Scientists Spot an Incoming Asteroid Just Hours Before Collision: ScienceAlert

Scientists Spot an Incoming Asteroid Just Hours Before Collision: ScienceAlert
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For only the sixth time in recorded history, astronomers have managed to capture a snapshot. asteroid Before it hits Earth.

On November 19, 2022, about four hours before the collision, the Catalina Sky Survey discovered an asteroid named 2022 WJ1 in incoming orbit. A network of telescopes and scientists took action, accurately calculating exactly when and where the asteroid would fall on Earth.

This is great news. The 2022 WJ1 was too small to inflict any serious damage, but its detection shows that the world’s asteroid tracking techniques have improved, giving us a better chance of being protected from falling space rocks – large ones that could actually do some damage.

While space is mostly space, there is also a lot of non-space in it. Near Earth, these non-space are mostly asteroids orbiting the Sun, bringing them closer to Earth’s orbit. We call them near-Earth asteroids, and at the time of writing 30,656 of them cataloged.

Most of these asteroids are actually quite small, and scientists are confident that we’ve found almost all of them large enough to pose a significant hazard, they studied them and determined that none of them would come close enough in the next century. be a threat.

Still, it’s good to stay on top of what’s buzzing in the space around us and hone our skills to find sneaky rocks thinking about making a grand entrance.

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this 2022 WJ1 detection It was made by the Mount Lemmon Observatory, part of the Catalina network, on 19 November 2022 at 04:53 UTC. He continued to track the object, taking four images that allowed the astronomers to confirm the detection and report it. IAU Minor Planet Center at 05:38 UTC.

These four images were enough to calculate the asteroid’s trajectory across the sky, and multiple impact-tracking programs found that the rock had a roughly 20 percent chance of falling somewhere on the North American continent.

Follow-up observations allowed scientists to refine their measurements, giving time and space. Bang on schedule, 08:27 UTC, 2022 WJ1 was seen flying through the sky as a bright green fireball over the Golden Horseshoe region of Southern Ontario, Canada.

The discovery was the first meteor predicted to strike a densely populated area, but the rock was not a hazard. It measured about one meter (3.3 feet) in diameter as it entered Earth’s atmosphere, making it the smallest asteroid ever observed prior to atmospheric entry.

Here it turned into a burning fire and shattered, falling to Earth mostly in smaller pieces that fell to Earth. water of Lake Ontario. Most of the meteorite fragments that can be located should be small debris; scientists hope to get some to study the asteroid further.

The previous five asteroids detected before the impact were 2008 TC3, which was about 4 meters in diameter; 2014 AA, 3 meters wide; 2018 LA, again three meters in diameter; 2019 MO, 6 meters in diameter; and just earlier this year, the 2022 EB5, which is about 2 meters in diameter.

The detection of 2022 WJ1 and the global coordination that followed is a wonderful testament to how sensitively technology has grown and the magnificence of human collaboration to better understand rogue space rocks.

And of course, these observations represent a rare opportunity to study what happens to asteroids when they enter Earth’s atmosphere.

“This fireball is particularly important as it was observed telescopically before the main asteroid hits the atmosphere. This makes it a rare opportunity to gain insight into an asteroid’s internal structure by correlating telescopic data with its dispersal behavior in the atmosphere.” said astronomer and physicist Peter Brown from the University of Western Ontario.

“This remarkable event, when combined with telescopic measurements, will provide clues about makeup and strength that will inform our understanding of how small asteroids break up in the atmosphere, which is important information for planetary defense.”

The debris from 2022 WJ1 should be dark, with a thin, fresh fusion crust and a more gray stony interior. Scientists demand that any suspicious parts be reported to the United States. Royal Ontario Museum.

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