Sunday, 27 May, 2018

Football Field-sized Asteroid To Zip By Earth

Asteroid 2010 WC9 on May 10. Image via Daniel Bamberger  Northolt Branch Observatories Asteroid 2010 WC9 on May 10. Image via Daniel Bamberger Northolt Branch Observatories
Doris Mccormick | 14 May, 2018, 18:14

The asteroid, dubbed 2010 WC9, is about the size of a football field and will fly past Earth at about 28,655 miles per hour, according to EarthSky.

The giant asteroid, around the size of the Statue of Liberty, will track a peculiar path and fly between Earth and its natural satellite.

Conspiracy theorists claim the Earth is due a direct hit with an asteroid. This means that the close encounter on May 15 will be a safe one for our planet. On May 8, astronomers spotted the asteroid and gave it a new name before realizing it was 2010 WC9.

Asteroid 2010 WC9 was first observed on November 30, 2010, by the US-based Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona.

The 2010 WC9 asteroid is most likely bigger than the Chelyabinsk meteor, which injured more than 1,000 people and shattered glass when it broke up over the city of Chelyabinsk, Russia, in 2013. The limited observations at the time did not allow its orbit to be well defined until it was observed in recent days, nearly eight years later.

The rocky object has completed its orbit and now returns to Earth eight years later.

The asteroid's closest approach to our planet will come at 6:05 p.m. EDT (22:05 UTC) on May 15, when 2010 WC9 will pass just 126,419 miles (203,451 kilometers) from Earth - at exactly 0.53 lunar distances.

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An asteroid which was lost in space for eight years is making a reappearance tomorrow - with an alarmingly close whizz past our planet.

When the house-sized asteroid entered the atmosphere over Chelyabinsk in Russian Federation, it released an energy equivalent to around 440,000 tons of TNT.

With 2010 WC9 perhaps larger compared to the Chelyabinsk meteor, does it existing any type of considerable risk to Earth? Though not much was known about the asteroid until now, its visit was signaled in connection to the upcoming royal wedding at Windsor Castle in the United Kingdom.

"We plan to broadcast this asteroid to our Facebook page if the weather forecast remains positive", Guy Wells of the observatory was quoted as saying.

The asteroid won't be visible to the naked eye, but if you have a telescope it might be worth turning it towards the skies at midnight to see if you can spot it!

"The broadcast will last less than 25 minutes, since the asteroid will cross our field of view during this time period".

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