Asteroid 2008 TC3 Hits Sudan October 7, 2008Posted by dorigo in astronomy, internet, news, science.
Tags: asteroid, solar system
An asteroid with a size of a few meters in diameter hit the Earth a few hours ago. The news is reported by the Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams, circular 8990. Below is the expected trajectory of the body.
The small asteroid was discovered yesterday at Mt. Lemmon by R.A.Kowalski, as an object with a visual magnitude of about 30.4. The object was then at about 450,000 kilometers from our planet. Those who were able to look up this night might have spotted it before it entered our atmosphere only with a telescope, since its expected magnitude was probably around 11. A bright fireball might have been observed over northern Africa, and a possible fall might have resulted, depending on the composition of the rock.
More information is available at the CBAT site.
UPDATE: the body was 5 meters in diameter. It was a carbonaceous chondrite, and its darkness explains why the diameter had been underestimated by luminosity measurements before the impact. It is quite likely that many small bodies will be found in northern Sudan, which is above the impact point of the asteroid.
Also worth noting is that dr. Peter Brown, from West Ontario University, detected a sound wave from the impact with detectors located in Kenya.
The fireball made by the body at 4.46AM yesterday has been spotted by a airplane pilot from Air France-KLM, according to Jacob Kuiper, a meteorologist from the Netherlands who had informed the pilots of the possibility before the impact. The fall has freed an energy of about two kilotons of TNT, about a tenth of the energy of the first atomic bomb over Hiroshima.
UPDATE: thanks to the Meteosat, we now have a picture of the event. It is a temperature scan, which shows the impact of the object with the atmosphere. It is the first time that the impact of a body with the Earth is predicted and then observed. Near-Earth object surveys are getting better and better…
On the upper right you can read off a temperature legend, in degrees Kelvin.