Clay Observatory students tracking asteroid
BROOKLINE, Mass. (WHDH) -- A lot of people are wondering if the meteor strike is tied to the giant asteroid that whizzed past the earth Friday afternoon.
Scientists say no, it's just one wild cosmic coincidence. 7's Dan Hausle visited the Cay Center Observatory in Brookline where people got a glimpse of the giant space rock.
When a group of teenagers turn their big telescope's attention to asteroid, space watchers from around the world will be looking over their shoulders.
Nicholas Weber is just a high school sophomore, but he's been tracking asteroids for years.
"When it comes this close, we really get the chance to look at its surface composition; what it’s made of, how it’s rotating and tumbling in space,” Weber said.
Asteroid DA-14 is about the size of half a football field. An asteroid about that size did flatten miles of forest in Russia back in 1908, but scientists assure us DA-14's near miss of about 17,000 miles is a sure miss.
Still, for the kids at Dexter and Southfield's Clay Center Observatory, the asteroid's flyby is like the Super Bowl in the world they study.
"When they get to see a live feed of what we see and then ask questions about it, not only is it exciting for them, but it’s exciting to us ‘cause we’re able to educate people that might not get the opportunity to see the asteroid at all otherwise,” said Sam Lapides.
The Dexter students will be measuring changes in the asteroid's brightness and streaming their picture worldwide to give people another view of DA-14 to go along with radar observations from NASA scientists in California.
"We're expecting half a million people to tune in to the web cast based on the numbers so far. And right now, the numbers look like they’re from all over the world -- including a lot from Russia,” said Ron Dantowitz, observatory director.
The students fired up the livestream video Friday night and continued streaming until early Saturday morning.