WC9 Asteroid Will Whiz Close To Earth On May 15th

Asteroid 2010 WC9 on May 10. Image via Daniel Bamberger  Northolt Branch Observatories

The 2010 WC9 would reportedly be at the closest distance to our planet at near about "6.05 p.m".

The space rock is larger than the estimated size of the Chelyabinsk meteor before the latter hit Earth's atmosphere in 2013. 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.

This is the second asteroid to scrape by Earth in recent weeks.

The asteroid was found again just last week. As Eddie Irizarry reports for EarthSky, this flyby will be the closest this particular asteroid has come to the Earth in over 300 years, whizzing past at a distance of 126,000 miles from our planet's surface. It will be shooting the gap between the Moon and Earth, passing around 126,419 miles away from Earth, which is far enough that no one is anxious about a collision.

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It is being said that the space rock has completed its orbit and now comes back to the Earth.

Even if the actual size of the 2010 WC9 was close to the maximum estimate, the space rock did not pose a threat to humanity.

According to Fox News, 2010 WC9 was first spotted in November 2010 by the NASA-backed space project Catalina Sky Survey, but was then lost for several years, only to be rediscovered on May 8. The asteroid will be moving quite rapidly (30 arcseconds per minute). The football field-sized asteroid is dubbed 2010 WC9. Its return to the Earth is after eight long years. "We, of course, collect astrometric data while this happens, but the movement of the asteroid will occur every five seconds", Guy Wells said in a press release.

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! After just 21 hours after the asteroid was observed in the laboratory in Arizona, it is closer to Earth at a distance of less than 200 thousand kilometers.

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