Asteroid the Size of City Block to Zing Past Earth Today

Theresa Obrien
May 15, 2018

After finally calculating the asteroid's orbit, JPL revealed that next week's approach will be the closest that 2010 WC9 has made in almost 300 years. This isn't a particularly large Asteroid, it measures 197 to 427-feet.

This will be the second time in a month that an asteroid has flown this close to Earth. Then they realized it was asteroid 2010 WC9, returning.

The asteroid is known as the "lost" asteroid because for nearly 8 years after it was last observed scientists couldn't see it in space.

The asteroid - which is in between 200 to 400 feet long - is moving at about 29,000 miles per hour.

The space rock - dubbed Asteroid 2010 WC9 - will be roughly 126,000 miles from Earth at its closest point tonight.

A near-Earth asteroid is expected to buzz by the planet on May 15, and scientists said it's the size of a jumbo jet. Although there is no risk of impact, this is one of the closest approaches of a space rock of that size.

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For those interested in seeing the asteroid zoom past, Earth Sky says it will "get as bright as magnitude +11", making it visible enough for amateur stargazers to catch it through their telescopes or powerful binoculars. The Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona first detected it on November 30, 2010.

Missing from the "radar" soon after its discovery in 2010, it was found by chance again on May 8th, while on its way for one of the closest flybys of the Earth for an object of this size.

"The air will continue less than 25 minutes, because the Asteroid will cross our field of view in this period of time".

Asteroids are small, rocky objects that orbit the Sun. The asteroid will proceed pretty quickly (30 minutes of arc per second).

Orbit diagram for the near-Earth asteroid 2010 WC9, which will fly by Earth on May 15, 2018. However, Northolt Branch Observatories in England will broadcast live from their telescope the day before the "lost" asteroid's approach, the nonprofit organization announced on Facebook.

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