Lost asteroid returns to Earth

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

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

The asteroid 2010 WC9, discovered for the first time in the Catalina sky survey in Arizona on November 30, 2010, returned to another visit and will be delivered at an incredibly short distance from our half-moon.

Nearly eight years later, on May 8, astronomers managed to track down the asteroid, and after close observations they concluded it was 2010 WC9 that had returned. Often, an initial observation arc for a distant asteroid is too short to pin down a refined orbit. The asteroid is also a relative fast mover, whizzing by at over 12 kilometers per second. This is the closest passage of the asteroid by the Earth for this century.

Despite its seemingly large size, the asteroid will not be visible to the naked eye from Earth. Asteroid 2010 WC9 is not among the potentially hazardous asteroids marked by NASA. According to calculations at NASA, this will be the asteroid's closest Earth flyby in almost 300 years. The activity is estimated to take place on 15 May, Tuesday. The closest point of its orbit will be observed at 6 p.m. But you better be ready - the asteroid is quick: it speeds through space at 28,655 miles per hour, EarthSky reports. The asteroid 2010 WC9's diameter is somewhere between 60-130 meters.

Daniel Bamberger of Northolt stated on his Facebook page that the object has been imaged twice. First on May 9, when it was still known by its temporary designation ZJ99C60.

An asteroid which was lost in space for eight years is making a reappearance tomorrow - with an alarmingly close whizz past our planet. The asteroid 2010 WC9 of "18 magnitude" appears to be faint. It will come within 126,419 miles of Earth - the closest it has come to our planet in 300 years - though it is still considered a safe passing distance.

This would reportedly be the 2 time in thirty days for an asteroid body to fly at this proximity to our planet. But within that time, astronomers were able to determine that it would make a close flyby of Earth around May 14, 2018.

As per the experts, the asteroid 2010 WC9 is even larger than that of the "Chelyabinsk meteor" that had injured near about one thousand people and had wrecked glasses on its breaking up atop Chelyabinsk in Russian Federation in the year 2013.

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