Up for a challenge? Planetary action is certainly heating up this summer: Jupiter passed opposition last month, Saturn does so in June, and Mars reaches favorable viewing next month. And with dazzling Venus in the west and Mercury to joining it starting in late June, we’ll soon have all of the naked eye classical planets in the evening sky.
Now, I want to turn your attention towards a potential naked eye object, you’ve probably never seen: asteroid 4 Vesta.
Incoming: The Earth-Moon system has company tonight.
The Asteroid: Near Earth Asteroid 2010 WC9 is back. Discovered by the Catalina Sky Survey outside Tucson, Arizona on November 30th, 2010, 2010 WC9 was lost after a brief 10 day observation window, and was not recovered until earlier this month. About 71 meters in size, 2010 WC9 is one of the largest asteroids to pass us closer than the Earth-Moon distance.