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Asteroid 2012 TC4 to Buzz Earth on October 12

Asteroid 2012 TC4 as seen by the Remanzacco Observatory team of Ernesto Guido, Giovanni Sostero, Nick Howes on Oct. 9, 2012.

Asteroid 2012 TC4 will give Earth a relatively close shave on October 12, 2012, passing at just a quarter of the distance to the orbit of the Moon. Discovered by Pan-STARRS observatory in Hawaii just last week on October 4, 2012, and it will pass by at about 88,000 kilometers (59,000 miles) away. Estimates on the size of this space rock vary from 17 to 30 meters, but NASA has indicated they will have telescopes trained on the asteroid as it makes its near Earth flyby — closest approach is just before 06:00 UTC (2:00 a.m. EDT) on Friday. Radar measurements can provide more details on the asteroid’s size and orbital characteristics.

NASA’s Asteroid Watch has assured there is no chance this asteroid will hit Earth.

The Slooh Space Camera is providing live coverage RIGHT NOW (at the time of this posting) on Thursday, October 11th, live on Slooh.com, free to the public, starting at 2:30 p.m. PDT / 5:30 p.m. EDT / 21:30 UTC — accompanied by real-time discussions with Slooh President, Patrick Paolucci; Slooh Outreach Coordinator, Paul Cox; and Astronomy Magazine columnist, Bob Berman.

Viewers are in for a special treat as asteroid TC4 will be in the same field of view as the planet Neptune during Slooh’s live coverage.

According Astro Bob, at around the time of closest approach, 2012 TC4 will be sailing through the stars of Sagittarius at approximately one degree (two full moon diameters) every 5 minutes.

This asteroid will reach the magnitude 13.7 on October 12 around 02:00 UTC, according to the Remanzacco Observatory team of Ernesto Guido, Giovanni Sostero, Nick Howes.

You can see an animation of Remanzacco’s observations here.

A view of the orbital parameters of asteroid 2012 TC4 from JPL.


Nancy Atkinson is currently Universe Today's Contributing Editor. Previously she served as UT's Senior Editor and lead writer, and has worked with Astronomy Cast and 365 Days of Astronomy. Nancy is also a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Bacci Paolo Backman October 11, 2012, 10:49 PM

    my images and light curve Asteroid 2012 TC4 http://b09-backman.blogspot.it/2012/10/2012-tc4.html

    • betazoid October 13, 2012, 9:55 AM

      Good shot of a 17.2 mag object.

    • kbinmaine October 13, 2012, 11:19 AM

      thats off an atari game tool

  • famg October 12, 2012, 1:02 AM

    discovered just the 4th. of october and passing so close to our planet, so, when the real killer comes, there`ll be nothing we can do, right?

    • famg October 12, 2012, 1:24 AM

      ok, stupid question, sorry

      • Michal Rosa October 12, 2012, 7:13 AM

        You’ll have enough time to kiss your own ass goodbye.

        • wrestling_is_DEAD October 13, 2012, 1:12 AM

          i cant bend that far.

          • kbinmaine October 13, 2012, 11:18 AM

            oh comeon you can bend forward enough to bj yourself

  • briansheen October 12, 2012, 9:22 AM

    Which constellations is this asteroid passing through?

    • NancyAtkinson October 12, 2012, 12:41 PM

      Good question Brian! It is Sagittarius, and I’ve added that info to the article.

  • Archangel October 12, 2012, 11:01 PM

    Good to see somebodys looking out into space for the NEXT KILLERASTEROID!!!!!

    • kbinmaine October 13, 2012, 11:19 AM

      mmm i love it when you scream

  • Raymond Snyder October 12, 2012, 11:52 PM

    Will it mess with the gravitational pull of Uranus?

    • Avelino Ortiz III October 13, 2012, 2:10 AM


    • kbinmaine October 13, 2012, 11:17 AM

      no but chuck will mess with uranus

    • Guest October 13, 2012, 1:28 PM

      ..hope not, life on uranus would be jeopardized.

    • LS650 October 13, 2012, 1:12 PM

      Look out for the Klingons!!

  • Beth Miletti October 13, 2012, 1:07 AM

    When the real killer comes they wont say a word about it.
    To much panic, looting, and riots.
    You’ll just see a bright light in the sky, a flash-bang, and a boom.
    And that’s it,,,might be just as well.

