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NASA predicted asteroid impact in Ontario, Canada

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On November 19, 2022, a fireball lit up the skies of Ontario. Scout Collision Hazard Assessment Programvia image NASA/ Robert Wellik.

NASA first published this article on November 22, 2022.

NASA Predicted Asteroid Collision

2022 WJ1 It was a small asteroid on a collision course with Earth. But astronomers saw it coming, and NASA’s Scout Collision Hazard Rating System calculated where it would hit.

In the early hours of Saturday, November 19, 2022, the skies over southern Ontario, Canada, appeared as if a small asteroid had harmlessly crossed the high skies of Earth’s atmosphere, breaking up and scattering small meteorites across the lake’s southern shoreline. became brighter. Ontario. The fireball was no surprise. NASA detected an asteroid about 1 meter (3 feet) wide three and a half hours before it hit. This is the sixth time in history that a small asteroid has been tracked in space before hitting Earth’s atmosphere.

One of NASA’s tasks is to detect and track larger near-Earth objects that can survive passage through Earth’s atmosphere and cause ground damage. It can be detected much earlier than smaller objects like collapsed asteroids. Ontario. Small asteroids like this are not dangerous to Earth, but could be a useful test of NASA’s planetary defense capabilities for detection, tracking, orbit determination, and impact prediction.

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planetary defense

Kelly FastNear-Earth Observation Program Manager, Office of the Coordinating Office for Planetary Defense (PDCO) said at NASA headquarters in Washington:

The planetary defense community has demonstrated its skill and readiness in responding to this brief warning event. A harmless collision like this becomes a spontaneous real-world exercise, giving us confidence that NASA’s planetary defense systems can signal a response to the possibility of a serious collision with a larger object.

Funded by NASA Catalina Sky Survey An asteroid was discovered in Tucson, Arizona, on the night of November 18, during a routine search for near-Earth objects.the observation was immediately reported to the authorities Minor Planet Center – Internationally recognized clearinghouse for localization of small bodies – Data are then automatically Near-Earth Object Confirmation Page.

NASA’s Scout Collision Hazard Rating Systemwhich is maintained by the Center for Near-Earth Object Research (CNEOS), at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, began automatically taking new data from its pages and calculating possible trajectories and collision probabilities for objects. CNEOS will calculate all known near-Earth asteroid orbits to assess potential impact hazards in support of NASA’s PDCO.

fully interactive look to the asteroid site.

collaboration was the key

Seven minutes after the asteroid was posted on the confirmation page, Scouts determined there was a 25% chance of hitting Earth’s atmosphere, with possible locations ranging from the Atlantic Ocean off the east coast of North America to Mexico. I called. More observations were then provided by the astronomical community, including amateur astronomers in Kansas, to refine the asteroid’s trajectory and possible impact locations.

Shantanu NaiduJPL’s Navigation Engineer and Scout Operator said:

Small objects like this can only be detected when they are very close to the Earth. So if you’re headed for a collision, time is critical to collect as many observations as possible. The object was discovered early so that the planetary defense community could provide more observations, and scouts used it to confirm impacts and predict when and where an asteroid would hit.

As Catalina continued to track the asteroid over the next several hours, Scout would use this new data to continuously update the system’s assessment of the asteroid’s trajectory and impact probabilities, and to update those results to Hazard Rating System web page.

Community Effort Confirms Asteroid Impact

Many astronomers spend all night checking scout web pages to determine the most important asteroids to track.A group of amateur astronomers farpoint observatory At Eskridge, Kansas, tracking the asteroid for over an hour, Scout confirms 100% chance of impact, and determines probable location of atmospheric intrusion expected to be over southern Ontario at 3:27 a.m. ET provided important additional data (12:27) that allows 27 am PST) November 19th. With more than two hours left until impact, he had time to warn scientists in southwestern Ontario that a bright fireball was about to occur.

A total of 46 observations of the asteroid’s position were eventually collected, the last observation being made just 32 minutes before the impact. University of Hawaii 88 inch (2.2 m) Telescope at Mauna Kea.

As predicted, at 3:27 a.m. ET (12:27 a.m. PT), the asteroid passed through the Earth’s atmosphere at a shallow angle and broke off, likely producing a small meteorite shower and a reported surface It didn’t leave any damage. After this harmless collapse, the Minor Planet Center designated asteroid 2022 WJ1, acknowledging its discovery while still in space.

many sightings

Dozens of sightings reported to authorities American Meteor Society, and scientists alerted to Scout’s predictions were able to photograph the asteroid’s atmospheric entry. Videos of fireballs collected by members of the public were also posted online. NASA’s Meteorite Falls website It also reported that weather radar detected fragments of a fireball falling as a meteorite over Lake Ontario at the predicted time. Small meteorites may be found east of the town of Grimsby, while larger meteorites may be found near the town of McNab.

The first asteroid discovered and tracked long before it hit Earth 2008 TC3It entered the atmosphere over Sudan and broke up in October 2008. The 13-foot-wide (4-meter size) asteroid scattered hundreds of small meteorites across the Nubian desert.Earlier this year, an asteroid 2022 EB5 After Scouts accurately predicted its location, it plunged into the Norwegian Sea’s atmosphere, becoming the fifth object detected before impact. As investigations become more sophisticated and sensitive, these harmless objects will be detected before they enter the atmosphere, providing a real exercise for NASA’s planetary defense program.

Conclusion: NASA used the Scout Impact Hazard Rating System to predict an asteroid impact in Ontario, Canada. Scout’s goal is to track potential impacts to Earth.

READ MORE: Asteroid Hits Canada, May Drop Meteorite

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