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Small asteroid set to pass safely by Earth tomorrow: Experts

Experts say the asteroid poses no risk of impact with Earth

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

Nasa looks at asteroids to mine for metals
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A small is scheduled to safely pass by tomorrow at a distance of about 42,000 kilometres, allowing trackers around the world to test their ability to operate as an international warning network.

The designated 2012 TC4 is estimated to be 15 to 30 meters in size. Orbit prediction experts say the asteroid poses no risk of impact with

Its closest approach to will be over on October 12 at 11:12 am IST.

Nonetheless, its close approach to Earth is an opportunity to test the ability of a growing global observing network to communicate and coordinate its optical and radar observations in a real scenario.

This asteroid was discovered by the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) in Hawaii in 2012.

However, 2012 TC4 travelled out of the range of asteroid- tracking shortly after it was discovered.

Based on the observations they were able to make in 2012, predicted that it should come back into view in 2017.

Observers with the European Agency and the European Southern Observatory were the first to recapture 2012 TC4, in late July this year, using one of their large 8-metre aperture

Since then, observers around the world have been tracking the object as it approaches Earth and reporting their observations to the Minor Planet Center.

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 Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO).

"are using this flyby to test the worldwide asteroid detection and tracking network, assessing our capacity to work together in response to finding a potential real asteroid-impact threat," said Michael Kelley, programme scientist and PDCO lead for the TC4 observation campaign.

No asteroid currently was known is predicted to impact Earth for the next 100 years.

First Published: Wed, October 11 2017. 16:45 IST