This image from D. Herald of Murrumbateman, Australia, shows the asteroid 2012 DA14 as a tiny speck in the center of the field of view. It was taken just past midnight on Feb. 13, 2013 in Australia (the morning of Feb. 12 in the U.S.), as it headed towards its closest approach to Earth on Feb. 15. The image is an overlay of 12 one-minute exposures. The asteroid is the small dot at the center, indicated by the red arrows. The white streaks are images of stars, trailed because the telescope was tracking the motion of the asteroid. At the time the image was taken, the asteroid was passing nearly in front of the globular cluster 47 Tucanae, located 17,000 light years away. The asteroid itself was only 770,000 miles (1.2 million kilometers) away, and closing in fast for its dramatic close approach on Feb. 15. At its closest, 2012 DA14 is expected to fly safely by the Earth at about 17,200 miles (27,700 kilometers) above the surface.
Image credit: D. Herald