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Updated Feb 15, 2013 - 12:58 pm

FYI: Asteroid passes near Earth without incident

Asteroid 2012 DA14 (LCOGT/Faulkes via NASA/JPL Photo)

PHOENIX -- An asteroid the size of half of a football field passed pass by Earth just after noon Friday with nary a Hollywood apocalyptic scenario in its wake.

The asteroid wasn't even visible to the naked eye. KTAR's Dr. Sky said the space rock, 2012 DA14, would cruise about 17,000 miles from the planet. In cosmic terms that is close.

"It's extremely unusual and theoretically dangerous. If the Earth is just a few thousand miles off in its orbit then the planet would absorb the impact of this amazing object," he said.

The asteroid's trajectory was set to cut inside of the satellite belt where TV and military satellites are in orbit, about 22,000 miles up.

Dr. Sky said even though the asteroid is small, if it hit it would do serious damage to a populated area.

"It would vaporize downtown Phoenix, creating a crater like Meteor Crater in northern Arizona east of Flagstaff. It would be a firestorm with winds of 300-400 miles per hour."

Early Friday, a meteor swept across the sky in eastern Russia, injuring hundreds.

About the Author

Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Have covered some of the biggest stories in Arizona including nine of the top 10 largest wildfires in state history. The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. Covered the Yarnell Hill Tragedy in June 2013 that left 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots dead.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges and Lonesome Dove.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, Texas Longhorns, The University of Montana Grizzlies.


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