‘Missing’ Asteroid 2012 TC4 spotted ahead of Earth flyby in October
Asteroid 2012 TC4 was discovered in 2012 by the Pan-STARRS observatory in Hawaii. During the original observation it was revealed the asteroid’s next approach to our vicinity would be on October 12, 2017.
However, due to its orbit, astronomers were not able to track the asteroid over the last five years leaving its potential proximity on its approach to Earth a mystery.
Despite some Doomsday predictions that the small rock could destroy our planet, astronomers say the asteroid will not collide with Earth.
In fact, new observations made by ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile, reveal it will miss Earth by a significant 44,000 kilometers.
Estimated to be between 15 to 30 meters in size, the ESA said an asteroid of this magnitude entering our atmosphere would have a similar effect to the Chelyabinsk event.
A 20-metre near-Earth asteroid entered Earth's atmosphere over Russia on 15 February 2013 causing a meteor explosion.
Chelyabinsk was the largest meteor recorded since the 1908 Tunguska event and resulted in more than a thousand injuries and widespread damage to buildings in the area.
This new object is expected to give NASA an opportunity to test its planetary defense system and assess the capability of scientists to locate future threats.