London : An exploding asteroid lights up the night : An alert astronomer gives Europeans enough time to capture its fiery image.

Krisztian Sarneczky, an asteroid-hunting astronomer in Hungary, spotted a rock from space headed toward Earth this month.

Six and a half hours later, its fiery death illuminated the area around the English Channel, and as far away as the Netherlands.

The warning time allowed people in Europe to capture the three-foot [ about one meter] asteroid's spectacular and harmless demise on camera.

Mr. Sarneczky spotted another doomed asteroid in 2022 before it exploded in the sky off Greenland.

''The first one was already quite incredible, but this is something fantastic,'' he said after spotting the second one.

''I never thought it would happen twice,'' he added, ''let alone in 11 months.''

This is the seventh asteroid discovered before impact with Earth.

When Mr. Sarneczky and other dedicated skygazers spot previously undiscovered asteroids, their observations go to the Minor Planet Center in Cambridge, Mass.

Software and astronomers at NASA and the European Space Agency then determine whether the object is a bonafide asteroid and quickly establish where it is going.

If the rock spotted last week had been larger, asteroid-spotting systems could have been used to warn those in harm's way, giving people a chance to find cover or flee.

Some hazardous rocks from space have careered toward Earth undetected : Ten years ago, on Feb.15, 2013, the unexpected explosion of a 55-foot asteroid above Chelyabinsk, Russia injured 1,200 people.

The latest asteroid, named 2023 CX1, was too small to cause damage.

NASA estimates that about 15,000 yet-to-be-discovered asteroids near Earth could destroy a city.

This month's late-night visitor is a reminder that Earth lacks a fully functional planetary defense apparatus, and that we have [ so far ] been very fortunate.

The World Students Society thanks Robert George Andrews.


Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!