Asteroid 2010 WC9 to skim past Earth today at 28000mph

Ismael LynchMay 16, 2018

"The 2010 Asteroid WC9 will safely pass half the moon's distance on Tuesday, May 15, 2018".

Asteroid 2010 WC9 is projected to be between 125 feet and 390 feet wide, according to Space.com, and astronomers reported that the rock will pass the Earth by only 126,000 miles.

The asteroid of 18 magnitudes is fainting and now at +15 mag. Experts suggest it might get as bright as +11 mag when it closely passes from the Earth.

At its closest, the asteroid will come close to Earth within 0.53 lunar distances - around 203,000km.

While you won't be able to see it with your naked eye, scientists are actively monitoring the asteroid's path with radar and powerful telescopes.

"2010 WC9 will be brighter than 11th magnitude at closest approach, making it visible in a small telescope".

Asteroid 2010 WC9 was first discovered on November 30, 2010 by the Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona and then became too faint to track by December 10 of that same year.

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.

Despite a near miss in space terms there is no chance the asteroid will hit earth during its fly by, which will take place around midnight. Since there wasn't enough observational data to calculate its full orbit and predict its return, astronomers moved on to other space objects and the matter of 2010 WC9 was closed. The asteroid remained hidden from view until just last week.

How to watch the asteroid skim past Earth?

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

For example, if Earth passes through the tail of a comet, much of the debris burns up in the atmosphere, forming a meteor shower.

2010 WC9 completes one complete orbit every 1.12 years and approaches the sun as close as.78 astronomical units and as far away as 1.38 AU. "Our display will update every five seconds", Guy Wells, the founding member of the observatory, told EarthSky.

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