For the seventh time, a small asteroid has been discovered in space on its way to hit the Earth – reported the European Space Agency (ESA). The entry of the object into the Earth’s atmosphere, which is tearing through the skies of Europe like a ball of fire, took place in the early hours of Monday. Let’s look at the story of this very rare sighting, which has led to the sharing of many videos on social networks.
As ESA reports, it all started a few hours earlier when Hungarian astronomer Krisztián Sárneczky, an asteroid hunter scanning the skies with his telescope installed at an observatory a hundred kilometers from Budapest, spotted a cosmic rock traveling through space. Earth. It was then 20:18 (Portugal mainland time) last Sunday, February 12th.
After receiving a second sighting of the small asteroid, Krisztián Sárneczky reported, at 8:49 p.m., the sighting to the Center for Minor Planets – an International Astronomical Union agency responsible for detecting, identifying and calculating orbits of minor planets (such as asteroids), comets and natural satellites in irregular outer orbits of major planets.
Initially, the Hungarian astronomer named the asteroid he had discovered as Sar2667, which now has the official name 2023 CX1.
“About 40 minutes later, observations at the Višnjan Observatory in Croatia confirmed the object. At this point, many impact assessment systems [de asteróides ou cometas] worldwide estimated impact probability to be 100%, expected in the English Channel between 2:00 and 4:00 UTC [a mesma hora em Lisboa]”, he writes inside web page from ESA. “It was estimated that the asteroid was about one meter in diameter and that it did not pose a threat to people or property.”
In the seven hours after the object was detected, ESA points out, astronomers around the world were able to follow its track and indicate its “impact path” over the English Channel, whose trajectory would have been from west to east . They could then be ready to take photos and videos. “Wow“can be heard in many videos of the bright bolide.
At 2:59 a.m. on Monday, February 13, the asteroid – or meteoroid, as fragments of asteroids or comets orbiting the Sun about one meter in diameter are called – thus entered the Earth’s atmosphere and lit up the sky. Therefore, within the stipulated time and location.
The fireball was seen mainly in the south of the UK and France, but also in Belgium, the Netherlands and even Germany, the ESA said. The International Meteor Organization (IMO) said there were more than 60 reports of sightings. “It is possible that some fragments of the meteorite had survived the journey through the atmosphere and landed somewhere on land, near the northern coast of Rouen, Normandy,” ESA explains.
In less than a year, this is the second time that Krisztián Sárneczky has detected a meteor that is coming to hit our planet. In March 2022, the Hungarian astronomer spotted 2022 EB5, which was then only the fifth detected asteroid that came towards Earth to collide with it. “At the time, I thought it was a once-in-a-lifetime thing. I was wrong,” the astronomer is quoted as saying now web page Space.com.
“The last three predicted impacts have all occurred within the last 12 months, which shows how asteroid detection capabilities are advancing rapidly,” ESA underlines.
About a year ago, the detection of 2022 EB5 was also a benchmark in web page of the ESA, where he was then asked why only five asteroids had been detected up to that time before they collided with Earth. The answer is also for now.
“The news here is positive. Large asteroids, kilometers in diameter, are easier to spot. Although they can cause massive damage, fortunately they are relatively rare,” explains the web page of the space agency, adding that the international community is detecting the largest asteroids. “Small asteroids are much more common and hit Earth more often, but their impact is smaller and harder to detect. All five pre-impact asteroids have been discovered since 2008, which shows how asteroid observation technologies have improved in recent years.”
Just last month, an asteroid was spotted just a week before it made a close flyby of Earth. But it was soon realized that this object, asteroid 2023 BU, from three to eight meters in diameter, would pass about 3500 kilometers from the planet’s surface. However, it was a safe distance, and if it entered Earth’s atmosphere, it would eventually dissolve into a ball of fire.