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

 

Maritime: Navigation Safety Review Raises Big Issues For The Govt

Shipping Federation: "The reports makes it clear that the ratification of the Maritime Labour convention (MLC) is long overdue. Only when the MLC is ratified will Maritime NZ be able to inspect and enforce the labour conditions on international ships visiting our ports." More>>

ALSO:

100 Years After Einstein Prediction: Gravitational Waves Found

For the first time, scientists have observed ripples in the fabric of spacetime called gravitational waves, arriving at the earth from a cataclysmic event in the distant universe. This confirms a major prediction of Albert Einstein’s 1915 general theory of relativity and opens an unprecedented new window onto the cosmos. More>>

ALSO:

Farming: Alliance Plans To Start Docking Farmer Payments

Alliance Group, New Zealand's second-largest meat cooperative, plans to start withholding some stock payments to its farmers from next week to bolster its balance sheet and force suppliers to meet their share requirements. More>>

ALSO:

Gambling: SkyCity First Half Profit Rises 30%, Helped By High Rollers

SkyCity anticipates the Auckland business will benefit from government gaming concessions which were triggered on Nov. 11 in recognition of SkyCity’s $470 million Convention Centre development. Morrison said the concessions would allow the Auckland business to lift its activity during peak period, noting it had a record revenue week over the Christmas and New Year period. More>>

ALSO:

Money For Light: Kiwi Scientists Secure Preferential Access To Synchrotron

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce today announced a three-year investment of $2.8 million in the Australian Synchrotron, the largest piece of scientific infrastructure in the Southern Hemisphere, to secure preferential access for Kiwi scientists. More>>

Telco Industry Report: Investment Hits $1.7 Bln A Year

Investment in the telecommunications sector is $1.7 billion a year, proportionately one of the highest levels in the OECD, according to a report released today on the status of the New Zealand sector. More>>

ALSO:

PGPs: New Programme Sets Sights On Strong Wool

A new collaboration between The New Zealand Merino Company (NZM) and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), announced today, aims to deliver premiums for New Zealand's strong wool sector... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news