An asteroid hit Earth, but once we saw it coming

An asteroid hit Earth, but once we saw it coming

1 hour before entering Earth’s atmosphere, the European Space Agency has detected and predicted the path of asteroid 2022 WJ. An achievement.

This is the 6th time in human history that such a feat has been achieved: space probes have found. An asteroid A meter in diameter just hours before its impact on Earth. WJ1 crashed near Toronto, Canada on November 19, 2022 with no damage. ESA announcedEuropean Space Agency, on 24 November.

Especially the discovery of a celestial body of this size is great news for Earth. ” Early detection and detection of this asteroid illustrates our growing ability to warn of even minor impacts. », welcomed by ESA.

Path of Asteroid in the Sky // Source: ESA / Robert Verrick

The trajectory of 2022 WJ1 has been calculated in advance

This is Catalina Sky Survey Observatory He was the first to spot the asteroid four hours before impact explains about ESA on its website. Catalina was able to take a photo with its telescope and then alert the Minor Planet Center, the organization responsible for detecting asteroids, 38 minutes after the asteroid appeared on radar.

Observations of Catalina made possible the first estimate of the location and time of impact in North America within the next 3 hours. Thirty minutes later, new, more detailed calculations yielded more details: The asteroid, less than a meter in diameter, was going to hit a lake near the Canada-US border between Lake Ontario and Lake Ontario at approximately 3:30 a.m. local time.

Just in time, the asteroid re-entered the atmosphere and, just above the announced location, became a glowing torch in the sky. “, ESA is pleased with the news release. It must be said that this is no small feat: it is the 6th time that humanity has been able to predict an asteroid impact – and the 2nd time this year. On March 11, 2022, Hungarian astronomer Christian Sarnesky An asteroid less than a meter in diameter was discovered hours before impact, and predicted an impact site north of Iceland.

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