'Lost and found' asteroid returns to buzz past Earth Tuesday

15 May, 2018, 22:46 | Author: Priscilla Morrison
  • Asteroid 2010 WC9

This is the closest this particular asteroid, known as 2010 WC9, has gotten to Earth in 300 years. The jumbo jet-sized space rock is set to skim by Earth on Tuesday night. It's passing closer than large asteroids typically do, but remember, when you're talking about space, "close" is a relative term.

We're about to have a close encounter of a rocky kind, but don't worry, the Earth is safe.

Although asteroids coming close to Earth are no longer unusual and scary, judging by the number of asteroids that have passed next to our planet's orbit just in this year alone, people still worry whether there would be an impact that could cause catastrophic consequences.

The asteroid is known as the "lost" asteroid because for nearly 8 years after it was last observed scientists couldn't see it in space.

The 2018 GE3 asteroid was discovered just one day before it skimmed past Earth in what scientists called a "surprise" flyby.




The asteroid measures between 197 and 427 feet in diameter - longer than a football field - and travels at speeds of 28,655 miles per hour, according to EarthSky. The asteroid will pass at about half the Moon's distance while travelling at almost 13 kilometers per second (about 30,000 miles per hour).

However, this time, it's about a different space rock.

This long-lost asteroid was initially spotted by the "Catalina Sky Survey at the University of Arizona" on 30 November back in the year 2010.

Missing from the "radar" soon after its discovery in 2010, it was found by chance again on May 8th, while on its way for one of the closest flybys of the Earth for an object of this size. Astronomers had picked up this asteroid in 2010 but then lost track of it until recently and now it's getting ready to pass closer than normal to us!

"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 move pretty fast (30 seconds of arc per minute). Viewers can also watch a live broadcast of the zooming asteroid on Northolt Branch Observatories' Facebook page on May 14. Our display will be updated every five seconds.

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