The Spanish OLS (Observatorio Astronomico de La Sagra), an observatory that tracks down small Solar System objects like comets and asteroids, discovered asteroid 2012 DA14 in late February of 2012. At the time, it passed by the the Blue Planet as far as 7 times the Earth-Moon distance. It was classified as an asteroid that may hit the Earth during a later orbit in 2013, this alarm was considered dangerous since the asteroid is 44 meters (144 feet) long, and it weighs nearly 210,000 tons.
|Artist's conception of asteroid DA14|
According to NASA’s JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) and ESA (European Space Agency), this asteroid has an orbit of 366.24 days, much like our planet’s, so the asteroid comes into contact with the Earth’s orbit twice every year. This asteroid will visit the Earth on next year’s valentine’s day (15th February 2013) at a distance of 27,000 Km (16,777 miles).
|Orbit of Asteroid 2012 DA14|
Comets are annoyingly hard to predict, astronomers can't exactly calculate their coordinates with perfect accuracy. The closest pass-by after February 2013 will be in 2020, more information on the matter will be published as more asteroid-stalking material will be keeping astronomers busy.