This photo was taken of the fireball that exploded over Utah in 2009. On Friday, March 11th, a similar asteroid exploded over the Arctic Ocean. Astronomers discovered and tracked this asteroid just hours before the collision. (ksl.com)
Estimated reading time: 4-5 minutes
SALT LAKE CITY – An asteroid smaller than a GPS satellite but traveling at twice the speed impacted Earth’s atmosphere over the Arctic Ocean on Friday after it was discovered just hours earlier.
This harmless collision marks only the fifth time in history that astronomers have discovered an object before it hit Earth.
The asteroid, which is 10 to 13 feet in diameter (or as the Daily Mail called it, “half the size of a giraffe”), is now officially designated as Small Planet 2022 EB5 It was first discovered by the galactic astronomer K. Sarneczky, who spotted the small spot flying through his telescope.
Two hours later—sometime in the afternoon according to Mountain Standard Time—the object, re-entering the atmosphere north of Iceland, exploded in a 2-kiloton explosion. By then, other astronomers had spread the word, observing the rock and accurately tracking its final destination.
Effect! When 2022 EB5 hit Earth north of Iceland this morning, it became the fifth asteroid to be discovered before it hit Earth. pic.twitter.com/kYsQ40uuFq
– Tony Dunn (@ tony873004) 12 March 2022
While small asteroids hitting Earth are not uncommon, detecting and tracking an object prior to impact is not uncommon.
“It happens all the time.” Patrick Wiggins, a solar system ambassador for NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Utah, said of the asteroid impact. “The thing that makes this different is that we saw it coming.”
Impacts of this magnitude occur at least several times a month, Wiggins said, yet most of them occur invisibly over the ocean.
Had it not been for the vigilance of a handful of astronomers and scientists, Friday’s accident would have been missing. Italian astronomer Ernesto Guido laid out the timeline of the small planet, from discovery to disintegration, in Blog post at. Saturday.
Sarneczky, who according to Wikipedia Discovered dozens of similar objects, the asteroid was spotted in a 0.6-meter telescope on top of a mountain in Hungary. Then put the object on Near the Earth body confirmation page for other observers to confirm his vision. Astronomer Bill Gray then calculated the object’s trajectory, predicting a collision somewhere southwest of the Norwegian island of Jan Mayen.
But Gray also discovered there was no time to lose. He sent a message to fellow observers of the minor planets, alerting them of the impending impact and pleading with someone in Europe for a view.
“I strongly urge European observers to take a look at this object,” he said. “(The effect) is about forty minutes from ‘now’.”
Soon, Gray responded to his letter, with more monitoring data from Slovakia and a “forced evacuation” hating any fears of disaster.
“This thing is probably a meter or two wide…Most of it is harmless,” he said. The subject of the message is “Sar2953 = Small Impact Tool”.
After the impact, there were reports of a series of note messages being reported in Iceland, as well as China. Participants in the thread began to crush the numbers, trying to discern the details of the collision. One participant noted that body tracking was similar to tracking GPS satellites, which move about half as fast.
I didn’t, but Facebook friends northeast of Husavik were asking about a blue explosion/flash in the sky that lasted for about two seconds. The time for questions is appropriate. pic.twitter.com/6c2n7V4uaK
– Sindri Geir 🇺🇦🇵🇸 (sindrigeir) 12 March 2022
Guido wrote in his letter, that the low-frequency observation taken in Greenland at the time of the impact revealed not only the magnitude of the explosion left by the object, but also its size.
“From this data, the yield is about 2-3 kilotons of TNT. At 15 km/s, it is about 3-4 meters in diameter,” The report came from Greenland.
Infrasound detection of a 2022 EB5 impact off the coast of Iceland at I37NO between 2223-2227 UTC. Below is the I18DK infrasound data for Greenland. Arrival near 2340 UTC. From these data, the yield is about 2-3 kilotons of TNT. At 15 km/s, it is about 3-4 meters in diameter. Tweet embed#2002EB5pic.twitter.com/FYI9jn7zCb
– Peter Brown (@pgbrown) 12 March 2022
Wiggins said that’s definitely not as big of an effect as Tunguska effect in Siberiaor even newer Chelyabinsk effect in 2013, also above the sky of Russia. However, the vision still teaches us lessons.
“It’s a great example of why we need more than two hours’ notice, if we want to do anything about it,” Wiggins said.
Contrary to some social media posts, the ambassador said, we did not “dodge a bullet.” But in the event a larger object is on a collision course with our planet, he said we’d like to prepare “months if not years.”
However, Wiggins described Earth’s exposure to minor planets as a “cosmic imaging gallery”. 2022 EB5 considered Apollo asteroida class of asteroids whose orbits revolve around the Earth’s orbit.
No meteorite fragments have been discovered after the 2022 EB5 impact. It’s even rare to find predicted meteorites, Wiggins said. The first recorded impact resulted in small fragments of the meteorite.
Utah has also been targeted by small asteroids. Some Utahns may remember that the night sky lit up in 2009 when a A meteorite fell in the western desert. Wiggins remembers sitting in his living room when the fireball exploded in the sky. Wiggins said that although this event was unexpected, the sonic boom heard in Utah made it possible to track it down. This meteor was also the focus of an episode of the show.”meteor menin 2010.
Science and TechnologyUtah
More stories you might be interested in
“Web maven. Infuriatingly humble beer geek. Bacon fanatic. Typical creator. Music expert.”