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Small Asteroid Flies Over South Africa Just Hours After Being Detected

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A six-foot-wide meteor hit Botswana, Africa entering the atmosphere at 6:44 pm Botswana time. Travelling at around 38,000 miles per hour, the asteroid sparked the night sky in Botswana early Saturday evening, on June 2, 2018, according to gizmodo.com

The asteroid known as ‘2018 LA’ was detected for the third time in its recorded history, and was detected to be a short distance away from Earth. The NASA Planetary Defense organization found the trajectory of the small meteor highly likely to be on a collision course with Earth. Only 13 hours after the meteor was detected, a bright ‘bolide’ fireball burned over the border of Botswana and South Africa, according to theweathernetwork.com

The asteroid ‘2018 LA’ burned up shortly after reaching the Earth’s atmosphere, and there was no reported damage caused by the asteroid. Manager of NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies, Paul Chodas said in a statement, “The discovery of asteroid 2018 LA is only the third time that an asteroid has been discovered to be on an impact trajectory.” Chodas added, “It is also only the second time that the impact location was predicted well ahead of the event itself,” according to cleveland.cbslocal

‘2018 LA was first sighted by astronomers at the Catalina Sky Survey near Tucson, Arizona. The first faint sighting of the meteor showed it to be 6 feet (2 meters) in diameter, small enough to burn up at entrance of Earth’s atmosphere. The astronomers at the Catalina Sky Survey reported their findings to the Minor Planet Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts. MPC managed to calculate preliminary trajectory for the asteroid, hinting that it could be on a collision course with Earth, according to space.com

MPC reported their preliminary trajectory to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. JPL’s automated scout system confirmed that ‘2018 LA’ was on a collision course with Earth, and sent out alerts to asteroid observers trying to spot it. Planetary Defense Officer Lindley Johnson at NASA HQ stated, “This was a much smaller object than we are tasked to detect and warn about, however, this real-world event allows us to exercise our capabilities and gives some confidence our impact prediction models are adequate to respond to the potential impact of a larger object,” according to denver.cbslocal

 

Video https://youtu.be/vmtTR3UC5YU courtesy of https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIcvISfbsNdcRs3QM0onerA

 

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Small Asteroid Flies Over South Africa Just Hours After Being Detected