Big asteroid misses Earth

An asteroid about half the size of a football field safely brushed past the Earth, as predicted, and on schedule, Friday.

Images of Asteroid 2012 DA14 taken by the Gingin Observatory in Australia and broadcast on NASA TV show a small white streak moving across the clear night sky.

The asteroid was projected to come within of 27,600 kms of the planet which was close enough to pass inside the ring of satellites that circle the Earth.

The flypast took place at around 11:25 a.m. Friday.

It was an improbable bit of timing.

The big asteroid is not to be confused with the smaller meteor that actually did hit Earth on Friday, causing a fair bit of damage in Russia's Chelyabinsk region.

The European Space Agency, in a post on its Twitter account, said its experts had determined there was no connection between the meteor and the asteroid.

Phil Langill, a University of Calgary physics professor, called it "a funny coincidence" that the two space events happened so close together.

"It does conjure up the thought that maybe one was a little companion of the other," the director of the Rothney Astrophysical Observatory said in an interview Friday. "But then again, this is asteroids in space and they come randomly toward the Earth and this could have just been a coincidence."

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