Such small asteroids often slip through the monitoring network, and 2022 EB5 – as the asteroid was named – is only the fifth of this type to be observed and tracked prior to impact. (Don’t fear, a larger asteroid will be discovered and tracked away from Earth — years before any potentially devastating impact.)
Paul Chodas, director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies, which tracks comets and potentially dangerous asteroids that could collide with our planet.
“But very few of these asteroids have been detected in space and observed extensively before the collision, mainly because they were so faint until the last few hours, and the survey telescope has to be observing the right spot of the sky at the right time for one to be detected.”
The asteroid was spotted just two hours before its impact by astronomer Kristian NASA said Sarneczky at the Piszkéstető Observatory in northern Hungary, which he tagged on the Minor Planet Center’s NEO confirmation page.
NASA’s “Scout” Collision Risk Assessment System, which automatically searches the Minor Planet Center database for potential new asteroids or other space objects, made these early measurements to calculate the 2022 EB5 trajectory.
Once the system determined that 2022 EB5 would collide with Earth’s atmosphere, NASA flagged the object on the Scout web page to notify the NEO observing community, which was able to provide further observations.
“The scouts only had 14 observations over a 40-minute period from one observatory to work with when they first identified the object as a collider. We were able to identify potential collision sites, which initially stretched from western Greenland to off the coast of Norway,” Davide Farnocchia, navigation engineer at JPL who developed Scout. “As more observatories track the asteroid, our calculations of its path and impact site are becoming more accurate.”
“This realistic event” indicates that “CNEOS’ collision prediction models are very capable of informing the response to the potential impact of a larger object,” NASA said.
Asteroids and other objects near Earth pass our planet several times a week. In September, NASA will deliberately disrupt a A spacecraft to an asteroid to change its movement in space – a test technology developed to fend off an asteroid collision.
NEOs are asteroids and comets that have orbits that place them within 30 million miles (48 million km) of Earth.