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BRAMON | Asteroid hits Earth 14 hours after being detected in space
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Asteroid hits Earth 14 hours after being detected in space

On 2019 June 22:36, the Atlas Project Survey (T08 Mpc code) found a small asteroid that was soon after put on the NEOCP list with the provisional designation A10eoM1 for the follow-up by other observers.

Davide Farnocchia at JPL noticed “that the T08 NEOCP observations could generate an impact prediction matching the observed point and time on the earth of a fireball recorded on June 22 at about 21:30UT.  That led to an orbit – this is where A10eoM1 would have been,  based on the four ATLAS observations and assuming it really was this particular impactor – good enough to do precovery searches through the PanSTARRS data (F52 Mpc code).” (via Bill Gray, private communication).In fact using all the available observations of NEOCP A10eoM1 by F52 & T08, FINDORBsoftware finds an IMPACT on June 22, 2019 at 21:31:54UT at Lat +15.02 & Long W68.65 that seems remarkably close to data of a fireball off the South coast of Jamaica as shared on Twitter by Peter Brown & Frankie Lucena.

Below you can see the event as captured by the GLM  (via F. Lucena)
Below images showing the trail left behind by the event (via W. Staka III of the University of Wisconsin (CIMSS) and (SSEC)).
According to P. Brown: Airwaves recorded by Bermuda infrasound station 2000 km North show periods which are consistent with 5 kT bolide corresponding to a 3m diameter object NEA impact.

Update #1 – June 25, 2019 @15:40UT


M.P.E.C. 2019-M72  issued on 2019 June 25 at 14:59 UT assign the official designation 2019 MO to A10eoM1 with the following comment:

The orbit below indicates an impact with the earth’s atmosphere around June 22 21:30 UTC.  This is in good agreement with the details determined by D. Farnocchia with the JPL Scout System (June 22 21:32 UTC +/- 15 minutes) and W. Gray (June 22 21:30:33 UTC +/- “a few minutes”).   
by Ernesto Guido

Update #2 – June 26, 2019 @ 13:20 UT

The Atlas Observatory released the map with the estimated impact path calculated from its observations in together with PanStarrs observations of Asteroide 2019 MO. In the center of the predicted path, the red dot indicates the location of the bright flash detected by the GOES-16 matching perfectly with the expected impact location.

Predição de Impacto do 2019 MO e flash detectado pelo GOES

Credits: Larry Denneau (IfA/ATLAS), Brooks Bays (SOEST)

It emerged on Tuesday, 25, informations that this asteroid might be connected to the Taurids Swarm, a swarm of small asteroids resulting from the fragmentation of 2P / Encke Comet. This hypothesis is completely rejected since the orbital elements of the asteroid do not matches with the expected elements for this swarm.

Another interesting fact is that shortly after the flash detected by the GOES, a long trail of smoke was formed from northeast to southwest, and this trail was mistakenly associated with the atmospheric passage of this asteroid. In fact, it is only the condensation path generated by the gases expelled by the turbines of airplanes that flied by that region soon after. Through that area passes a very busy aerial highway as you can see in the image below. The four planes highlighted in the picture certainly were responsible for the trail of smoke and for the inevitable realization that it escape this time, but that was close. Only a few minutes separate these airplanes from the fall of this asteroid of tens of tons in the same place.

Update #3 – June 27, 2019 @ 12:20 UT

JPL/NASA released on Wednesday, June 26, the data of the fireball registered by the international network of infrasound sensors managed by the US government. According to the agency, the asteroid 2019 MO released an energy of 6 KTon (equivalent to 6 thousand tons of dynamite) when it has hits the Earth’s atmosphere. This is the biggest impact this year, and energy corresponds to 40 percent of the energy from the atomic bombs that exploded over Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II.

 

From the data available from JPL / NASA, it was possible to calculate that the mass of the asteroid 2019 MO was about 226 tons, the equivalent of about 4 loaded double trailer trucks, or 95 crowded Kombis, or even 1500 sumo fighters. For this mass, if we consider the average density of ordinary chondrites (3.35 g/cm³), will have the average diameter of the asteroid around 5 meters. It is not all day that an object of this size reaches the Earth.

 

Tamanho aproximado do Asteroide 2019 MO

Tamanho aproximado do Asteroide 2019 MO

 

This is only the fourth time in history that an impacting object is observed prior to atmospheric entry. The first time it happened was with asteroid 2008 TC3, the second was with asteroid 2014 AA, the third was 2018 LA that impacted Earth on 02 June 2018. Another space impacting object discovered prior to its to atmospheric entry was WT1190F but it is thought to have been a space debris, possibly  the translunar injection module of Lunar Prospector. For more info about 2008 TC3, 2014 AA and 2018 LA see also:

 

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