People have always been fearing the threat of an asteroid heading towards our planet. Although none of the recent impacts has actually been serious, researchers still keep an eye on any cosmic object that might approach Earth. Recently, they have spotted a small asteroid when it was already close to our atmosphere but, given its poor size and strength, it disintegrated while it was still above Africa.
A small asteroid got through our atmosphere
To avoid unpleasant situations, researchers always monitor all the objects that come near Earth. However, not all of them are big enough to pose a threat to our planet, and they are sometimes hard to spot until they reach our atmosphere.
This was the case of a small asteroid that entered our atmosphere and burst into smaller pieces above Africa. The object penetrated the atmosphere at the impressive speed of 38,000 mph. Fortunately, it measured only six feet in length, so there was no way it could produce any damage. While above Africa, not a long way from the ground, it caught fire and disintegrated in smaller pieces, producing an impressive display of lights.
The asteroid was much too small to cause any damage
Everything happened very quickly, leaving researchers no time to act. Soon after they spotted the small asteroid, they calculated its trajectory and saw it would come really close to Earth. However, soon afterwards, they realized the object might really strike Earth. Fortunately, its size made it harmless.
In fact, the small asteroid was a lot smaller than the equipment is trained to detect. However, this event was pretty welcome. It didn’t only give the researchers the chance to spot an asteroid coming dangerously close to Earth. This way, they tested their simulations and their ability to predict the outcome of an impact.
This small asteroid has first got the name of ZLAF9B2, but only as a temporary denomination. The name that is going to stick is asteroid 2018 LA.
Image source: NASA