Huge discovery about Lost asteroid stuns scientists

Cesar Mills
May 15, 2018

Asteroid 2010 WC9, up to 130 meters (426 feet) in diameter, was observed for too short of a time for astronomers to be able to predict when its orbit might bring it back to our neighborhood.

The asteroid will fly over the earth at a staggering 28,000 miles per hour and it will be between 60 and 130 meters.

2010 WC9 was first detected by the Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona on November 30, 2010, shows the Center for Near-Earth Objects Study (CNEOS) at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

So, for over 7 years after, 2010 WC9 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.

That puts it at about half the distance between the Earth and moon, making it one of the closest approaches ever observed of such a sizable asteroid.

An asteroid the size of the Statue of Liberty will zoom past Earth on Tuesday.

The Cheliabinsk meteorite measured no more than 20 meters when it entered the atmosphere over Russian Federation in February 2013.

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The webcast will feature live views of 2010 WC9 captured by four different telescopes at Slooh's observatory at the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands, Slooh representatives said.

This is the second large asteroid to make a close approach to Earth in recent months.

The space rock was dubbed as the "lost" asteroid. The object was first designated as ZJ99C60, but soon it was confirmed it was the lost asteroid 2010 WC9.

The object's path to be the closest of this particular asteroid in almost 300 years, according to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Guy Wells, of the observatory, said: "We are planning to broadcast this asteroid live to our Facebook page if the weather forecast remains positive". The asteroid will move pretty fast (30 seconds of arc per minute).

The asteroid won't be visible to the naked eye, but if you have a telescope it might be worth turning it towards the skies at midnight to see if you can spot it! It is nevertheless one of the closest flybys recorded for such a big object.

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