Sunday, November 19, 2017

House-Sized Asteroid 2017 WC to Pass By Earth on Monday


A newly discovered house-sized asteroid 2017 WC is slated to pass by Earth on Monday, November 20 at 2:43 UTC. The space rock will fly by our planet at a safe distance of about 2.94 lunar distances (LD), or 1.13 million kilometers, with a relative velocity of 7.6 km/s.

2017 WC is an Apollo-type near-Earth object (NEO) discovered by the Catalina Sky Survey (CSS) on November 16. CSS is a project to discover comets and asteroids, and to search for NEOs, based at the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Lab in Tucson, Arizona.

According to astronomers, 2017 WC has a diameter between 12 and 38 meters. It orbits the sun every 3.26 years at a distance of approximately 2.2 AU.

Besides close approach to Earth on Monday, 2017 WC will also fly by the Moon on the same day at 2:56 UTC at a distance of 3.76 LD, what corresponds to 1.44 million kilometers.

On November 19, there were 1,853 Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) detected and none of them is on a collision course with our planet. PHAs are asteroids larger than 100 meters that can come closer to Earth than 19.5 LD.

To date, astronomers have discovered 17,209 NEOs. Only this month 86 such objects were detected.

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