An asteroid that may be longer than a football field will get uncomfortably close to our planet soon, experts say.
Scientists are keeping a close eye on an asteroid of significant size that will pass quite close the Earth soon. Asteroid 2010 WC9, which was first detected back on Nov. 30, 2010 by the Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona, is back for another visit, and it will be passing at an incredible close distance of about half the distance the moon is from us.
When it was first spotted back in 2010, astronomers were not able to predict when it might be back because of unclear data on its orbit. But on May 8, eight years later, astronomers spotted the asteroid again and identified it as long-lost 2010 WC9. It will be closest to Earth at 6:05 p.m. Eastern time on May 15, when it will be just 126,000 miles from Earth.
The asteroid will blast past Earth at an incredible 28,000 miles per hour, and it will be between 60 and 130 meters. That would make it likely bigger than the Chelyabinsk meteor, which was about 65 feet long (only about 20 meters) and damaged thousands of buildings when it struck the city back in 2013.
You’ll actually be able to watch it live when it does fly past, thanks to Northolt Branch Observatories.
“We have discussed the unusual object 2010 WC9 with EarthSky! Check out the link below for that, with more information about this asteroid, why it is special, and how you can see it yourself,” states their Facebook page. “If you want to watch the asteroid from your couch, you can do that, too: We plan to broadcast live from the telescope on the evening of May 14th (the day before closest approach), provided that weather allows it! We will share details about that on our Facebook page, on Monday.”
Daniel Bamberger of Northolt said on his Facebook page that the object had been imaged twice.
“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,” he wrote. “It is still a faint object of 18th magnitude, but it is brightening very rapidly: 2010 WC9 will be brighter than 11th magnitude at closest approach, making it visible in a small telescope!”