The earth is the "missing" asteroid

Cristina Cross
May 14, 2018

The giant asteroid, around the size of the Statue of Liberty, will track a peculiar path and fly between Earth and its natural satellite.

A big asteroid is due to dart past Earth on Tuesday, coming at about half the distance between our planet and the moon.

Aside from its impending visit, 2010 WC9 is particularly interesting because it has an unusual story behind it. Astronomers are calling it the "lost" asteroid because it vanished from their sight for almost eight years.

When it was first discovered in 2010, astronomers could not predict when it might return because the data on the orbit was not clear.

The approach is expected to happen around 1am BST, in the early morning hours of Tuesday, May 15. The size of the 2010 WC9 is estimated to be between 197 feet to 427 feet (60 meters to 130 meters).

While it's not by any means a doomsday rock, it's thought to be bigger than the Chelyabinsk meteor which left 1,500 injured in 2013 when it exploded over Russian Federation.

The meteor is about 65 feet long (only about 20 meters) and damaged thousands of buildings when it hit the city in 2013.

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Daniel Bamberger, at London's Northolt Branch Observatories, said: "We imaged this object twice".

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.

"We plan to broadcast this asteroid to our Facebook page if the weather forecast remains positive", Guy Wells of the observatory was quoted as saying. "Share details about this on the Facebook page".

The asteroid's closest approach to our planet will come at 6:05 p.m. EDT (22:05 UTC) on May 15, when 2010 WC9 will pass just 126,419 miles (203,451 kilometers) from Earth - at exactly 0.53 lunar distances.

One of the ways this small asteroid is, "Earth Site EarthSky said". Hopefully, the space agency's asteroid defense system will be ready before any asteroid gets dangerously too close to our planet.

The asteroid was first noticed in November of 2010, then in December of that year he disappeared from sight.

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