Published: Thu, June 07, 2018
Sci-tech | By Brandy Patterson

Small Asteroid Slams Into Earth's Atmosphere Only Hours After Astronomers Spot It

This chunk of space rock, however, was actually detected hours before hit the Earth's atmosphere.

The asteroid made impact into the earth's atmosphere at about 12:44 p.m. on June 2, at a speed of 38,000 miles per hour over South Africa.

When 2018 LA reached Earth, it was traveling very fast at around 10 miles per second (38,000MPH) and disintegrated in the atmosphere on impact.

Given the name 2018 LA, it was first spotted by the Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona on June 2 in the United States at which point the asteroid was as close to Earth as the moon, astronomers said.

A small chunk of an asteroid or comet is also known as a meteoroid.

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The Article from Asteroid disintegrated up above in the sky. Videos posted to YouTube reportedly show the fireball streaking across the night sky, including one captured on a South African farm's security camera.

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.

Initial estimates had the impact zone stretching from southern Africa across the Indian Ocean into New Guinea, with tracking systems then narrowing it down to southern Africa. This is only the third time an asteroid was detected before it made impact.

Paul Chodas, the Manager of NASA's CNEOS (Center for Near-Earth Object Studies), stated it is the 2nd time the prediction of collision location was precise.

Asteroid trackers at Nasa and elsewhere quickly determined the rock - about 6ft across - was too small to pose any danger.

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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".

"Reports of a bright fireball above Botswana, Africa, early Saturday evening match up with the predicted trajectory for the asteroid", explained NASA, in a statement.

Only twice before has a small asteroid been detected hours before colliding with Earth.

A 2008 asteroid was spotted by Kowalski 19 hours in advance and measured 13 feet, or 4 meters.

The first event of this kind was the impact of asteroid 2008 TC3, which lit up the predawn sky above Northern Sudan on October 7, 2008. Astronomers have spotted, plotted, and forecasted asteroid flybys months, years, and even decades ahead of time but sometimes space rocks can be sneaky, especially when they're small.

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