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John Wheeler, WDAY, Published February 14 2013

Weather talk: Major asteroid will have near-encounter with Earth

At 12:30 this afternoon, Earth will have a near-encounter with a major asteroid.

Asteroid 2012DA14, a space rock about 50 yards across, will pass by harmlessly about 17,000 miles above the ground over Antarctica. It will not have any effect on weather or tides, and it will not be visible at all in the Northern Hemisphere. For perspective, the asteroid will pass about 5,000 miles closer than the orbits of most communication satellites, which hover at 22,000 miles up.

This asteroid is about the same size as the one that created the Winslow Meteor Crater in Arizona 50,000 years ago. If this giant rock were expected to hit Earth, it would have an impact many times greater than the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945. It would not be enough to destroy life on Earth, but it would cause widespread, large-scale devastation.

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