Arizona sky watcher spots asteroid on direct path toward Earth

NASA news Asteroid heading towards Earth

The massive space rock was discovered by NASA eight hours before it hurtled down from the sky and blew up 30 miles before impact.

2018 LA was first detected by the Catalina Sky Survey near Tucson, Ariz., which is funded by NASA and is operated by the University of Arizona.

Asteroid trackers at NASA and elsewhere determined the rock to be about 2 metres wide.

"The discovery of asteroid 2018 LA is only the third time that an asteroid has been discovered to be on an impact trajectory", Paul Chodas, manager of the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, said in the statement. "It is also only the second time that the impact location was predicted well ahead of the event itself".

He later checked his CCTV and said: 'One of the small cameras monitoring the barn with feed for his animals caught the footage that you saw on social media. Although it looks like the fireball impacts the ground, it is really just disappearing over the horizon.

As is the case for all asteroid-hunting projects, the data were quickly sent to the Minor Planet Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which calculated a preliminary trajectory indicating the possibility of an Earth impact.

Four images of asteroid 2018 LA, captured by Catalina Sky Survey telescopes on June 2, 2018.

A 2014 asteroid was discovered just a few hours before entering over the Atlantic, with little time for tracking.

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"This was a much smaller object than we are tasked to detect and warn about", Lindley Johnson, Planetary Defense Officer at NASA Headquarters, said in a news release. That trajectory plot was the first hint that 2018 LA could hit Earth. According to CNEOS records, the asteroid's distance from Earth's centre, at closest approach, was calculated to be 5,874 km, which is well inside the planet's radius of 6,371 km.

Video Scientists at NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office have made a rare sighting - an asteroid on a collision course with Earth.

Nasa's Near Earth Object Centre said that Asteroid 2018 LA was travelling at 27, 738 miles per hour and was about the size of a small auto.

There have been only two other times when asteroids were detected so soon before impact.

In 2008, 13-foot asteroid 2008 TC3 disintegrated over the skies of northern Sudan approximately 19 hours after discovery.

The dinosaurs were blasted into extinction 66 million years ago when a far bigger asteroid hit Earth but for the African wildlife living below this asteroid they had a lucky escape.

The second event occurred January 1, 2014, when the asteroid 2014 AA was spotted just a few hours before it fell over the Atlantic Ocean.

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