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The online observatory Slooh.com will host a free live webcast tonight (May 14) to showcase asteroid 2010 WC9, which will make a near-Earth flyby on Tuesday (May 15). Slooh's webcast begins at 8 p.m. EDT (0000 May 15 GMT). Watch the webcast live here, courtesy of Slooh.com, or directly from Slooh.com here.
Editor's note: If you capture an image of asteroid 2010 WC9 or any other night sky view and would like to share it with Space.com for a possible story or gallery, send images and comments in to: email@example.com.
On May 14th, at 5:00 PM PDT | 8:00 PM EDT | 00:00 UTC, Slooh will train its telescopes on a fast moving asteroid as it makes its close to approach to Earth. Asteroid 2010 WC9 is perilously large at up to 120 meters in size, and will pass between the Earth and the Moon, a very rare occurrence for an asteroid of this size. Slooh will train four different telescopes at its flagship observatory at the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands, one of the world’s premier observatory sites.
“We have been tracking asteroids for over a decade, and nothing is more chilling than asteroids that are discovered and then lost ”, says Slooh Astronomer Paul Cox. “After their initial discovery, they become lost again because not enough follow-up observations can be made in time to fix their orbit. Slooh members have been dedicated to making observations of Near-Earth Asteroids and comets, and have made over 6,000 submissions to the Minor Planet Center, which collects and analyzes tracking data to determine their orbits over the years..”
During the livestream, Slooh Astronomers Paul Cox and Dr. Paige Godfrey will be on hand to answer questions about the newly recovered asteroid. They’ll discuss its size, speed and makeup, while also exploring why asteroids like 2010 WC9 so often go undetected until just days before they whizz past Earth.
Slooh routinely tracks potentially hazardous objects for the general public to view live (both asteroids and comets) whose sizes are large enough, and whose orbits take them close enough to our planet, that they have the potential to cause significant damage in the event of an impact. Slooh’s livestreams have attracted millions of viewers, and Slooh has become a leading voice to help ensure that public awareness does not wane.
NEA "2010 WC9" is an eye-opening reminder of the potential dangers of asteroid impacts and the importance of acquiring and tracking asteroid orbits. It’s estimated that while 90 percent of the 1000-metre plus sized asteroids have been discovered, only 30% of the 140-metre sized NEAs have been found, with less than 1 percent of the 30-metre sized NEAs having been detected. Even a 30-metre sized asteroid can cause significant damage to a major city.
Viewers are encouraged to ask questions on Slooh’s astronomers by Tweeting them to @Slooh or by taking part in the live chat on Facebook.