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FYI: Asteroid passes near Earth without incident

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.