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article imageAsteroid 2012 TC4 passes very near Earth

By JohnThomas Didymus     Oct 13, 2012 in Science
The asteroid 2012 TC4 estimated at between 55.77 and 98.43 feet (17 and 30 meters) across will pass near to the Earth today at about 59,000 miles, a quarter of the distance of the Moon.
The asteroid was discovered on October 4 by Pan-STARRS observatory in Hawaii.
Its closest approach to Earth is expected just before 06:00 UTC (2:00 a.m. EDT) on Friday.
According to NASA's Asteroid Watch program in a Twitter update: "Small asteroid 2012 TC4 will safely pass Earth Oct 12 at just .25 the distance to our moon's orbit." reports that the Slooh Space Camera is providing live coverage at starting at 2:30 p.m. PDT / 5:30 p.m. EDT / 21:30 UTC.
Phys.Org also reports that a Remanzacco Observatory team says the asteroid will reach magnitude 13.7 on October 12 around 02:00 UTC. An animation of Remanzacco's observations may be viewed here. The orbital parameters of the asteroid is available at JPL NASA website.
Universe Today reports that Astro Bob says at around the time of closest approach, 2012 TC4 will pass through "the stars of Sagittarius at approximately one degree (two full moon diameters) every 5 minutes."
Asteroid 2012 TC4 as seen by the Remanzacco Observatory team on Oct. 9  2012.
Asteroid 2012 TC4 as seen by the Remanzacco Observatory team on Oct. 9, 2012.
Remanzacco Observatory team
Astronomers have assured that there are no chances that asteroid 2012 TC4 will hit the Earth.
According to, the asteroid is large enough for amateurs to observe using a small telescope. says: "The 16-meter-wide space rock will be close enough to photograph through backyard telescopes as it brightens to approximately 14th magnitude. NASA hopes to ping this object with radar, refining its orbit and possibly measuring its shape."
2012 TC4  orbital diagram
2012 TC4, orbital diagram
NASA scientists say near-Earth flybys of such small asteroids occur regularly. reports that meanwhile, a group known as B16 Foundation announced Thursday a plan to launch in 2017 a private telescope that will scan the skies for bodies that pose a risk to the Earth. The telescope known as the Sentinel Space Telescope will scan the skies for near-Earth asteroids. It will look out for asteroids from an observation position close to the orbit of Venus, the Daily Mail reports.
The Daily Mail reports that in September 2011, NASA announced that its survey has found about 90 per cent of the largest asteroids that could pose a threat to Earth.
Astronomers say asteroid 2012 TC4 is too small to be of significant threat.
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