Space rock Asteroid 2010 WC9 to pass by earth after completing eight year-long orbit

Space rock "Asteroid 2010 WC9" will have a near-Earth encounter, about half the lunar distance, on 15 May, media reports said.

Representational Image: NASA

Representational Image: NASA

The asteroid measures from 60 to 130 meters and moves at a speed of more than 28,000 miles per hour, reported late on 12 May.

Asteroid 2010 WC9 was "lost" and then found. The Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona first detected it on 30 November, 2010, and astronomers watched it until December 1, when it became too faint to see.

The rock has completed its orbit and now returns to Earth eight years later.

At 11.05 pm on 15 May, Asteroid 2010 WC9 will make its closest approach only 0.53 lunar distances (126.419 miles) from Earth.

According to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, this is the closest it will come in 300 years, the report said.

People can watch the spectacle on the Internet and the observatories of Northolt Branch in London will broadcast it live.

"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.

"The broadcast will last less than 25 minutes, since the asteroid will cross our field of view during this time period. The asteroid will move pretty fast (30 seconds of arc per minute).

"Our display will be updated every five seconds. We, of course, collect astrometric data while this happens, but the movement of the asteroid will occur every five seconds," said Wells.

Updated Date: May 14, 2018 11:28 AM