Sunday, September 12, 2010

Colombia: 'Giant fireball' was a meteorite

meteoriteColombian authorities confirmed that a "giant fireball" that fell from the sky in the Santander department, central Colombia, was a meteorite.

The Colombian media has been buzzing with eye witness accounts of the fireball, which caused a massive explosion at 3:15PM local time Sunday. reported that Bucaramanga Mayor Fernando Vargas confirmed that the phenomenon was a meteorite that left a crater 100 meters in diameter when it crashed into the earth in the San Joaquin municipality in Santander.

Colombian air force helicopters were commissioned to fly over the area to try to locate the source of the explosion.

The director of the University of NariƱo's Astronomic Observatory, Alberto Quijano, told RCN Radio Sunday that he believed the object was a meteorite.

In rural areas of Santander, police received reports that the explosion had shattered windows in the area. ...

via Colombia: 'Giant fireball' was a meteorite - Colombia news | Colombia Reports.

The two asteroidsAsteroid 2010 RX30, thought to be 32 to 65 feet long, passed within 154,000 miles of Earth shortly before 11am today.

The second one, dubbed 2010 RF12, will fly by about 11 hours later at a distance of about 49,000 miles.

Nasa said the second one is 20 to 46 feet long.

Cluttered: This image {below} shows the number of asteroids in the solar system (2010)

Cluttered: This image shows the number of asteroids in the solar system currently (2010)Donald Yeomans, manager of NASA’s Near Earth Program, told CNN:  'Things like this happen every day that we simply don’t know about because we don’t have the telescopes large enough to find them or surveys that are looking full-time.

'This demonstrates the system's working on some level, but we need larger telescopes and more of them to find objects that are coming this close.'

He added: 'We have only recently appreciated how many of these objects are in near Earth's space and [it's] best that we keep track of them and find them.

'I think this is Mother Nature's way of firing a shot over the bow and warning Earth-based astronomers that we have a lot of work to do.'

Although neither of these objects has a chance of hitting Earth, a ten metre-sized near-Earth asteroid is expected to pass as close to the Earth as the Moon on a daily basis.

One might strike Earth's atmosphere about every ten years on average. Scientists believe there are around 50 million undiscovered near-Earth asteroids out in space.

Asteroids are small solar system bodies that orbit the sun. They are smaller than planets, and are sometimes referred to as minor planets.

Their size ranges from 950km for the largest known asteroid, Ceres, to just tens of metres across.

Small asteroids - five to 10 metres in diameter - enter the Earth's atmosphere about once a year, but normally explode before impact. Larger minor planets - of about 1km in size - strike every 500,000 years.


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