Published: Tue, May 15, 2018
Research | By Sheri Schwartz

An Asteroid Will Hurtle Past Earth Tonight in Close Flyby

An Asteroid Will Hurtle Past Earth Tonight in Close Flyby

Chodas said an asteroid of 2010 WC9's size hits Earth about once every 6,000 years, but luckily for us, it does not appear that we will have to personally confirm that any time soon.

Asteroids larger than 0.6 miles in length would be likely contenders, according to NASA.

There have been several instances where an asteroid has skimmed past Earth. NASA says that this will be the closest approach of this asteroid in nearly 300 years. The asteroid remained hidden from view until just last week.

An asteroid the size of the London Eye is going to fly past Earth this evening at 28,000mph. It can be inferred from this that the asteroid would pass somewhere midway in between the moon and the Earth.

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

In fact, even in terms of size, this will be the closest ever approach made by an asteroid this big.

Discovered on November 30, 2010 by the Catalina Sky Survey, Arizona, specialized in the detection of this type of objects, it had disappeared from the radar after ten days, as it went away and became too dim to be observed.

For those interested in seeing the asteroid zoom past, Earth Sky says it will "get as bright as magnitude +11", making it visible enough for amateur stargazers to catch it through their telescopes or powerful binoculars. The asteroid measures between 197 and 427 feet in diameter.

Thanks to Northolt Branch Observatories, you can actually watch it while flying. The asteroid will move pretty fast (30 seconds of arc per minute).

That's about half of the distance between Earth and the Moon! "Our display will update every five seconds", Guy Wells, the founding member of the observatory, told EarthSky.

We imaged this object twice: First on May 9, when it was still known by its temporary designation ZJ99C60; then again on May 10, after it was identified as asteroid 2010 WC9, which had been a lost asteroid for eight years.

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