May 20, 2022

Taylor Daily Press

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Detecting an asteroid before it enters the atmosphere

relatively small asteroid Its diameter of about 2 meters, which was named 2022 EB5, was discovered two hours before it crashed to Earth.

The asteroid was spotted by astronomer Kristian Sarniczky from the Beszkestito Observatory in northern Hungary. “This is probably a one-time experiment,” said the asteroid fighter. space.com

The Scouting System of the US Space Agency NASA He then evaluated the data from Sarneczky’s view of impact risk. About 30 minutes after the space rock was discovered, it was found that it was only two hours away from colliding with Earth’s atmosphere.

“Scouting only had 14 observations over a 40-minute period from a single observatory to work with when it first identified the object as a collision object,” said David Farnocchia, the navigation engineer who developed the Scouts, in NASA website

“As more observatories track the asteroid, our calculations about its orbit and location of impact are becoming more accurate.” Rocks disintegrated in the atmosphere over the Norwegian Sea.

planetary defense

Almost no asteroids of the size of 2022 EB5 have been observed by NASA’s observing network. This will only be the fifth time that an asteroid of this size has been spotted before hitting Earth.

“Small asteroids like 2022 EB5 are numerous, and they enter the atmosphere a lot — about every 10 months,” said Paul Chodas, director of NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS).

“Very few of these asteroids have been spotted and widely observed in space before the collision, mainly because they were so faint until the last few hours, and the survey telescope needs to find the right place in the sky at the right time,” Chodas said.

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The vision allowed the planetary defense community to exercise its capabilities, according to NASA. It therefore gave some confidence that CNEOS collision prediction models are very capable of providing information about the response to the potential impact of a larger space object. “

(LL)