Snapshot: A ‘lost’ asteroid will zip between the Earth and the Moon tonight

First of all, keep in mind the basic yet never-ceasing words of Douglas Adams from his book, The Hitchhiker’s Overview of the Galaxy— “Do not panic.”

However with that being stated, there is an asteroid approximately the size of the Statue of Liberty that will pass annoyingly near to the Earth tonight at around 6: 05 p.m. EDT. The asteroid will pass at about half the Moon’s range while taking a trip at almost 13 kilometers per 2nd (about 30,000 miles per hour). Although there is no threat of the rocky passerby hitting either the Earth or the Moon, inning accordance with EarthSky, this is among the closest techniques ever observed for an asteroid of this size.

The asteroid, which has the appealing name Asteroid 2010 WC9, is approximated to have a size in between about 175 and 400 feet (50 to 120 meters) and was very first found 8 years earlier by the Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona. Nevertheless, simply weeks after its preliminary discovery, astronomers misplaced it.

Since of this, Asteroid 2010 WC9 had the ability to discreetly wander through space for practically 8 years up until astronomers lastly discovered it once again recently. When they did, they determined its orbital trajectory (which they were not able to do formerly), eventually figuring out that it will pass within about 130,000 miles of Earth– or half the range in between Earth and the Moon.

The orbital course of Asteroid 2010 WC9 (white line) almost converges with that of Earth (blue line) tonight simply after 6 p.m. EDT.


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