Shortcut Navigation:

How Do Researchers Track Near-Earth Asteroids?

News posts

Later today, an asteroid designated 2012 DA14 will pass just 17,200 miles over Earth’s surface. Although this 150-foot space rock will slip harmlessly by, researchers estimate there are nearly 500,000 near-Earth asteroids. So far, they’ve tracked the orbit of 9,600.

Harzardous Asteroids

Paul Chodas


How do researchers track asteroids, anyway? And how often have asteroids collided with Earth? (Hint: far more than the number of impact craters on our planet would suggest.) 

Meteor Crater

Meteor Crater

NASA Earth Observatory


The Science Bulletins video below explains more about the odds and potential hazards of asteroid impacts, and about the process of tracking the orbits of near-Earth asteroids.


For more about asteroids, see Science Bulletins' Astro News pages. 

American Museum of Natural History

Central Park West at 79th Street
New York, NY 10024-5192
Phone: 212-769-5100

Open daily from 10 am - 5:45 pm
except on Thanksgiving and Christmas
Maps and Directions