asteroid will be when it makes its early morning pass, Stardome Astronomy educator David Britten has produced an animation of the southern skies showing the predicted path of the asteroid, available on the Stardome Facebook page, along with an explanatory guide.

- ENDS -

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Scoop Business: NZ Dollar Catches Breath After "Goldilocks" Slump

The New Zealand dollar edged up following its dramatic slump yesterday after the Reserve Bank confirmed speculation it intervened in the currency market last month and PM John Key suggested a “Goldilocks” level far lower than at present. More>>

ALSO:

Biosecurity: Kiwifruit Claim To Hold Officials Accountable For Psa

Kiwifruit growers have joined forces to hold Biosecurity NZ accountable in the courts for its negligence in allowing 2010’s Psa outbreak that devastated New Zealand’s kiwifruit industry and exports. Foundation claimants representing well ... More>>

ALSO:

Poison: Anglers Advised Not To Eat Trout In 1080 Areas

With the fishing season opening in just a few days (1 October 2014), anglers are being warned by the Department of Conservation(DOC) not to eat trout from pristine backcountry waters and their downstream catchments, where the department is conducting 1080 poisoning operations. More>>.

ALSO:

Quotas: MPI Swoop On Suspected Fraudulent Fishing Activity

Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) compliance officers swooped on a Hawkes Bay fishing enterprise today to secure evidence in an investigation into suspected fraudulent activity... “The investigation involves activity throughout the commercial supply chain – catching, landing, processing and exporting.” More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Fonterra Slashes 2015 Milk Payout, Earnings Tumble 76%

Fonterra Cooperative Group cut its forecast 2015 milk price payout by about 12 percent, citing weaker global dairy prices and said there is a risk of further declines given strong global milk production. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: RBNZ Keeps OCR At 3.5%, Signals Slower Pace Of Future Hikes

Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler kept the official cash rate at 3.5 percent and signalled he won’t be as aggressive with future rate hikes as previously thought as inflation remains tamer than expected. The kiwi dollar fell to a seven-month low. More>>

ALSO:

Weather: Dry Spells Take Hold In South Island

Many areas in the South Island are tracking towards record dry spells as relatively warm, dry weather that began in mid-August continues... for some South Island places, the current period of fine weather is quite rare. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Computer Power Plus

Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand

Mosh Social Media
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news