'Lost' Asteroid to Become Visible During Rare Earth Flyby

'Lost' Asteroid to Become Visible During Rare Earth Flyby

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.

Asteroids larger than 0.6 miles in length would be likely contenders, according to NASA.

Don't worry though that it is still very far away from us and scientist don't think there is any danger of it reaching Earth. "We knew enough not to be anxious", said Dr. Paul Chodas, director of the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, after the object was discovered in 2010. On May 8, 2018 - nearly eight years later - astronomers discovered an asteroid and gave it the temporary designation ZJ99C60. Just recently, asteroid 2018 GE3 zipped by our planet and barely missed hitting it, and it was discovered only after it had already passed. As Eddie Irizarry reports for EarthSky, this flyby will be the closest this particular asteroid has come to the Earth in over 300 years, whizzing past at a distance of 126,000 miles from our planet's surface.

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. The space rock was only recently rediscovered.

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It was first observed at Catalina Sky Survey on May 7 and it's due to make a close approach on May 16, at a distance of 1.5million km from Earth.

For those interested in seeing the asteroid zoom past, Earth Sky says it will "get as bright as magnitude +11", making it visible enough for amateur stargazers to catch it through their telescopes or powerful binoculars. You can also watch the webcast on Space.com, courtesy of Slooh. The broadcast will be less than 25 minutes in duration, as the asteroid will cross our field of view within that period of time. On May 8, astronomers spotted the asteroid and gave it a new name before realizing it was 2010 WC9. The asteroid will be moving quite rapidly (30 arcseconds per minute). "Our display will update every five seconds", Guy Wells, the founding member of the observatory, told EarthSky. "We, of course, collect astrometric data while this happens, but the movement of the asteroid will occur every five seconds".

You won't be able to see it with the naked eye, but the Northolt Branch Observatories in England will broadcast it live from their telescope on its Facebook page.

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