Massive asteroid to pass near the Earth on Tuesday night

Massive asteroid to pass near the Earth on Tuesday night

An asteroid the size of a football field will have a close brush with Earth on Tuesday. It was discovered by astronomers in 2010 who were a part of the NASA-funded Catalina Sky Survey. 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.

It is still a faint object of 18th magnitude, but it is brightening very rapidly: 2010 WC9 will be brighter than 11th magnitude at closest approach, making it visible in a small telescope! It will be closest to Earth at 6:05 in the afternoon. However, many amateur astronomers are going to get their telescopes out and should spot the asteroid at the right time. And depending on WC9's makeup, if it were to collide with our planet, it could be powerful enough to make a crater nearly a mile wide, Erin Ryan, an astrophysicist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, tells NBC. Astronomers have identified about 8,000 space rocks spanning at least 460 feet across, but approximately 17,000 similar ones still remain undetected, Space.com reported.

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The chances of an impact from 2010 WG9 were, indeed, small, as they are with all of the objects listed there, but if it were to hit Earth at some point, the effects would be devastating.

NASA estimates that about 90 per cent of all asteroids one kilometre in diameter and larger, have been found. That unnamed asteroid, which exploded some 30 kilometres above the ground, blasted apart with the force of a 500 kilotonne bomb. Nevertheless, the 2010 WC9 would not cause any damage to the Earth.

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Chelyabinsk bolide, Feb 15, 2013.

The 2018 GE3 asteroid was discovered just one day before it skimmed past Earth in what scientists called a "surprise" flyby.

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There are several projects searching for potentially hazardous asteroids, though, lucky for us, so far none have been confirmed to be a danger to Earth. Since finding the so-called "lost asteroid", officials have kept a watchful eye on the space traveler.

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