Giant 'lost' asteroid poised for one of closest-ever approaches to Earth

Asteroid 2010 WC9

GETTY HUGE Asteroid 2010 WC9 will come incredibly close to Earth next week

During the 2018 return, closest approach of asteroid 2010 WC9 will happen on May 15 at 22:05 UTC (6:05 pm EDT; translate to your time). In space terms, the space rock is very small, classified as a near-Earth encounter. According to calculations at NASA, this will be the asteroid's closest Earth flyby in almost 300 years.

There have been several instances where an asteroid has skimmed past Earth. However, the asteroid has now paid a visit after eight long years on 8 May this year and its activity had initially made the researchers suspicious.

An asteroid of a similar size passed by our planet just in April.

Later today, our planet will gain a fleeting visitor: an asteroid about the size of a city block will pass by at about half the distance to the moon.

A near-Earth asteroid is expected to buzz by the planet on May 15, and scientists said it's the size of a jumbo jet.

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However, this time, it's about a different space rock. After just 21 hours after the asteroid was observed in the laboratory in Arizona, it is closer to Earth at a distance of less than 200 thousand kilometers. Finally able to track the space rock's path, astronomers quickly predicted the asteroid's path, finding it will pass by Earth at a close, but not catastrophic, distance.

Missing from the "radar" soon after its discovery in 2010, it was found by chance again on May 8th, while on its way for one of the closest flybys of the Earth for an object of this size.

Though astronomers at the Catalina Sky Survey discovered this asteroid back in November 2010, it disappeared from sight a month later.

Here's when you can tune in to watch, or take out your telescope, depending on where you live in Canada. The broadcast will last less than 25 minutes since the asteroid will cross our field of view during this period. The asteroid will be moving quite rapidly (30 arcseconds per minute).

2010 WC9 completes one complete orbit every 1.12 years and approaches the sun as close as.78 astronomical units and as far away as 1.38 AU.

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