Published: Thu, June 07, 2018
Science | By Joan Schultz

Boulder-size asteroid disintegrated harmlessly over Africa

Boulder-size asteroid disintegrated harmlessly over Africa

Scientists lately spotted an asteroid resembling the size of a big boulder in the sky above Botswana in Africa on Saturday.

An asteroid on a collision course with Earth has burned up in the evening sky over southern Africa eight hours after first being noticed.

A two-meter space body was torn into small particles during entry into the Earth's atmosphere.

Asteroid 2018 LA was first discovered by the NASA-funded Catalina Sky Survey operated by the University of Arizona, the agency said. When it reached Earth, the asteroid was traveling incredibly fast, at 10 miles per second.

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.

Astronomers projected that asteroid 2018 LA will be entering the Earth's atmosphere at some point along a passageway that extends from Africa through the Indian Ocean to Papua New Guinea.

"The discovery of the asteroid in 2018, LA became the third case, when the asteroid was discovered on the swing", - said the expert of the center of studies near-earth objects Paul Chodas. According to NASA, an automated alert was sent to the Planetary Defense Coordination Office in Washington, however it was quickly determined that the asteroid was harmless.

Planetary Defence Officer at Nasa HQ Lindley Johnson said: "This was a much smaller object than those we are tasked to detect and warn about but it was a good exercise".

Also, the scientist says that such examples are illustrative of the work of NASA: "This is a real event allows you to test our capabilities and gives some condence that our models predict collisions suited to respond to the potential impact of larger objects". The asteroid of 2014 was detected only some hours before it entered the Earth above the Atlantic and just a little time was available for tracking it.

In 2008, 13-foot asteroid 2008 TC3 disintegrated over the skies of northern Sudan approximately 19 hours after discovery.

NASA calculated that the asteroid was traveling at a considerable speed of 27,738 miles per hour (44,640 km / h).

The second event occurred January 1, 2014, when the asteroid 2014 AA was spotted just a few hours before it fell over the Atlantic Ocean.

Smaller objects are fainter and more hard to spot in a large sky, though efforts like the NASA-funded Catalina Sky Survey are increasingly able to search a wider field of sky to find these somewhat elusive objects.

Like this: