Asteroid Lights up the Sky as it Disintegrates Hours After its Discovery

 

People saw a fireball streak across the sky in Botswana on Saturday night. 

The streak of light was an asteroid which was rushing towards the earth at a speed of ten miles per second.  In the western part of Johannesburg, a webcam captured the sight. It looked like a bright ball of light which lighted up the whole sky.

The asteroid was only discovered by NASA on Saturday and the scientists believed it was on a collision course to the earth. Given the name 2018 LA, the asteroid was seen streaking from the southern part of Africa and it stretched till the Indian Ocean to New Guinea.

The bright and lighted end of the asteroid appeared to be more dramatic in the video footage.  The asteroid was just six feet above the surface before it got burned away. Even though, the size of the asteroid was no less than a boulder. This was further confirmed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of NASA. 

This was one of those rare opportunities when an asteroid came this close to an impact. The asteroid 2018 LA was only third to come this close and second to have been in the trajectory of impact to earth.

The last asteroid which had been in the impact trajectory was 2014 AA. The asteroid was only discovered few hours above the Atlantic ocean before it entered the trajectory. It happened in the new year of 2014. 

The NASA’s Planetary Defense Team believes that this helps them to understand how much the predictions about asteroids hitting the surface are true. It also gives them motivation on their capabilities for predicting the future impact and even responds appropriately to one.

The asteroids are believed to have been formed about 4.5 billion years ago. They are the remaining chunks of objects formed due to collisions in the solar system. The asteroids are formed of rocky minerals and matters. They also contain elements such as nickel and zinc.

There are about million small objects which are left scattered in space. The asteroid belt between Mars and earth contain hundreds of asteroids. These asteroids are about half a mile in diameter each.

The Catalina Sky Survey which is funded by the NASA first discovered the asteroid 2018 LA. The NASA also linked the asteroid video to its statement which it made. 

The NASA works alongside other space agencies to observe near-earth asteroids and if they have any chances of impact with earth.