Sunday, June 3, 2018

Newly Discovered Small Asteroid Hits the Earth Near Botswana–South Africa Border

ZLAF9B2's fall to Earth on June 2, 2018 seen from Gaborone, Botswana. Credit: Dhiraj S

A newly discovered approximately five-meters-wide asteroid, named ZLAF9B2 (also known as 2018 LA), hit the Earth on Saturday near the border between Botswana and South Africa. The impact occurred at around 16:44 UTC.

ZLAF9B2 was an Apollo-type asteroid discovered by the Mount Lemmon Survey (MLS) just one day prior to the impact. MLS utilizes a 1.52 m cassegrain reflector telescope at Mount Lemmon Observatory in Arizona. It is one of the most prolific surveys when it comes to discovering near-Earth objects (NEOs). So far, it has detected more than 50,000 minor planets.

South African radio station OFM on Sunday published what it said was footage obtained from a farmer in Ottosdal, showing ZLAF9B2’s crash to Earth.

“A local farmer near Ottosdal in North West has shared CCTV footage of what appears to be a meteorite hitting the earth at 18:49 Saturday night,” OFM wrote on its website.

There are reports that witnesses saw a light falling from the sky and initially thought it was an aeroplane. Some described the meteor as very bright, and showing a yellow color.

According to NASA, ZLAF9B2 approached Earth at 35,344 mph (56,880 km/h). Before its demise, it was orbiting the Sun at a distance of approximately 1.37 AU, every 588 days.

Some pieces of ZLAF9B2 may have hit the Earth’s surface, however the size of this space rock was too small to cause any serious damage on the ground.

To date, astronomers have discovered more than 18,300 NEOs. Only this years, 756 such objects have been identified.

5 comments:

  1. What If happened an dangerous Asteroid collided with the Earth rather than this Small Asteroid Conditions will be catastrophic !!

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  2. Umm....what did you mean??

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  3. Not an "asteroid" - heck, it's smaller than my boat! This is a meteor (or. rather, a meteorite) and likely much smaller after its impact due to the disintegration of it following its entry into the atmosphere.

    Still, a great catch!

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  5. Yes, I heared about ZLAF9B2, thanks for descriptive theory about it.

    ReplyDelete