Scientists at those centres quickly confirmed that it was a new, previously unknown asteroid, and from its path, it was likely going to impact with Earth in the hours to come.
The administrator of the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies, Paul Chodas at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of NASA said that this is only the 2 time that the location of entry of the asteroid was estimated with enough time beforehand. The celestial body entered the air shell with a speed of 17 kilometers per second in the form of a bright bolide that was seen by witnesses, collapsed at an altitude of several kilometers above the surface.
Luckily for us, the asteroid was small, as mentioned above, and burnt up in the atmosphere without causing damages. It was moving an incredible 10 miles per second when it reached Earth. The video was captured at a farm just across the border in South Africa.
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The asteroid, dubbed 2018 LA, was discovered out near the Moon's orbit early on Saturday morning. Once Catalina scientists contacted the Minor Planet Center and calculated a preliminary trajectory for 2018 LA, officials with CNEOS were brought in to confirm the asteroid was on a collision course with Earth.
The impact of the asteroid treated residents of Botswana, in southern Africa, to an impressive light show.
An employee of the Office of planetary defense, NASA Lindley Johnson said that it was a much smaller space object that they need to detect and prevent. "However, this real-world even allows to use exercise our capabilities and gives some confident our impact prediction models are adequate to respond to the potential impact of a larger object".
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The Chelyabinsk event prompted astronomers to become more equipped in tracking asteroid impact risks, according to a report from NASA in February 2018.
In addition, the Manager of the Centre for research of Ground objects Floor khodas explained that it was only the third time in history when it was possible to track the trajectory and a high probability of an asteroid collision long before the event itself.
Small asteroids are hard to detect and impact Earth more often than many may realize, according to Peter Brown who is physics and astronomy professor at Western University. "Over 8,000 of these larger asteroids are now being tracked". These smaller asteroids manage to slip into the atmosphere on occasion, where they're usually spotted as fireballs streaking across the sky.
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In 2008, 13-foot asteroid 2008 TC3 disintegrated over the skies of northern Sudan approximately 19 hours after discovery.