Saturday, March 12, 2022

Small Asteroid 2022 EB5 (NEOCP Sar2593) impacted Earth on March 11

On 2022 March 11.80, K. Sarneczky found a small asteroid using the 0.60-m Schmidt + CCD of GINOP-KHK, Piszkesteto (K88 MPC code) that was soon after put on the NEOCP list with the provisional designation Sar2593 for the follow-up by other observers. The Minor Planet Center subsequently assigned the following official designation to this object 2022 EB5.

Discovery images (19:25UT) of asteroid 2022 EB5

Credit: K. Sarneczky 

At 20:46UT of March 11, Bill Gray sent an alert in the MPML mailing list about the impact of Sar2593 with the Earth's atmosphere and: "to urge European observers to take a look for this object, currently on NEOCP.  It should come in at 21:23 UTC at latitude +70.47, longitude W 10.40,  plus or minus a few dozen km.  That's about forty minutes from "right now",  a bit north of Iceland". Below you can see a map of the impact location as calculated by Gray, southwest of Jan Mayen island.

Credit: B. Gray

Below an animation showing the impact trajectory 

Credit: T. Dunn

Below a follow-up image obtained by P. Bacci & M. Maestripieri at the San Marcello Pistoiese Observatory (104 MPC code) just about 15 minutes before its impact. 

Credit: Gamp/UAI

2022 EB5 is a small Apollo asteroid with an estimated size of 1.0 m - 2.3 m (based on the object's absolute magnitude H=32.1). 2022 EB5 impact infrasound  detection in Greenland had been published by P. Brown: "From this data yield is approximately 2-3 kT TNT. At 15 km/s, this is roughly 3-4 m diameter".

Credit: P. Brown

This is the fifth time in history that an impacting object is observed prior to atmospheric entry. The first time it happened was with asteroid 2008 TC3, the second was with asteroid 2014 AA, the third was 2018 LA that impacted Earth on 02 June 2018, the fourth was with asteroid 2019 MO that impacted Earth on 22 June 2019. Another space impacting object discovered prior to its to atmospheric entry was WT1190F but it is thought to have been a space debris, possibly  the translunar injection module of Lunar Prospector. For more info about 2008 TC3, 2014 AA, 2018 LA and 2019 MO see also:

By Ernesto Guido

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