Jumbo Jet-Sized Asteroid Due to Whiz Past Planet on Tuesday Afternoon

Jumbo Jet-Sized Asteroid Due to Whiz Past Planet on Tuesday Afternoon

Jumbo Jet-Sized Asteroid Due to Whiz Past Planet on Tuesday Afternoon

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory told NBC News that asteroids the size of 2010 WC9 strike the Earth every 6,000 years. After several years of observation, the rock's orbit was mapped out, Space.com reported. According to calculations at NASA, this will be the asteroid's closest Earth flyby in almost 300 years. While this isn't a particularly large asteroid, it is larger than the Chelyabinsk meteor, which broke windows in six Russian cities and caused some 1,500 people to seek medical attention when it passed by Earth in 2013. This is going to be the closest encounter with the asteroid in the last 300 years. They lost it in 20 days and were neither able to determine the asteroid's complete orbit nor predict when it might make a comeback. This giant rock, whose size could be between 60 and 130 meters, will pass at about 200,000 km from earth, a distance less than half that separating us from the Moon.

Asteroid 2010 WC9 is an Apollo type space rock.

It won't be visible to the eye at any point, but with an amateur telescope pointed at the right location and time, it might be bright enough to been seen.

The diameter range of 2010 WC9 is estimated to be between 197 and 427 feet, while the size of the Chelyabinsk meteor is around 65 feet.

Though astronomers at the Catalina Sky Survey discovered this asteroid back in November 2010, it disappeared from sight a month later.

Fortunately, as with its previous approach, 2010 WC9 will be at a safe distance away from our planet and astronomers expect it to pass safely. Northolt Branch Observatories in London will offer a live viewing of the asteroid on its Facebook page, starting around midnight (London time) on May 14. The asteroid will move pretty fast (30 seconds of arc per minute). It's one of the closest approaches ever observed of an asteroid of this size. "We, of course, collect astrometric data while this happens, but the movement of the asteroid will occur every five seconds".

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