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WC9 Asteroid Will Whiz Close To Earth On May 15th

WC9 Asteroid Will Whiz Close To Earth On May 15th

Observing: This one grabbed our attention when it cropped up on the Space Weather page for close asteroid passes this past weekend: a large, fast mover passing close to the Earth is a true rarity.

Nearly eight years later, on May 8, astronomers managed to track down the asteroid, and after close observations they concluded it was 2010 WC9 that had returned.

The asteroid is expected to whiz past Earth at 6:05 p.m. E.T. on Tuesday, May 15.

As per the latest reports, the asteroid would not hit the Earth. According to calculations at NASA, this will be the asteroid's closest Earth flyby in almost 300 years. It stayed over 9 million kilometres away during its flyby - roughly 24 times the distance to the Moon.

There's no danger of a collision, but the ~100 meter wide asteroid will be near enough for amateur astronomers to photograph.

Asteroid 2010 WC9 is an Apollo type space rock. The 2010 WC9 is arriving within about "0.53 lunar-distances" from our planet. However, 2010 WC9 could still do quite a bit of damage on a local scale if it were on a collision course with Earth (which it's not, for the foreseeable future).

It was spotted again on May 8, 2018.

"2010 WC9 will be brighter than 11th magnitude at closest approach, making it visible in a small telescope". The Chelyabinsk meteor, nonetheless, wounded greater than a thousand individuals in Russian Federation, smashing glass throughout the city, which it was called after. That unnamed asteroid, which exploded some 30 kilometres above the ground, blasted apart with the force of a 500 kilotonne bomb.

Chelyabinsk bolide, Feb 15, 2013.

On Nov. 30, 2010, astronomers discovered an asteroid that could be as large as one of the Great Pyramids of ancient Egypt. However, the asteroid has now paid a visit after eight long years on 8 May this year and its activity had initially made the researchers suspicious.

The passage of asteroid 2010 WC9 through the constellation Ophiuchus on May 15th from 00:00 to 16:00 UT. Tune in to the Slooh Community Observatory livestream, embedded below. They lost it in 20 days and were neither able to determine the asteroid's complete orbit nor predict when it might make a comeback.

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