    • Keith Kaiser October 13, 2012, 1:09 AM

      Well, since it was discovered on the 4th, and let’s say it was on a collision course with Earth, I doubt we would have just sat here. Our only chance would be to nuke it. Maybe it would work. Maybe it wouldn’t, but like I said, I doubt we would have just sat here and waited 8 days and done nothing.

      • betazoid October 13, 2012, 9:54 AM

        Nuking it would do nothing but make us feel better about doing something. We don’t have anything strong enough to move something with that velocity at such a close distance. The only way to avoid a strike is to ID it years in advance and nudge it out of the way.

        Look at the history of Earth, it’s not a matter of if, but when…

    • EddieGin12 October 13, 2012, 3:12 AM

      only if we can direct it towards a certain city I hate, that will remain nameless for now.

    • bbb October 13, 2012, 4:03 AM

      ya because the government controls every telescope…the biggest news story in the history of earth would probably get leaked.

    • SoulLeviathan October 13, 2012, 5:39 PM

      What about asteroid 2012 DA14? It’s been known about for awhile.

  • Leah West October 13, 2012, 5:41 AM

    and this is just now being made news? But, we are not to panic because it will miss earth! Very nice……But with way the world is going with the economy, zombies, child kidnapping, raping and murders and random acts of evil going on all over the world on top of global warming, and tsunamis, and tornadoes and earthquakes….it seems fitting that we should have earth hit by an astroid and start over right about now…….bring back the caveman and dinosaurs.

    • Guest October 13, 2012, 1:19 AM

      did you say “zombies”…lol

    • kbinmaine October 13, 2012, 11:21 AM

      relax woman..its just a rock let me drag you by your hair to my cave!

    • Angie Geiger October 14, 2012, 9:31 AM

      People think “zombies” aren’t real…….unfortunately, in todays society, they are

  • caliboy_21 October 13, 2012, 7:19 AM

    Buzz by? More like hit us

  • Dimitar Bobekov October 13, 2012, 8:22 AM


  • vance October 13, 2012, 8:37 AM

    Roids ever hit Uranus? If so, I might suggest to you Preparation H.

  • Chris Knipp October 13, 2012, 1:57 PM

    We may have asteroid nail us in November. It depends on election results…

  • Bill Seper October 13, 2012, 3:30 PM

    It’s a measly 30 meters in size. Who cares? Snore….

    • Ken October 13, 2012, 2:14 PM

      That’s the estimated size of the asteroid creating the mile wide Meteor Crater in Arizona, with an estimated equivalent energy yield of 30 to 40 megaton of TNT.

  • doc forbes October 13, 2012, 6:01 PM

    Somebody better call Sheldon Cooper and his Big Bang buddies! Oh my!

  • Tom Cotter Sr October 13, 2012, 8:59 PM

    hopefully it hits Joe Biteme in the mouth!

  • Aqua4U October 14, 2012, 3:11 AM

    So many rocks… so few collisions… thank cod!…..>}}}O>……

    SciFi short story subject:Rogue elements in our military decide that the best way to continue to economically dominate the world, is to ‘inconspicuously’ eliminate China. The plan is to hurl an asteroid at them! A robotic mission selects and corrals the desired stony asteroid. Then, using ion propulsion engines, the probe slowly changes the asteroid’s orbital path. Everything is going according to plan and calculations when unexpectedly the asteroid begins to out gas prodigiously….which further changes orbital parameters. By the time those new parameters can be determined and the new impact site correctly calculated… it is too late to do anything about it. The asteroid slams into Manhattan, right in the middle of Wall Street, during the morning rush hour……*

  • yahoo-PMMQSMVCRYAVS5MU7HF34ZZ77E October 14, 2012, 4:05 AM

    Seems to be alot of asteroids in the last 2 years…..maybe more then the previous 20….are these close calls just the begining of a larger shower…after reading these moronic comments….I hope so!

  • Angie Geiger October 14, 2012, 9:39 AM

    ok….I realize i’m new here…..but with the talk of asteriods and whatnot……whatever happened to Nibiru….Planet X??? Many years ago it was recognized by NASA….now….if there is any recognition at all, it’s ”a hypothetical planet”??
    Just wondering??…..