Science

Asteroid the Size of City Block to Zing Past Earth Today

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An asteroid similar to the one illustrated here was first discovered in 2010 and will pass between Earth and the moon on Tuesday.

( NASA/JPL-Caltech)

  • The fast-moving asteroid is about the size of a city block and should be visible to those with a small telescope.
  • The asteroid will be moving at a speed of about 28,655 miles per hour when it shoots past Earth.
  • It will pass within 126,419 miles of Earth, or about half the distance from our planet to the moon.

An asteroid the size of a city block is set to zing past Earth today.

Asteroid 2010 WC9 will pass relatively close to Earth at 6:05 p.m. EST Tuesday, passing within 126,419 miles of the planet, or about half the distance from Earth to the moon, according to NASA.

"Asteroids this size approach about this close about once every decade or so, on average," Paul Chodas, manager of the Center for Near Earth Object Studies at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. "So it's a fairly rare event, a special opportunity, a chance to observe it scientifically." 

First discovered in 2010 by the Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona, the fast-moving asteroid will be visible to those with a small telescope.

"At no time will it be visible to the eye as it sweeps past Earth," notes Earth Sky. "It might get as bright as magnitude +11, which would make it bright enough to be seen in amateur telescopes pointed at the correct location and time"

The asteroid will be moving at a speed of about 28,655 miles per hour when it shoots past the Earth and is the closest this particular asteroid has passed Earth in 300 years, according to EarthSky.

The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.

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