'Lost' asteroid zooms by Earth today: How to watch 2010 WC9

15 May, 2018, 22:42 | Author: Kristi Owen
  • Asteroid 2010 WC9

Orbit diagram for the near-Earth asteroid 2010 WC9, which will fly by Earth on May 15, 2018.

Is this a large asteroid?

The asteroid of 18 magnitudes is fainting and now at +15 mag. Experts suggest it might get as bright as +11 mag when it closely passes from the Earth.

2010 WC9 asteroid was detected by astronomers after it disappeared from view about eight years ago. Just 10 days later, it had nearly faded from view.

A preliminary analysis of the asteroid's orbit showed this was the closest 2018 GE has come to Earth since at least 1930. But there's no need to panic about any future encounters. Thankfully, 2010 WC9 does not fall in this category.

The last known time an asteroid entered Earth's atmosphere before 2013 was in 1908, when the Tunguska meteor broke up over Siberia, flattening more than 80 million trees. Although there is no risk of impact, this is one of the closest approaches of a space rock of that size.


However, if you are keen on seeing the asteroid zoom by, then you are in luck because the event will be streamed online by multiple sources.

An asteroid the size of a city block is set to zing past Earth today. Most of those on a collision course with Earth will break up in the atmosphere. However, although significantly bigger than the 20-meter (or around 65 feet) Chelyabinsk meteor, 2010 WC9 will sweep past us without incident. You can also watch on Slooh's Facebook page here.

There are several projects searching for potentially hazardous asteroids, though, lucky for us, so far none have been confirmed to be a danger to Earth.

That asteroid was estimated to be roughly 10 kilometres wide.

So, for over 7 years after, 2010 WG9 remained "lost" - an asteroid spotted only very briefly, so that accurately tracking its orbit is more hard - and it even had an entry on NASA's Sentry Risk table, which keeps track of asteroids that even have a remote chance of impacting with Earth in the next 100 years.

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