Asteroid 2012 TC4 Zips Past Us at 59,000 Miles From Earth, Inside Moon's Orbit
For the third time in a year or so, an asteroid is giving Earth’s orbit a swipe. This one, like YU55 in November 2011 and a bus-sized one earlier this year, will shoot between the Earth and the moon. Also like YU55, as well as a few others that have come by over the past year, it poses no danger to Mother Earth, NASA and other sources say.
The house-sized asteroid was only discovered on October 4, said NASA in a release. Although we didn’t see this one coming very far ahead, there is no danger that it will slam into Mother Earth, scientists said. It goes by the humble name 2012 TC4, is 56 feet wide, and its closest approach will bring it within 59,000 miles of our planet “when it zips harmlessly by on Friday,” as Space.com described it.
Actually, according to Space.com, Asteroid 2012 TC4 is just one of two that passed inside the moon's orbit this week. On October 7, a 100-foot-wide asteroid dubbed 2012 TV hurtled between Earth and the moon 158,000 miles away, or about 0.7 times the distance from Mother Earth to her satellite. The moon averages 238,000 miles away from Earth, Space.com said.
Unlike Eros, known as the Asteroid of Love (a.k.a. 433 Eros) because it passes by in February each year, this one will not be visible with the naked eye. A look through a telescope would afford a view of the fleeting space rock, according to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Eros passed 15 million miles from Earth, whereas other so-called near Earth Asteroids are much closer. There are enough rocks flying in close proximity to our planet—at least 4,700, according to a count released in June 2012—to warrant the need for a warning system, many scientists say.