The world will witness the small near-Earth asteroid 2012 DA14 whizz past the Earth on Friday night and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will stream the rare event live online.
Asteroid 2012 DA14 will fly past the earth at a speed of 4.8 miles per second (7.82 kilometers per second) and within an altitude of 27,700 kilometers (17,200 miles) over Indonesia, making it the closest asteroid to approach the planet in many decades.
NASA will provide commentary of the rare flyby with a TV broadcast at 2 p.m. EST (12:30 a.m. IST, Saturday) and a UStream/Webchat event at 9 p.m. EST (7:30 a.m. IST, Saturday).
The asteroid measuring approximately 45 metres (150 feet) in diameter and with an estimated mass of about 130,000 metric tons, will pass inside the ring of geosynchronous weather and communications satellites, which could even disrupt mobile phone network, but NASA has confirmed that it will not collide with the earth.
According to NASA, asteroid 20 12 DA14 will be closest to Earth on 15 February (Feb 16 in India) at approximately 19:24 UTC (2:24 p.m. EST/11:24 a.m. PST). In India, the asteroid's close shave with the planet will happen at 12:54:00 am Saturday.
2012 DA14 will be visible from parts of Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia with the help of binoculars or telescope but people in Western Hemisphere, Hawaii and New Zealand may not get the chance to witness it as it will be daytime when the asteroid past the earth.
"......you'll need some kind of optical aid to spot 2012 DA14. At its brightest, the space rock will shine at a magnitude of +7.4; under a very dark, clear sky, a person with average eyesight can see stars down to magnitude +6.5. (The higher the magnitude, the dimmer the object). So to view the asteroid, you're going to need a good pair of binoculars, or better yet, a moderately big (6-inch or larger) telescope," reported Space.com.
"To those who manage to get it in view, the most striking aspect will be the movement of the asteroid against the background stars, as it will move at 0.8 degrees per minute. That's nearly twice the apparent diameter of the moon! As seen through the eyepiece of a high-power telescope, the asteroid will appear to whiz rapidly across your field of view, somewhat reminiscent of the second hand of a clock," it added.