For the second time this year, a small asteroid has been discovered before impacting the Earth. This time the discovery came from the Catalina Sky Survey, one of the major projects dedicated to the discovery and follow-up of NEOs, and already responsible for the discovery of the first three such cases between 2008 and 2018.
The new asteroid, now officially designated 2022 WJ1, was first imaged by the 1.5-metre Mt. Lemmon telescope at 04:53 UTC on 19 November, but the object was first reported to the MPC at 05:31, once 4 observations made it detectable by the automated pipelines running at the telescope.
Within a few minutes, ESA’s own internal monitoring software reported that, based on the just-published astrometry, the object had a ~20% chance of being on a collision course, possibly hitting somewhere in North America 2 to 3 hours later. A few minutes later all other impact monitoring programs also sent alerts outlining a similar scenario.
Within minutes of the notifications, observers at the Catalina Sky Survey, and elsewhere in the US, started obtaining follow-up observations of the new asteroid. In less than 30 minutes from the initial trigger, the impact became confirmed, thanks to newly reported observations.
Shortly after, even more astrometry became available, sufficient to pinpoint the location of the impact point with excellent precision: the small asteroid, likely less than a meter in diameter, was going to impact somewhere between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, near the US-Canada border, around 08:27 UTC.
And, at exactly the predicted time, a fireball event indeed happened at the expected location, observed by hundreds of people in the Toronto area and elsewhere and by many surveillance cameras. Soon, photos and videos also surfaced, providing a fantastic view of the event, and its incoming trajectory.
It is likely that fragments of the meteoroid may have survived the atmospheric entry, reaching the ground. The largest ones probably fell somewhere offshore the Southern coast of Lake Ontario, but some smaller ones may have landed near the Canadian city of Grimsby. Searches are ongoing, stay tuned!
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.
With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook – our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don’t have a paywall – with those annoying usernames and passwords.
Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.
If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5+ Billed Monthly
$5 Billed Once
credit card or paypal
Largest potentially hazardous asteroid detected in eight years
Washington DC (SPX) Nov 01, 2022
Twilight observations with the US Department of Energy-fabricated Dark Energy Camera at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile, a Program of NSF’s NOIRLab, have enabled astronomers to spot three near-Earth asteroids (NEA) hiding in the glare of the Sun. These NEAs are part of an elusive population that lurks inside the orbits of Earth and Venus. One of the asteroids is the largest object that is potentially hazardous to Earth to be discovered in the last eight years.
An international tea … read more