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Night Wanderers: Asteroid 2012 DA 14 passing Earth (February 2013)

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Night Wanderers, captured by space and time-lapse enthusiast Colin Legg. From Phil Plait at Bad Astronomy for Slate:

As you may have heard, the asteroid 2012 DA14 silently glided past Earth on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013. Observations using radar have shown it to be an elongated rock about 20 x 40 meters (65 x 130 feet) in size… 

It still didn’t get very bright; it was invisible to the naked eye. But with digital cameras and dark skies, snapping pictures of it was a matter of knowing where to aim, something photographer Colin Legg knows very well. From Perth, Australia, he captured this lovely time-lapse video of the asteroid moving past Earth right at the time of closest approach, 19:24 UTC. And he captured more than just DA14; there are some other surprises in the video, too. Make sure to set it to full-screen.

You can see DA14 sliding through the video from top to bottom on the left side of the frame. But right after the video starts, a meteor plummets through the field of view, leaving behind what’s called a persistent train—a trail of vaporized rock that can glow for several minutes.

asteroid time lapse
Watch this smart animated explainer next: Space Rocks: Comets, asteroids, meteors, and meteorites.

Plus, watch more related videos on TKSST:
• A night time lapse of Comet Lovejoy
• Meteorite Over Chelyabinsk, Russia Caught on a Dash Cam
• What are shooting stars? Meteor Showers 101

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