Football field-sized asteroid to pass by Earth

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Chodas said an asteroid of 2010 WC9's size hits Earth about once every 6,000 years, but luckily for us, it does not appear that we will have to personally confirm that any time soon.

The space rock is believed to be equivalent in size to the one that exploded more than 100 years ago in Russia's Tunguska region in Siberia - the largest impact event on Earth in recorded history. This isn't a particularly large Asteroid, it measures 197 to 427-feet. However, it is rapidly brightening and is expected to get even brighter than eleventh magnitude when it is at the closest distance to the Earth.

Scientists first spotted asteroid 2010 WC9 on November 30, 2010, but were only able to track it for a few weeks before it became too faint to see. The limited observations at the time did not allow its orbit to be well defined until it was observed in recent days, nearly eight years later.

The Minor Planet Center indicates that 2010 WC9 is an Apollo type asteroid, just like the infamous Chelyabinsk meteor that exploded over Russian Federation in 2013, injuring around 1,500 people.

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At 11:05 p.om on Tuesday, Asteroid 2010 WC9 will make its closest approach only 0.53 lunar distances (126.419 miles) from Earth. The asteroid will pass at about half the Moon's distance while travelling at almost 13 kilometers per second (about 30,000 miles per hour). The space rock was only recently rediscovered. This is one of the closest flybys from an asteroid of this range of diameter, according to the International Meteor Organization. Given its small size and brisk pace of 28,655 miles per hour, the asteroid will not be visible to the naked eye when it passes this evening.

Thanks to Northolt Branch Observatories, you can actually watch it while flying.

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. Talking about the asteroid Guy Wells of the observatory said, "The broadcast will last less than 25 minutes, since the asteroid will cross our field of view during this time period". The asteroid will proceed pretty quickly (30 minutes of arc per second). Our display will update every five seconds. Since there wasn't enough observational data to calculate its full orbit and predict its return, astronomers moved on to other space objects and the matter of 2010 WC9 was closed.

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