CSUF students watch the flyby of asteroid

February 16, 2013 12:15:37 AM PST
Now that asteroid, DA 14, has made its pass, astronomers are looking forward to the end of the year, when a comet is expected pass.

First, a meteor that broke apart over Russia, causing a shockwave that shattered windows and injured hundreds. Then, a much bigger asteroid, the size of half of a football field, came within 1,700 miles of earth. Experts believe the two events happened by coincidence, but a professor at Fresno State says there is a lesson to be learned.

A few students gathered in Fresno State's Downing Planetarium to watch the asteroid flyby. At its closest point, it was closer to earth than some satellites. "It's very exciting to see these objects fly by so close to us," said Fresno State senior Simon Gonzalez.

Planetarium Director Dr. Steven White called it a good day for earth. "Earth had a lucky day. That's what I think the main idea is, pay attention, earthlings," said White.

The asteroid, named DA 14, was first discovered in February of 2012. Dr. White said the event shows that more should be done to map the so-called 'near earth objects'.

"With this one, last year if we had found out February 15th that it was going to hit us, I doubt there was anything we could have done except maybe send people away from low-lying areas in case it hit the water and there was a Tsunami? That is something to think about," said White.


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