A small asteroid is scheduled to pass by Earth safely at a distance of around 50,000 km above our globe's surface on Thursday. It would provide the trackers all over the world with a great opportunity to test their capability of functioning as an international asteroid warning network.
The space rock, designated 2012 TC4, is expected to pass the Earth closely, without causing any harm on October 12, informed NASA.
As per EarthSky, the asteroid is supposed to come nearest to the Earth at about 05:42 UTC on October 12. It will come close enough to the Earth that the Earth's gravitational pull will slightly alter the path of the asteroid, stated the report. Later, on the same day, at 19:19 UTC the rock is scheduled to sweep pass our only natural satellite Moon at a distance of near about 277,000 km.
Currently, 2012 TC4 is travelling at a speed of nearly 50,000 kph, although, initially when it was recovered by the astronomers from within the deep space, its speed was exceedingly dim. Now, it has brightened up as it has gotten closer to the Earth.
Before 2017, this space object was spotted by the astronomers only for a week in 2012. While experts had observed its orbit well enough to predict that it would return, they didn't have the exact orbit pinned down. Initially, it was predicted that although 2012 TC4 is not going to hit us, it's going to give a close shave, passing at a distance of about 6,800 km. In July 2017, the astronomers were able to pick up the asteroid telescopically once again, after not seeing it for years. It was only after that the astronomers made new observations, which led to a refined knowledge about the 2012 TC4's orbit.
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Can you see the asteroid? Yes. With bare eyes? No. Experienced observers are expected to pick it up with their telescopes and charting software. In case you do not have either, you can watch the 2012 TC4 asteroid move online. As per the report, The Virtual Telescope Project in Italy is going to offer two online observing sessions - one on October 11 and another, the very next day, on October 12 - in cooperation with Tenagra Observatories in Arizona. You can click here to watch it online.