Asteroid expected to buzz the earth Friday - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Asteroid expected to buzz the earth Friday afternoon

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Ural Region, Russia -

A meteor streaked through the skies above Russia's Urals region Friday morning, before exploding with a flash and boom that shattered glass in buildings and left hundreds of people hurt.  

Friday's Chelyabinsk meteor comes on the same day that a hefty asteroid is due to charge past Earth at a pretty close range, in space terms.

Known as 2012 DA14, the asteroid is thought to be 45 meters long, about half the length of a football field.

But scientists say it will come no closer than 17,100 miles from our planet's surface.

"No Earth impact is possible," according to Don Yeomans, manager of the Near-Earth Object Program Office at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Those in Eastern Europe, Asia or Australia will get the best telescope-aided view, scientists said. The asteroid won't be visible to the naked eye.

Colin Stuart, an astronomer at the Royal Observatory in London, said the asteroid's flyby was a chance for experts to get an unusually close-up look.

"Scientists are going to fire radar beams off of the asteroid, trying to get an idea what it's made of and the how it's moving, so that in the future, if there's something that's a bit more of a threat to us, we have the best knowledge of what we are dealing with," Stuart said.

The asteroid, which is not connected to the Russian meteor, is not expected to hit any of the communications satellites it will pass on its trajectory.

NASA will chronicle the flyby with a TV broadcast at 2 p.m. EST and a UStream/Webchat event at 9 p.m. EST.

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