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Doomsday? An Asteroid to make closest encounter with Earth in last 300 years on May 15

Space rock 2010 WC9 is an Apollo-type space rock. At no time will it be visible to the naked eye as it sweeps past Earth. It may get as splendid as size +11, which would make it sufficiently bright to be visible enough to seen amateur telescopes pointed at the right location at right time.

Asteroid 2010 WC9 will pass at around half’s the moon distance on 15th of May which is Tuesday.  Its size is estimated to be from 197 to 427 feet (60-130 meters), making the May 15 pass one of the closest approaches ever seen of a space rock of this size. This space rock was “lost” and after that was found again. The Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona initially recognized it on November 30, 2010, and astronomers watched it until December 1, when it became too faint to see. They didn’t have enough observations to track its orbit completely thus they predicted its arrival. On May 8, 2018 –almost eight years later –astronomers found a space rock and gave it the temporary designation ZJ99C60. At that point they understood it was space rock 2010 WC9, returning.

Amid the 2018 return, the closest approach of asteroid 2010 WC9 will occur on May 15 at 22:05 UTC. Around then, the asteroid will be 0.53 lunar-distances from Earth (126,419 miles or 203,453 km from Earth). As indicated by orbital estimations made by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the May 15 close approach is the closest of this specific asteroid rock in almost 300 years.

It is not a very large asteroid when it comes to measurement. But, it is bigger than the estimated size of the Chelyabinsk meteor, which entered Earth’s environment, breaking windows in six Russian urban areas and making somewhere in the range of 1,500 individuals to seek medical attention, in 2013. Estimates of space rock 2010 WC9’s distance across extending from 197 to 427 feet (60-130 meters); assessments of the Chelyabinsk meteor’s size before entering Earth’s atmosphere around 65 feet (20 meters).

Space rock 2010 WC9 is an Apollo-type space rock. At no time will it be visible to the naked eye as it sweeps past Earth. It may get as splendid as size +11, which would make it sufficiently bright to be visible enough to seen amateur telescopes pointed at the right location at right time.

Asteroid 2010 WC9 is voyaging through space at a speed of 28,655 miles for every hour (46,116 km/h).

Interested in viewing the asteroid through the internet? Guy Wells at Northolt Branch Observatories in London, England which specializes is in   observing near-earth asteroids and other tiny objects which are present in the solar system messaged earth sky on Friday which  said that on 14th of May they are planning to broadcast the asteroid live on their facebook page likely around midnight if the weather forecast remains goods. The time span of the live is around 25 minutes because the asteroid will cross over their field of view in that particular time frame. The asteroid will move very rapidly at a speed of 30 arc seconds per minute. The live will refresh in a span of regular intervals. They are also gathering astrometric information but the movement of the space rock will be clear like in every five seconds.

As per Wiki, 2010 WC9 is an Apollo asteroid, approximately 100 meters (330 feet) in diameter. It was discovered by the Catalina Sky Survey on 30 November 2010 with a 1-day observation arc and was observed through 10 December 2010. The preliminary 10-day observation arc generated a line of variation roughly 15 million km long for May 2018 that did not intersect Earth’s orbit and thus was not a 2018 impact threat. The 10-day observation arc showed the asteroid would pass about 0.026 AU (3,900,000 km; 2,400,000 mi) from Earth around 14 May 2018. The asteroid was recovered on 8 May 2018 with a temporary designation ZJ99C60. It was removed from the Sentry Risk Table on 10 May 2018 and is not an impact threat for the next 100 years or more. The asteroid now has a secure 7 year observation arc.

It will approach the Earth on May 15, 2018, at just over half a lunar distance. 2010 WC9 is expected to reach apparent magnitude +11 at closest approach, bright enough to be seen in a small telescope if you have a custom ephemeris for your location. The May 15 close approach is the closest of this asteroid in nearly 300 years. This will be the third closest approach ever observed by an asteroid with absolute magnitude (H) brighter than 24.

Daniel Bamberger, from Northolt Branch Observatories, sent two pictures and he said that: We imaged this question twice: First on May 9, when it was still known by its temporary designation ZJ99C60; but then on May 10, after it was distinguished as asteroid 2010 WC9, which had been a lost asteroid for a period of eight years

Even though it is still a faint object, of 18th magnitude but it’s turning out to be bright at a very rapid speed.  2010WC9 will be brighter than the 11th magnitude making it easier for us to view it through a small telescope.

So basically, on 15th of May 2018, Asteroid 2010 WC9 will pass and the distance will be about half the moon’s distance. If you are interested in viewing it you can see the live on Northolt Branch Observatories Facebook page, which will begin around midnight (London time) on May 14.

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Emma Joe

Emma Joe

Chief Editor with relevant experience of three years, Emma has founded Science Examiner. She has a keen interest in the field of science and space. She has written several papers and high-level documentation.

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