Jumbo jet-size asteroid to give Earth a close shave

Asteroid 2010 WC9

Asteroid 2010 WC9

The asteroid, which is officially named 2010 WC9, will be at its closest to the Earth at 6:05 pm EDT this evening. "This will be one of the closest approaches by a "large" (~100m) asteroid ever observed", the Northolt Branch Observatories revealed.

We're about to have a close encounter of a rocky kind, but don't worry, the Earth is safe.

There have been several instances where an asteroid has skimmed past Earth.

However, an asteroid discovered earlier this month - ZJ99C60, spotted on May 8 - turned out to be a blast from the past as astronomers realized it was actually 2010 WC9 coming back after nearly eight years. Just recently, asteroid 2018 GE3 zipped by our planet and barely missed hitting it, and it was discovered only after it had already passed.

Asteroid 2010 WC9 is travelling though space at a speed of 28,655 miles per hour (46,116 km/h).

The near-Earth asteroid 2010 WC9, which is thought to be between 125 feet and 390 feet (38 to 119 meters) wide, will get within 126,000 miles (203,000 kilometers) of Earth tomorrow evening (May 15) - about half the distance between our planet and the moon.

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Astronomers have rediscovered a "lost" asteroid just a few days before it makes a close pass by Earth.

Asteroid 2010 WC9 is an Apollo type space rock.

"2010 WC9 is expected to reach 11th magnitude on the day of closest approach (May 15th), bright enough to be seen with a small telescope".

The asteroid, which has the catchy name Asteroid 2010 WC9, is estimated to have a diameter between about 175 and 400 feet (50 to 120 meters) and was first discovered eight years ago by the Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona. You can also watch the webcast on Space.com, courtesy of Slooh. The asteroid will proceed pretty quickly (30 minutes of arc per second).

Asteroids are small, rocky objects that orbit the Sun. "Our display will update every five seconds", Guy Wells, the founding member of the observatory, told EarthSky.

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