Published: Tue, May 15, 2018
Science | By Celia Watts

Asteroid 2010 WC9 to pass between Earth and Moon tomorrow

Asteroid 2010 WC9 to pass between Earth and Moon tomorrow

In space terms, the space rock is very small, classified as a near-Earth encounter.

Asteroids larger than 0.6 miles in length would be likely contenders, according to NASA.

An asteroid roughly the size of a city block will zoom by Earth today.

However, 8 years later, on May 8, astronomers discovered the asteroid and determined it as the loss of WC9 in 2010.

Although it's larger than the Chelyabinsk meteor which entered the atmosphere and broke windows in six cities in Russian Federation, this asteroid will just graze past us.

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

This asteroid does not pose a threat to our planet, however, and is expected to pass safely, making its closest approach at 22:05 UTC.

Asteroid 2010 WC9 is an Apollo type space rock. It will not be visible to the naked eye but could get bright enough to be tracked by smaller amateur telescopes.

Discovered on November 30, 2010 by the Catalina Sky Survey, Arizona, specialized in the detection of this type of objects, it had disappeared from the radar after ten days, as it went away and became too dim to be observed. The asteroid measures between 197 and 427 feet in diameter. Astronomers had picked up this asteroid in 2010 but then lost track of it until recently and now it's getting ready to pass closer than normal to us!

"We are of course collecting astrometric data while this is happening, but the motion of the asteroid will be apparent every five seconds".

If you'd like to see it for yourself, the Northolt Branch Observatories in London will be carrying it live on their Facebook page.

So, for over 7 years after, 2010 WG9 remained "lost" - an asteroid spotted only very briefly, so that accurately tracking its orbit is more hard - and it even had an entry on NASA's Sentry Risk table, which keeps track of asteroids that even have a remote chance of impacting with Earth in the next 100 years.

Like this: