Asteroid 2010 WC9 to skim past Earth today at 28000mph

Asteroid 2010 WC9 on May 9. Image via Daniel Bamberger  Northolt Branch Observatories

Asteroid 2010 WC9 on May 9. Image via Daniel Bamberger Northolt Branch Observatories

Get your telescopes ready, people: asteroid 2010 WC9 will be flying by Earth at the terrifying speed of 28,655 miles per hour this Tuesday at 6:05 p.m. EDT. This isn't a particularly large Asteroid, it measures 197 to 427-feet.

It is not uncommon for objects to pass as close to the Earth: 60 known objects have passed at similar distances to the Earth in 2016, 56 in 2017, 33 in 2018 so far. This is going to be the closest encounter with the asteroid in the last 300 years.

Although it's larger than the Chelyabinsk meteor which entered the atmosphere and broke windows in six cities in Russian Federation, this asteroid will just graze past us.

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An asteroid the size of a football field will fly by the Earth this week!

At its closest, the asteroid will come close to Earth within 0.53 lunar distances - around 203,000km. The space rock was only recently rediscovered.

"There are many close approaches from asteroids, [but] most are very small", Guy Wells, an astronomer at the Northolt Branch Observatories in London, told Newsweek.

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The Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona first spotted it in 2010 but it soon became too faint too see, however, earlier this month it was seen again. It might get as bright as magnitude +11, which would make it bright enough to be seen in amateur telescopes pointed at the correct location and time.

The catchy-named 2010 WC9 is somewhere between 200 and 400 feet in diameter, "as big across as a city block" according to Goddard Space Flight Center asteroid expert Dr. Erin Ryan.

Asteroid 2010 WC9 has been "missing" and then discovered. The asteroid will be moving quite rapidly (30 arcseconds per minute). However, Northolt Branch Observatories in England will broadcast live from their telescope the day before the "lost" asteroid's approach, the nonprofit organization announced on Facebook. Our display will update every five seconds. "We, of course, collect astrometric data while this happens, but the movement of the asteroid will occur every five seconds".

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