Earth to witness asteroid swingby over the southern sky on Thursday


GETTY STOCKAsteroid 2012 TC4 was discovered in 2012 and will skim past Earth later this week

A massive #asteroid will pass near #Earth on #Thursday, according to The Guardian.

A small asteroid by the name of 2012 TC4 will pass by the earth on Thursday just 42,000kms above the Antarctic continent. Helping to monitor similar asteroids and prepare for that planning is a process in which the CSIRO-NASA Canberra tracking station is set to play an important role after a trial of the Goldstone Solar System Radar, which allows scientists to investigate objects in space.

The asteroid was spotted five years ago as it passed by Earth at about double the distance it is expected to approach us on Thursday. It spins once every 12.2 minutes, Sputnik International reported. The asteroid designated 2012 TC4 is estimated to be 15 to 30 meters in size.

It is certainly an event that will be closely watched.

Scientists have said the asteroid is on course to pass safely by, just south of Australia, and poses no threat. 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. The distance is about one-eighth the distance between the Earth and the Moon.

This "test" of what has become a global asteroid-impact early-warning system is a volunteer project, conceived and organised by asteroid observers and supported by the NASA Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO). It is also within the range that some of our satellites orbit and could pose a threat to those spacecraft.

Rüdiger Jehn of European Space Agency said that asteroid 2012 TC4 completes a one day loop around the Sun in 609 days, so it is expected to return to Earth in 2050 and then again in 2079. "There are tens of thousands of objects that are known or tracked and nothing now poses any direct risk, but organizations like NASA and other space agencies around the world are working on plans for what to do if something is coming our way, so we have a better chance than the dinosaurs", said Glenn.

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