Science

Asteroid Spotted Before Earth Collision for Third Time

Asteroid Spotted Before Earth Collision for Third Time”

A small asteroid slammed into Earth's atmosphere on June 2 just a few hours after it was discovered racing toward the planet, according to NASA. Although its trajectory put the space rock on a path for impact, it was estimated to be about 6 feet wide and expected to disintegrate upon impact with the Earth's atmosphere. NASA says the rock "disintegrated several miles above the surface" over Botswana, Africa, and it created a fireball that lit up the night sky.

However, NASA excuses itself saying that "this was a much smaller object than we were tasked with detecting and warning", according to Lindley Johnson from the NASA's planetary defense.

The asteroid-turned-meteor was seen streaking down across the African sky by a number of people, who witnessed 2018 LA approach Earth in a ball of fire from eight different cities, show records from the American Meteor Society.

Catalina Sky Survey astronomers in Arizona estimate the asteroid measured around 6ft in size, meaning it likely fully burned up during its descent. The video was captured at a farm just across the border in South Africa.

This chunk of space rock, however, was actually detected hours before hit the Earth's atmosphere. This is a third such instance of tracking small asteroids with impact trajectory.

Regarding the late detection of the asteroid, the CAS explained that because it is a small rock that can be dark, and that because it does not emit its own light, an asteroid like 2018 LA only becomes visible when it is already very close.

NEO watchers calculated that asteroid 2018 LA would enter the atmosphere somewhere over a corridor extending from Africa across the Indian Ocean to Papua New Guinea.

For a couple of hours before the fall, NASA found that the asteroid's trajectory 2018 LA involves the collision with the Ground. The same asteroid hunter, Richard Kowalski, made all three discoveries.

Constantly scanning telescopes capture images of the sky and movement through photos over time triggers a comparison of known objects in a database.

Considering the short time available to scientists using telescopes around the world to track and calculate the impact of asteroid 2018 LA, Brown called the results successful.

But in a nice bit of detective work, two additional observations were obtained by the ATLAS asteroid survey that were used by the Scout system to narrow down the predicted impact points in southern Africa.



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