An asteroid whose dimensions range from 197 to 427 feet (approximately 60 to 130 meters) in diameter, 2010 WC9 asteroid, will pass safely between the Earth and the Moon on Tuesday, May 15th. Although there is no risk of impact, this is one of the closest approaches of a space rock of that size.
According to data from the International Astronomical Union, the recent observations of the space rock turned out to be the rediscovery of the 2010 WC9 asteroid, which had been detected by the Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona on November 30th, 2010.
However, only days later, on December 1st of that year, the asteroid was last observed as scientists lost sight of it as it became extremely faint. The limited observations at the time did not allow its orbit to be well defined until it was observed in recent days, almost eight years later.
2010 WC asteroid will whiz close to Earth on May 15th
New observations from May 8th onwards allowed us to better establish the trajectory of the space rock and it has been revealed shows that it would be whizzing between the Earth and the Moon on Tuesday, May 15th.
It is estimated that the closest approach will occur around 6:05 PM EDT. Space rock moves through space at a speed of 28,655 miles per hour (46,116 km/h).
Experts anticipate that the 2010 WC9 asteroid could reach a brightness or magnitude of 11, so although it will not be visible to the naked eye, at least through telescopes pointed at the right place at the right time, it should be sighted moving in front of the stars.
“Although asteroids have been detected several times passing between the Earth and the Moon, what is not very common is to see an asteroid larger than a 20-story building passing this close,” said Eddie Irizarry, the vice president of the Caribbean Astronomical Society.
He clarified, however, that there is no reason to worry about the nearby passage of the 2010 WC9 asteroid.