They discover a meteorite hours before it reaches Earth

Time-lapse of a meteor hitting the atmosphere between clouds.

On November 19, at 3:26 a.m. local timeA meteor named 2022 WJ1 crashed over southern Canada. Obviously, and if you’re reading this, it’s because it wasn’t a very large meteorite. The 2022 WJ1 game left behind only the spectacle of a fireball streaking across the night sky over southeastern Ontario.

The really good news for once is not that a meteorite crashed into Earth. The important thing is that we were able to spot it about four hours early. Astronomers at the Mount Lemon Observatory They found a piece of space rock that until then was completely unknown to us. within minutes, They sounded the alarm and were able, in collaboration with several other telescopes that belong tocent to a program Catalina Sky Surveyto accurately calculate the course of 2022 WJ1, the moment you will impact, and the place on earth you will impact.

By 05:38 UTC (about three hours before the collision), astronomers had accurately calculated the trajectory and reported Minor Planet Center of the International Astronomical Union. Meteor impact and its destruction when entering the atmosphere It happened at 08:26 UTC. It is possible that some parts of the meteorite fell across the Lake Ontario region. Astronomers plan to comb the area to try and find it for study.

Asteroid 2022 WJ1 will strike southern Ontario, Canada, on November 19, 2022.

Coordination when studying and cataloging this asteroid is not only important from a scientific point of view (it allows a careful study of its entry into the atmosphere). Moreover, crucial to our survival the day astronomers discovered not a small rock but a monster capable of causing great damage wherever it fell or even triggering an extinction event on a global scale.

Right now, there’s not much we can do if it happens because we haven’t yet developed the appropriate means to neutralize a meteor with such short notice, but the fact of being able to detect it, even hours before it hits, is an open window for hope. Indeed, according to European Space AgencyAnd the This is only the sixth time that Earth observatories have been able to detect a meteorite shortly before impact. The previous ones were 2008 TC3, four metres, 2014 AA, three metres, 2018 LA, also three metres, 2019 MO, 6 metres, and 2022 EB5, two metres. If you look at the dates, you’ll see that we’re increasingly able to spot these objects more frequently.

So far we have cataloged more than 30,656 NEOs or NEOs as they are known in English by their acronym. The thing is, none of them pose an immediate danger. This danger is exactly what we haven’t discovered yet and appears out of nowhere on a direct collision course.etc. with only a few hours or days notice. We can only hope that what we found is nothing like a cause The largest crater found on Earth in the last 100,000 years.

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