Asteroid Possibly Longer Than Football Field Will Soon Have Near-Earth Encounter

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

They were not able to predict when it will return due to the lack of observations on its orbit.

An asteroid of the size of a long football field reportedly would pass right by the Earth at a seemingly closer distance.

Astronomers managed to keep an eye on the asteroid only until December 1, when 2010 WC9 became too faint to observe.

However, 8 years later, on May 8, astronomers discovered the asteroid and determined it as the loss of WC9 in 2010.

However, an asteroid discovered earlier this month - ZJ99C60, spotted on May 8 - turned out to be a blast from the past as astronomers realized it was actually 2010 WC9 coming back after nearly eight years. This asteroid was "lost" and then found again.

The Minor Planet Center indicates that 2010 WC9 is an Apollo type asteroid, just like the infamous Chelyabinsk meteor that exploded over Russian Federation in 2013, injuring around 1,500 people.

The asteroid measures between 60 and 130 metres and is travelling at a speed of more than 28,000mph. The 2010 WC9 is arriving within about "0.53 lunar-distances" from our planet. However, astronomers believe 2010 WC9 will safely fly by Earth without any damage, according to Tech Times.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has said this is the closest it will come in 300 years.

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Unfortunately for all you stargazers, the asteroid won't be visible to the eye as it flies past Earth.

"The broadcast will be less than 25 minutes in duration, as the asteroid will cross our field of view within that period of time", he added.

"The asteroid will be moving quite rapidly (30 arc seconds per minute)".

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.

"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", said Wells. It can be inferred from this that the asteroid would pass somewhere midway in between the moon and the Earth. Although there is no risk of impact, this is one of the closest approaches of a space rock of that size.

"We have discussed unusual objects 2010 with WC9 with EarthSky!".

People can watch the spectacle on the Internet and the observatories of Northolt Branch in London will broadcast it live.

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