Lost Asteroid 2010 WC9 to come close to Earth on May 15


An asteroid the size of a football field will have a close brush with Earth on Tuesday.

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

An asteroid which was lost in space for eight years is making a reappearance tomorrow - with an alarmingly close whizz past our planet.

But the asteroid dashed out of sight and into the darkness of space by December, leaving scientists uncertain where it might be headed next.

Nearly eight years later, astronomers realized that an asteroid they temporarily called ZJ99C60 was actually 2010 WC9 returning.

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The asteroid known as 2010 WC9 will pass the Earth Tuesday, May 15 at 3:05 PM Pacific time.

The asteroid almost as big as a football field was first discovered in 2010 by a group of astronomers working on the Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona. Using the data acquired so far, scientists have calculated 2010 WC9's orbit to 2158 and this is the closest it will come to Earth with that timeframe. But it is larger than the estimated size of the Chelyabinsk meteor, which entered Earth's atmosphere, breaking windows in six Russian cities and causing some 1,500 people to seek medical attention, in 2013.

This will be the second time in a month that an asteroid has flown this close to Earth.

"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.

Unfortunately, the asteroid will not light up brightly enough to be visible to the naked eye, but small telescopes could aid you in the endeavour. The asteroid will move pretty fast (30 seconds of arc per minute). The observatory will stream it live on Facebook beginning Monday, May 14 at midnight local United Kingdom time, so viewers can see 2010 WC9 in space before it begins its approach past Earth. It will pass about half the distance between Earth and the moon - about 200,000 kilometres - travelling around 12.8 kilometres a second. If you do not have a telescope and still enthused about watching the rock fall by, then there is a live streaming from Northholt Branch Observatories in London.