Asteroid 2012 DA14 passing by today

Asteroid 2012 DA14 is passing by earth today. It’s closest approach (17,200 km) will occur at 2:25 p.m. ET over the Indian Ocean. Alan Boyle provides some info on how to watch it pass:  Watch asteroid 2012 DA14 buzz past harmlessly, via streaming video – Cosmic Log

Observers in that area will be able to see it with binoculars or small telescopes. NASA JPL has a live webcast here of a telescope view: USTREAM – NASA Follows Asteroid Flyby.

Here’s another webcast: The Virtual Telescope Project 2.0: Virtual Telescope’s WebTV

This video from “Samford Valley Observatory in Brisbane, Australia, shows the progress of asteroid 2012 DA14 across the night sky as it nears its closest approach”:

Space Show: Mars rock drilling on Hotel Mars + Lunar building webinar

Dr. Dorothy Oehler of NASA’s Johnson Space Center spoke on “Hotel Mars” this week with David Livingston and John Batchelor about Curiosity rover’s recent drilling operation and about “the process, the significance, possible findings, and pending analysis, plus the uniqueness of this incredible first time ever drilling operation”: John Batchelor “Hotel Mars,” Wednesday, 2-13-13 – Thespaceshow’s Blog

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On Sunday Feb. 17, 2013, 1-3 PM PST (4-6 PM EST, 3-5 PM CST),  DR. Haym Benaroya of Rutgers University will lead a webinar on the building of lunar structures on the Space Show: Space Show Webinar with Dr. Haym Benaroya, Dr. John Jurist, Sunday, 2-17-13 – Thespaceshow’s Blog

You can follow along with the presentation using this slides file: Short – Space Show Webinar on Lunar Structures Engineering 17 Feb 2013 (pptx).

Large scale meteor shower over Russia causes injuries and ground damage

A dramatic meteor shower took place over the Urals area of Russia today with large fireballs  and smoke tails seen in the sky and loud explosions heard. (See video below.) Sightings were reported in the cities of Chelyabinsk, Yekaterinburg and Tyumen. Widespread meteorite debris hitting the ground caused injuries to several hundred people  and damage to buildings (see second video below.)

Update: It was  just a cosmic coincidence. The meteoroid that caused the shower came from a much different orbit than asteroid 2012 DA14 and so they are not related: Astronomers: Russia’s Meteorite Is Not Related To Today’s Near-Earth Asteroid Fly-By – Popular Science.

From reading the articles today, some definitions are in order. A meteoroid is the rock traveling in space, a meteor is the bright flashy trail as it streaks through the atmosphere. and a meteorite is a chunk of a meteoroid that made it to the ground without vaporizing.

Planetary Society Hangout: Earth-sized exoplanets in our neighborhood

In the latest Planetary Society Hangout (February 14, 2013), Emily Lakdawalla of the Society and Courtney Dressing of Harvard talked “about just how common Earth-sized exoplanets may be in our neighborhood”:  Planetary Society Weekly Hangout, Thu Feb 14 1200PT/2000UT: Courtney Dressing – The Planetary Society

Everyone can participate in space