Asteroid (Photo Credit: Twitter)
Asteroids are small, rocky objects that orbit the Sun. Although asteroids orbit the Sun like planets, they are much smaller than planets. The space rocks approach towards the Earth due to the gravitational forces that affect them. There are more than 7 lakh asteroids that have been found in space. Asteroids, if hit Earth, can bring massive destruction to the Earth and also to human life and many of you would agree with it. Right? Recently, a number of asteroids including 2019 OK, 2019 OD, 2015 HM10, 2019 OE, 2019 NN3, 2019 MB4, 2019 MT2, 2006 QV89, 2016 NO56M, RF12 and others approaching towards our planet, luckily did not collide with the Earth. These asteroids would have brought tsunamis, shock waves and flattening winds that could be catastrophic. Have you ever seen an asteroid exploding in the Earth's atmosphere? Well, the answer would be no.
According to report of express.co.uk, on July 24, 2019, a small asteroid shattered into the Earth’s atmosphere over Canada at a staggering 45,000 mph, causing a bright explosion at around 3AM local time. Soon after entering the Earth’s atmosphere, asteroid immediately exploded and its fragments scattered across the countryside near Bancroft, Ontario. However, the University of Western Ontario recorded the video of asteroid’s explosion. The video was obtained and analysed by NASA.
In a statement, NASA said that the asteroid was only about 12 inches wide which disintegrated about 18 miles above the surface.
Professor Peter Brown of the University of Western Ontario stated that the space rock reached relatively close to the ground before it exploded and he believes that the scientists may be able to find and analyse the fragments.
He said, “This meteor got very deep into the atmosphere so we think there are probably rocks on the ground. We’d love for people to get out and maybe find some of these meteorites. Meteorites are of great interest to researchers as studying them helps us to understand the formation and evolution of the solar system.”
NASA, after analysing the video, also released a detailed review of the event which read, “Many observers in the states and provinces surrounding Lake Ontario reported seeing a bright fireball at 2.44 am Eastern Daylight Time (2019 July 24 6.44am UTC).”
“It was also captured by multiple cameras belonging to the Southern Ontario Meteor Network, and an analysis of the data provided by these cameras indicate that the meteor became visible at an altitude of 58 miles above the northern shore of Lake Ontario, moving to the northeast at 55,000 miles per hour,” it added.
The US space agency further said, “The object traversed some 80 miles through the upper atmosphere and slowed to 17,000 miles per hour before fragmenting 18 miles above Little Anstruther Lake, near the Canadian town of Apsley.
“The orbit and peak brightness - which was close to that of the Full Moon - indicate the fireball was caused by a fragment of an asteroid about a foot in diameter with a weight over 50 pounds,” it concluded.