Small Asteroid Hits Earth Hours After Being Spotted By Astronomers

Credit CNN

Over the weekend, a small asteroid was detected shortly before entering Earth's atmosphere, where it appeared as a giant fireball.

Asteroid trackers at NASA and elsewhere determined the rock to be about 2 metres wide. NASA officials named it as Asteroid 2018 LA and said that it was actually meant to hit the Earth when its trajectory is analysed and the hitting speed is around 60,000 km/hr or 38,000 miles per hour approximately.

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.

First, the asteroid crashed into the atmosphere over land, where people could witness it disintegrating as a bright fireball in the sky.

Video posted on YouTube, from a farm just across the border in South Africa, showed a fireball swiftly descending and getting bigger, and then a blinding flash in the sky.

At the time of its discovery, 2018 LA was nearly as close to Earth as the orbit of the moon, "although that was not initially known", stated NASA officials.

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This is the incredible moment a high-speed asteroid the size of a auto explodes over the South African wilderness just seconds before impact. He adds that the event is also only the second time that a location has been identified with enough time before eventual impact.

'This was a much smaller object than we are tasked to detect and warn about, ' NASA's planetary defense officer, Lindley Johnson, said in a statement. The space agency is focused on saving lives and property by predicting where an asteroid will strike.

It is only the third time scientists have spotted an incoming asteroid on a direct collision course with Earth. Although none of the recent impacts has actually been serious, researchers still keep an eye on any cosmic object that might approach Earth.

In addition to monitoring the Earth, NASA also tracks the asteroids from space. The first was 2008 TC3, which was detected 15 hours before it broke up over northern Sudan on October 7, 2008.

In 2008, 13-foot asteroid 2008 TC3 disintegrated over the skies of northern Sudan approximately 19 hours after discovery. Another asteroid 2014 AA was discovered in 2014, a few hours before falling over the Atlantic ocean. For all three objects, the observer on watch was Richard Kowalski, a senior research specialist at the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona.

For a couple of hours before the fall, NASA found that the asteroid's trajectory 2018 LA involves the collision with the Ground.

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