Asteroid 2012 DA14 seen by the TAROT telescope

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The asteroid  2012 DA14 was discovered on February 23, 2012 by a team of the Astronomical Observatory of Mallorca, Spain. This is a small object – about 45 meters – rising very close to our planet (about 27,700 km) on this February 15, 2013 at 19:24 UTC. It will therefore lie far beyond the Earth’s atmosphere but below the belt of satellites in geostationary orbit (35 800 km). Due to its low orbit, it will not collide with artificial satellites, nor will impact the Earth.

The TAROT telescope La Silla located on the site of the European Southern Observatory. Left to TAROT, there are the domes of the Swiss Euler telescope and of the New Technology Telescope.

The TAROT telescope located at La Silla (Chile), led by IRAP astronomers, observed the asteroid 2012 DA14 on 15 February at 6:00 am. It appears in the image above in the form of a stroke.

The TAROT telescope is normally intended to observe the optical emission of  star explosions (GRBs), but it is also used for various other astrophysical studies. It was built in 2006 by a team of IRAP astronomers. A second copy was installed in Calern, France. The TAROT telescopes are robotic telescopes and are functioning autonomously and without human presence during the night. They have an outstanding scientific performance relative to their relatively small diameter of 25 centimeters.

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