Football Field-sized Asteroid To Zip By Earth

Orbit of asteroid 2010 WC9 via Asteroid Orbit View and Northolt Branch Observatories

Now, 2010 WC9 is tracking to pass us on May 15, at a distance of over 200,000 km, or just over 50 per cent the distance to the Moon.

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.

What is not very reassuring, however, is that no one had been able to anticipate its arrival: it had only been discovered the day before its flyby through the Catalina Sky Survey, a time too short to anticipate or prevent the disaster it would have caused by falling on Earth. Using the data acquired so far, scientists have calculated 2010 WC9's orbit to 2158 and this is the closest it will come to Earth with that timeframe.

An asteroid the size of the American Statue of Liberty and a little less Italian the leaning tower of Pisa will fly past Earth on Tuesday, according to NASA.

That's about half of the distance between Earth and the Moon!

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With 2010 WC9 perhaps larger compared to the Chelyabinsk meteor, does it existing any type of considerable risk to Earth?

He clarified, however, that there is no reason to worry about the nearby passage of the 2010 WC9 asteroid.

On May 15 at 11.05pm, it will make its closest approach at just 0.53 lunar distances (126,419 miles) from the planet. "This asteroid was "lost" and then discovered again".

"Then again on May 10, after it was identified as asteroid 2010 WC9, which had been a lost asteroid for eight years". While rocky asteroids tend to explode in the atmosphere, such as the asteroid that exploded over Chelyabinsk, if one the size of 2010 WC9 made of iron were to hit the planet, it would leave a crater the size of Meteor Crater west of Winslow, Arizona. According to orbit calculations made by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the May 15 close approach is the closest of this particular asteroid in almost 300 years. 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. Despite its big size it will not be visible to the naked eye but watching it from a telescope could help for some people.

At the same time, the Northolt Branch Observatories (NBO) in London, England, will be live streaming the close encounter on its Facebook page.

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